What is a Neurologist?
A neurologist is a medical professional who has received specialized training in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, ALS, concussion, epilepsy, migraine, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and stroke.
They are experts in the identification and management of these neurologic conditions affecting kids from infancy through adolescence. While some of the disorders are unique to the younger population, others are similar to those that adult neurologists treat. In addition to being trained in illnesses related to neurogenetics and developmental issues, child neurologists also treat many of the same common conditions that are encountered in adults, such as migraine, epilepsy, stroke, and Tourette's syndrome.
A complete history and physical examination, as well as testing for mental status, vision, speech, strength, sensation, coordination, reflexes, and gait, are required for neurologists to diagnose complex diseases. The neurological exam will continue to be a crucial part of the patient's evaluation even as medicine depends more and more on technology.
In particular, genetic testing may be conducted to identify inherited illnesses. It may also be necessary to order imaging tests of your nervous system to assist in the diagnosis.
Bring your notes, share your medical information, and don't be afraid to ask questions. Your neurologist is present to identify your condition, administer the appropriate course of treatment or management, and provide you with support.
Brain injury medicine is a subspecialty focused on the prevention of brain injury as well as the evaluation, treatment, and rehabilitation of individuals with acquired brain injury. These physicians provide a high level of care for patients with brain injury and their families in hospital and post-acute settings and over the continuum of care to facilitate the process of recovery and improve medical and functional outcomes.
The discipline of pediatric neurology, also called child neurology, encompasses disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve and muscle affecting infants, children and adolescents. The variety of patients seen by a child neurologist varies from those with common, relatively straightforward conditions, such as cerebral palsy or migraine, to those with rare or complex conditions, such as metabolic or degenerative disorders.
A neurologist or psychiatrist who specializes in the diagnosis and management of central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous system disorders using a combination of clinical evaluation and electrophysiologic testing such as electroencephalography (EEG), electromyography (EMG), and nerve conduction studies (NCS), among others.
A neurologist or child neurologist who specializes in epilepsy focuses on the evaluation and treatment of adults and children with recurrent seizure activity and seizure disorders. Specialists in Epilepsy (Epileptologists) possess specialized knowledge in the science, clinical evaluation and management of these disorders.
The medical specialty of neurocritical care is devoted to the comprehensive multi-system care of the critically ill patient with neurological diseases and conditions.
A child neurologist or pediatrician who specializes in neurodevelopmental disabilities focuses on the evaluation and treatment of chronic conditions that affect the developing and mature nervous system such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation and chronic behavioral syndromes or neurologic conditions.
A neurologist, child neurologist, or physiatrist who focuses on the evaluation and treatment of disorders of nerve, muscle or neuromuscular junction, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), peripheral neuropathies (e.g., diabetic), various muscular dystrophies, congenital and acquired myopathies, inflammatory myopathies (e.g., polymyositis) and neuromuscular transmission disorders (e.g., myasthenia gravis).
A neurologist or child neurologist who specializes in pain medicine diagnoses and treats patients experiencing problems with acute or chronic pain, or pain related to cancer, in both hospital and outpatient settings and coordinates care needs with other specialists.
A neurologist or child neurologist who focuses on the evaluation and treatment of vascular events affecting the brain or spinal cord, such as ischemic stroke, intracranial hemorrhage, spinal cord ischemia and spinal cord hemorrhage.
Centers & Institutes
Healthcare Delivery by Neurologists in the US
Neurologists may work in a clinic, hospital, or medical office, and some have their own private practice. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in six people worldwide suffer from neurological disorders, and millions of people die from those disorders every year.
The American Academy of Neurology found that demand for neurologists far exceeds supply. This is evidenced by wait times for people seeking to see a neurologist—typically more than one month—and by vacant neurological positions in many parts of the United States.
The demand for neurologists will continue to grow as the population ages—neurological problems disproportionately affect older people. In many parts of the world—including parts of the United States—neurological care is virtually nonexistent.
Neurologists too—like doctors in all medical fields—are an aging population, and as those doctors retire, the United States will see an increasing shortage of neurological specialists. In July 2020, an Association of American Medical Colleges report showed that one third of United States physicians are aged 60 or older, and well over half—57 percent—are over 50.
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The material presented above is only meant to be informative and is not intended to take the place of advice from your doctor or another health care practitioner. We advise you to talk to your provider about any questions or issues you may have.