Are neuroscience and neurology the same?

Thanks to the great advances in science, we are finding more and more “neuro”. Are you lost between words? You don’t know what each neuro professionals specialize in?

In this post we are going to answer the question ‘’Are neuroscience and neurology the same?’’ We will define each of the specialties, and we will highlight the main differences between both neuroprofessions.

Are neuroscience and neurology the same?

Before investigating the differences between these two terms “Neuro” we must stop and explain the aspects of each one of them. So here we go.

What’s neuroscience?

The official definition of neuroscience is “science that deals with the nervous system and each of its various aspects and specialized functions.”

Although it is an accurate definition, it falls short, they conclude that to go more in detail and taking into account the complexity of the processes that occur in the brain, it could be said that neuroscience arises with the aim of understanding the functioning and structure of the brain and the nervous system from different approaches, using various methodologies and techniques.

Neuroscience studies all the scientific aspects of the nervous system, including molecular, cellular, functional and structural elements, as well as evolutionary, medical and computational aspects. Some examples of the main areas of study are:

  • Neuronal signalling and axonal connectivity patterns
  • Neural development and its biological function
  • The formation of the neural circuit and the functional role in reflexes, sense, memory, learning and emotional response
  • Psychological functions related to neural circuits
  • Brain imaging for disease diagnosis

How is neuroscientist trained?

Essentially, it is done studying and researching for years, like all scientists, but in this case, the object of study, curiosity and passion is the nervous system.

To do this, the academic journey involves doing a degree, then a master’s degree and then a doctorate. At this point, one should have already made good contact with research and day-to-day life in a laboratory.

Later, several years of postdoctoral research in one or several laboratories and finally establish your own group to carry out a long-term research program, in the same center or in several centers.

As you can see, the career is long and that means that you will not get bored. In all these stages, mobility (changing laboratories, in another region or country) is frequent and a value, due to the amount of information, points of view, technical skills and contacts it facilitates. That usually comes in handy later to find a job and also helps you with your research.

What’s neurology?

Neurology is the medical specialty that studies the structure, function and development of the nervous system (central, peripheral and autonomic) and muscular in a normal and pathological state, using all the clinical and instrumental techniques of study, diagnosis and treatment currently in use or that may be developed in the future.

Neurology deals comprehensively with medical care for the neurological patient, with teaching in all matters that affect the nervous system and with research, both clinical and basic, within its scope.

Neurology has been considered by some to be the clinical specialty par excellence. It is one of the fields of medicine that has developed the most in recent years. It is very dynamic and continuously expanding medical specialty due to constant advances in the field of neuroscience.

Considerable progress has been made in understanding brain function and diseases of the nervous system. These advances are allowing new therapeutic alternatives and the treatment of a large number of neuro.

What disorders does the neurologist study most often?

A neurologist doctor studies diseases that affect the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system (both somatic and autonomic). Among them, the most common diseases and those with the highest incidence in the population are:

Migraine

Headache more frequent in women, which is usually throbbing and may be accompanied by digestive discomfort, with vomiting. The crises are usually preceded by some vegetative alteration, which constitutes the aura. The cause is not known, but there appears to be a family tendency.

Parkinson’s disease

Postural alteration, with loss of balance of the arms when walking, which can cause trips and falls. As it progresses, muscle rigidity, tremor in the hands (first unilateral), and a tendency to obsessive personality appear. It is attributed to the loss of Dopamine in some nerve nuclei, in adulthood. More common in men.

Epilepsy

Decreased or loss of consciousness followed by seizures. It can be generalized or partial, affecting only a few muscles. It appears after a brain injury, although in general it is not identified.

Neuralgia

Acute pain related to a nerve (trigeminal neuralgia in the head), or to a nerve root (sciatic neuralgia in a lower extremity), in which case it can be caused by a trauma that affects the spine.

Multiple Sclerosis

Disease attributed to inflammation of the myelin covering of nerve fibers. It can affect the nervous system very broadly, producing dizziness, tingling, paralysis or alteration in the pronunciation of words.

Stroke or cerebral infarction

Due to lack of blood flow in the event of an embolism or a thrombosis of the cerebral arteries (ischemic stroke), or due to arterial rupture and blood extravasation (hemorrhagic stroke. It is recognized by motor weakness or paralysis, difficulty in speaking, alteration of balance, tingling in half body, headache, vision disorder.

Muscle weakness problems

Difficulty in contracting the muscles, either as a result of an affection of the muscle itself, of the nerves that provide the electrical stimulus, or due to generalized weakness of the person, due to a general disease, such as advanced stage cancer. When the deficit makes movement impossible, it is said to be paralysis.

Insomnia

Difficulty falling asleep, or sleeping continuously without interruptions. It is generally the result of anxious states, mental problems, the consumption of toxins, digestive problems or the absence of physical exercise during wakefulness.

