zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Types of Neurologists

by
author image Kat McCallum
Kat McCallum has been a full-time medical writer since 2004. Her writing is found in "Lancet Neurology" and "Oncology News International," and on AuntMinnie.com, a website for radiologists. She also held communication leadership positions at the American Academy of Neurology and the Minnesota Trade Office. McCallum has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and political science from the University of Minnesota.
Types of Neurologists
A neurologist looks at catscans of a person's brain. Photo Credit GODS_AND_KINGS/iStock/Getty Images

Neurologists are physician specialists. They diagnose and treat diseases or injuries of the brain, central nervous system, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Neurologists also oversee the health care of people with Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, brain tumors, sleep disorders and more than 600 other neurologic diseases, some of which are rare.

Definition

The term “neurology” comes from the Greek words "neuron," or nerve, and "logia," which means "sayings or oracles." A neurologist is a physician who specializes in neurology.

Specialties

The United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties has certified several neurologic subspecialties. Neurologists who specialize in autonomic disorders diagnose and treat diseases that affect heartbeats, the narrowing and widening of blood vessels and other involuntary actions of the body, including breathing and swallowing. Behavioral neurologists study the links between neuroscience and behavior, and treat patients with memory, attention, language, emotion or behavioral problems.

Neurophysiologists treat problems of the muscles and nerves and have specialized skills in testing tools such as electroencephalography, or EEG, which measures brain waves. Geriatric neurologists diagnose and treat diseases that affect older adults, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson's disease.

A neurologist who specializes in head and facial pain is referred to as a headache specialist. These specialists diagnose and treat headache, migraine and face pain. A neuro-oncologist is trained to diagnose and treat patients with tumors in the brain and nervous system.

A neuroimaging specialist has advanced skills in the use of tools that provide high-resolution images of the brain. These tools include functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, positron emission tomography, or PET, and electroencephalography, among others.

You Might Also Like

Education

General neurologists receive nine years of medical education; neurology subspecialists receive an additional three to eight years of training. The training includes four years of premedical education in a college or university; four years of medical school resulting in a doctor of medicine, or M.D., degree; and one year of internship in either internal medicine or medicine/surgery. In addition, subspecialists must obtain a minimum of three years of specialty training in an accredited neurology residency program. Neurologists are certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, or ABPN.

Misconceptions

It’s a common misperception that neurologists and neurosurgeons are the same. In fact, the specialties are quite different. A neurologist is not a surgeon by training. Neurologists diagnose and treat neurological conditions, but when these conditions must be treated surgically, the patient is referred to a neurosurgeon.

Expert Insight

Illnesses that affect the brain and central nervous system can be devastating to patients and their families. A high degree of compassion, as well as a strong interest in finding cures through research, is suggested for those who pursue this field. William Mobley, M.D., a neurologist who co-founded the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, said on the center's website that "Scientists are supposed to be professional skeptics, but there are people in the field ... whose only interest is seeing God's face." He added that "Nothing is off-limits to science and critical thinking. We don't have great tools, but they're good enough to get started."

Related Searches

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

References

Demand Media