Can a neurologist do research?

The article will answer the question “can a neurologist do research?” This article will then discuss what neurology is in detail, what a neurologist does, when should you see a neurologist, and what makes a good neurologist. The article will then discuss some frequently asked questions.

Can a neurologist do research?

Yes, neurologists can do research. Neurologists do focus on research and teaching often. They conduct various scientific research in colleges, universities, private industries, or government agencies. They usually do research to understand the disorders of the nervous system and to focus on clinical/medical research and clinical trials.

As experts, neurologists try and understand the dysfunction and search for treatment solutions that can help patients deal with neurological disorders and diseases of the brain and the nervous system. Research in neurology helps in answering questions about how to overcome diseases and disorders of the brain and the spinal cord, and they are making new advances in the same every day.

What is Neurology?

Neurologists are medical doctors who aim to study the non-surgical management of serious disorders of the nervous system including both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Neurologists use diagnostic tools to understand malfunctioning of the brain and come to a conclusion about the disorders accordingly. They differ from neurosurgeons in the sense that neurosurgeons are enabled to perform surgeries, while neurologists only adhere to non-invasive medical treatment of nervous system disorders.

What are some Neurological Disorders Studied and Handled by Neurologists?

Neurologists usually deal with the following disorders mentioned below. However, this is not an exhaustive list, they usually cover a huge array of disorders, but we only highlight a few of them below:

Alzheimer’s disease

This is a progressive disease that damages memory and other crucial mental functions like critical thinking and problem-solving. It is usually caused when brain cells start degenerating and dying and thus leading to the deterioration of neuronal connections. The main symptoms include memory loss and confusion.

Huntington’s disease

This is an inherited condition that causes the neurons in the brain to break down gradually. This disease usually has an onset age between 30 to 40. This disease can result in damage to the progressive movement, deterioration of cognitive thinking, and other psychiatric symptoms like psychosis.

Strokes

Strokes are also known as “brain attacks”. Strokes occur when there is a blockage of the supply of blood to a particular part of the brain. Alternatively, it can also occur when a blood vessel ends up bursting in the brain. In either case, a stroke can damage an individual so much that the brain can suffer from long-term disability, and it can sometimes even lead to death.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

MS is a disease in which the person’s immune system starts eating away at the protective covering provided to the nerves of the body. This can result in nerve damage and cause disruptions in the communication between the brain and the body. 

MS includes several symptoms such as loss of vision, pain, extreme fatigue, and problems in coordination. These symptoms can differ in severity and duration from patient to patient. In fact, some people can also remain without any symptoms for the rest of their lives while others may have chronic symptoms that never really go away. 

Usually, physiotherapy and medication provided by neurologists can help in fighting the symptoms of MS and slow its progression. 

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease, in this disease, there are unintended and uncontrolled movements. These movements include shaking, trembling, inability to coordinate, and stiffness. This is a brain disorder. The symptoms of this disorder progress over time and get worse. As the disease progresses, patients face difficulty in even walking or talking properly. 

What are the Qualities of a Good Neurologist?

A good neurologist enjoys the complexity of neuroscience and using physical examination to make diagnoses and treatment plans for their patients. They also have the following skills:

  • A keen interest and curiosity about the different aspects of the nervous system. Understanding what can and does go wrong in disorders of the nervous system and having a keen determination in finding relevant treatments for the same
  • Strong inquisitiveness skills in order to be able to design, implement, and analyse the results of the research on the disorders of the nervous system
  • Critical thinking in making quick decisions about which tests to administer, why should they be administered, and making diagnoses
  • Good communication skills to be able to interact with patients with neurological disorders, their family members, and clients with who you will have to work in the industry
  • Good scientific writing abilities to be able to contribute to various publications including journals, magazines, and scientific manuals
  • Patience in order to deal with a huge number of cases
  • Courage and ability to work with autonomy and independence
  • Being able to be cooperative to work in teams of psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, and neuropsychologists
  • Motivation to keep reading upcoming and newer discoveries to stay away from relevant trends in order to make the best treatment choices for the patients under the care
  • Having excellent time-management skills
  • Being organised and conscientious

What could be some of the reasons to visit a neurologist?

Dizziness

If feelings of dizziness have been interrupting your day-to-day activities, you have to make it a point to see a neurologist. This is especially important if you have difficulty in keeping an intact balance as it could be another underlying condition such as vertigo.

Numbness or tingling

Numbness and tingling are important early risk factors for a serious neurological condition, especially if this is happening only in one place of the body. It could be a sign of an incoming stroke as well. If you experience numbness or tingling suddenly, out of nowhere, then it is a good time to see a neurologist at the earliest.

Movement problems

Movement problems like walking, running, maintaining valance, and feelings of tremors and jerks in your muscles all point to an underlying issue in the nervous system and require you to consult a neurologist.

Memory problems

Being forgetful, noticing unexplained changes in your personality, and difficulty recalling major life events are all early risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. It is advised to seek advice from a neurologist and to rule the disease out at the earliest.

Chronic or severe headaches

Even though headaches seem normal, if they turn into chronic migraines then it is a good reason to make an appointment with a neurologist at the earliest. This should also be done if the symptoms seem to be related to some neurological deficit.

Chronic pain

Unexplained and unaccounted for chronic body pain cannot be managed and treated by a physician. It can be a sign of an underlying neurological condition and thus it is good to see a neurologist for the same.

Conclusion

The article answers the question “can a neurologist do research?” This article then discusses what neurology is in detail, what a neurologist does, when should you see a neurologist, and what makes a good neurologist. The article will then discuss some frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions: Can a neurologist do research?

Do neurologists go to medical school?

Yes, in order to be called a neurologist and be identified and established as one, it is crucial to attend medical school. Neurologists graduate with either a DO or MD medical degree. Right after that, they do a year of an internship usually in internal medicine and enrol for three-year residency programs in neurology. To know more, click here.

What causes a Stroke?

Strokes can be caused by high blood pressure, hypertension, tobacco use, and diabetes. The symptoms of a stroke are having trouble walking, speaking or understanding speech, and sometimes even paralysis or numbness and tingling on the face, arms, or legs. 

How accurate is neuropsychological testing?

Through evaluation, it is found that neuropsychological testing has 90% accuracy that helps in detecting Alzheimer’s dementia from non-dementia (Weissberger et al., 2017). Dementia and depression also cause similar difficulties that can be identified and treated on time with the help of these evaluation processes. 

References

Armstrong, M. J., & Okun, M. S. (2020). Diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson disease: a review. Jama, 323(6), 548-560.

Bush, A. I. (2003). The metallobiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Trends in neurosciences, 26(4), 207-214.

Hashemi, R. H., Bradley, W. G., & Lisanti, C. J. (2012). MRI: the basics: The Basics. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Poewe, W., Seppi, K., Tanner, C. M., Halliday, G. M., Brundin, P., Volkmann, J., … & Lang, A. E. (2017). Parkinson disease. Nature reviews Disease primers, 3(1), 1-21.

Williamson SJ, Kaufman L, Lu ZL, Wang JZ, Karron D. Study of human occipital alpha rhythm: The alphon hypothesis and alpha suppression. Int J Psychophysiol. 1997;26(1-3):63–76.

Weissberger, G. H., Strong, J. V., Stefanidis, K. B., Summers, M. J., Bondi, M. W., & Stricker, N. H. (2017). Diagnostic Accuracy of Memory Measures in Alzheimer’s Dementia and Mild Cognitive Impairment: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Neuropsychology Review, 27(4), 354–388. doi:10.1007/s11065-017-9360-6

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