Memory loss

It begins with the difficulty to learn, to record new memories in the brain, it can progress creating difficulties in orientation in time, space and in recognizing people. If it persists, it can lead to dementia.

Stress problems

It is the body’s reaction to an aggressive stimulus, mobilizing various hormones and cortisone. If the aggression is lasting, the response may fail and an unhealthy process is triggered that may involve various organs and therefore a multiplicity of symptoms. Long-lasting stress can affect cellular DNA and promote cancer development.

How is a neurologist trained?

Neurology is the medical discipline that deals with disorders of the nervous system. Thus, study the alternations of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles, etc. It is a vital field of medicine for many people, as it helps to improve the quality of life of patients with disabilities or chronic diseases. 

In addition to practising as a doctor, a neurologist can also engage in scientific research.

Above all, it must be clear that the only way to be a neurologist is through a career in Medicine. However, it is necessary to overcome several stages to reach the goal:

First, to obtain the title of MD you must:

1. Get a Bachelor’s Degree

2. Undergraduate Medical Education

After completing the basic studies, the Graduate Medical Education continues, divided into the Postgraduate years.

3. Specialized medical training in neurology

If you want to know more about how to become a Neurologist, visit de American Academy of Neurology website.

Differences between Neuroscience and Neurology

Neuroscience is the discipline that studies at a scientific level the mechanics of the nervous system such as its structure, function, genetics and physiology, as well as the way in which this can be applied to understand diseases of the nervous system.

Neurology is an area of ​​medicine that focuses on disorders and diseases of the nervous system. Neurology involves the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems.

Neuroscientists are basic scientists who may or may not have a medical degree. Most of them, however, are doctorates in neuroscience.

Neurologists are medical graduates who have specialized in neurology through relevant specialist studies and practices. They treat neurological diseases of all kinds, such as Alzheimer’s, stroke, epilepsy and many more. Neurologists can also specialize in surgery and become neurosurgeons.

One of the aspects that differentiate neurology from neurosciences is its methodology when approaching treatment. A discipline such as neurology, which is nothing but a medical specialty, will deal with a brain disease as a priority through the use of psychoactive drugs, since a medical professional is trained and trained for it.

The prescription of psychotropic drugs, in this case, aimed at alleviating or treating brain diseases, is a power that only doctors enjoy. Not all neuroscientists can prescribe drugs, since most are in the research area, so their tools to try to help and rehabilitate the person with brain damage will be others.

So, are neuroscience and neurology the same?

We already know that the prefix ” neuro ” is widely used. And as? The study of the brain cannot be reduced to just one aspect, there are more and more different approaches.

However, the broad field of neuroscience involves the study of the nervous system. Psychologists, biologists, mathematicians and yes, neurologists can become neuroscientists. Usually this approach is geared toward research.

On the contrary, neurologists are medical specialists. Yes, they have the title of Doctors of Medicine, and they can treat diseases and prescribe medication. Although neurologists may be involved in research, they are generally engaged in clinical practice.

If you have constant seizures or migraines, you should go to a neurologist, if you want to know the advances of the study of the brain, go to a neuroscientist.

FAQS: Are neuroscience and neurology the same?

What major does Neurology fall under?

Actually, to be a doctor, in this case a neurologist, you don’t need a specific major. You can enter medical school with a Bachelor Degree in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or even psychology. The important thing is to meet the pre-med requirements for the Medical School.

Do Neurologists study the brain?

Yes, neurologists study the brain, they specialize in diagnosing, treating and managing diseases of the nervous system, which includes the brain.

Is Neurology a difficult specialty?

Oh yes! All specialties have their level of difficulty, but studying neurology is not easy at all, they study the most complex system in the universe: the nervous system.

Do neuroscientists make a lot of money?

Not really. Neuroscientists earn between $ 60,000 and $ 150,000 a year, depending on what field you specialize in and what position you hold.

Do Neuroscientists do surgery?

No, neuroscientists focus on research. In fact, neurosurgeons are the specialists in performing surgeries.

In this post we answered the question ‘’Are neuroscience and neurology the same?’’ We’ve defined each of the specialties, and highlighted the main differences between both neuroprofessions.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know!

References

News-Medical. (2014, January 17). What is the Difference Between Neurology and Neuroscience? Retrieved October 29, 2020, from News-Medical.net website: https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-the-Difference-Between-Neurology-and-Neuroscience.aspx

‌Martin, J. B. (2002). The integration of neurology, psychiatry, and neuroscience in the 21st century. American Journal of Psychiatry, 159(5), 695-704.

Careers in Neuroscience | Neuroscience. (2019). Retrieved October 29, 2020, from Princeton.edu website: https://pni.princeton.edu/undergraduate-concentration/careers-neuroscience

Leave a Comment