How Competitive Is Neurology?

This article will answer “How Competitive Is Neurology?” and will cover what neurology is, the different specializations in neurology. The article will highlight the difference between neurology, neuroscience, and brain surgeons and their job responsibilities. The blog will answer some frequently asked questions about the same.

How Competitive Is Neurology?

When it comes to competitiveness, neurology is less competitive as it ranks at number 16 out of the 22 specializations that exist. The average score one needs in Step 1 is 232 and for Step 2CK is 245. 

What is Neurology?

Neurologists are specialised physicians who look into the non-surgical management of several nervous system disorders for both the central and peripheral nervous systems. If you’re into surgeries, neurosurgery is the speciality that you should be looking into. 

Neurologists are responsible for managing all neurological problems ranging from headaches, and migraines, to more catastrophic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Strokes, and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). 

It is widely believed neurologists are involved more in the diagnoses of conditions and don’t play a big role in the treatment for the same. There are various conditions that have not progressed much when it comes to modern medicines. However, there has been tremendous growth in the research of neurological conditions and therapies for the same are increasing in number. 

A neurosurgeon assesses, diagnoses and treats conditions that affect your body’s nervous system, which includes your brain, spinal cord and spinal column, and all of your nerves that extend from your spinal cord.

Neurologists work along with neurosurgeons to help carry out and interpret tests required for brain disorders. Neurologists help family members and provide support. 

Who is a neuroscientist?

Neuroscientists are known as medical research scientists who tend to study the nervous system. The nervous system is composed of the brain, spinal cord and nerve cells in the body. Neuroscience is considered to be a complex field of science which includes studying molecular and developmental biology, physiology, and anatomy along with other subjects.

Neuroscientists use this knowledge to study the nervous system and understand the ways to better the functioning of the brain in terms of its effectiveness. Since neuroscience is a diverse and large field, neuroscientists choose to focus on specialising in certain areas of study. This enables them to narrow in on the research in areas that interest them. For instance, if they choose to become a neurologist, they can work with patients who have conditions of epilepsy, strokes, and multiple sclerosis (MS).

What Is Cognitive Neuroscience?

If you’ve ever wondered why we tend to do the things that we do and what makes us angry, happy, or sad, and why it happens, then these answers are the main focus of Cognitive Neuroscience. 

Humans are complicated animals who possess an even more complicated thought process. Humans are influenced by chemicals as well as electrical impulses. However, this is a simple explanation, and the processes that influence us are more complicated. 

Cognitive neuroscience studies human cognition and thought processes because it relates to neuroscience and the biological functions of the brain as well as the nervous system. Here, the goal of cognitive neuroscientists is to help psychologists to better understand the processes that influence the physiology and biology of the brain. They help psychologists to understand the thought processes, emotions, behaviours, and memories of humans.

Cognitive neuroscience is considered to be a new field in both neuroscience and psychology. In the 1970s, Michael Gazzaniga, who was a neuroscientist and George Miller, who was a cognitive psychologist, pioneered the way toward cognitive neuroscience. 

Who are neurosurgeons?

Brain surgeons or neurosurgeons are trained medical doctors who diagnose and treat various conditions affecting the nervous system. This includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. They perform surgeries on the nervous system. However, they can also provide non-surgical treatments that include medications, steroids, as well as physical therapies. Usually, these methods are tried and tested before recommending surgery. 

Neurosurgeons also diagnose as well as treat conditions that may affect the supporting structures of the nervous system, such as:

The skull

Spinal vertebrae

Spinal disks

Blood vessels

Soft tissues

Protective membranes

Neurosurgeons are also consulted by other healthcare providers because they have extensive knowledge and training in the nervous system.

Other healthcare providers often consult neurosurgeons due to their extensive training in the nervous system.

Job Description of Brain Surgeons

Neurosurgeons work with patients who have head injuries, brain aneurysms, herniated discs, brain tumours, spine tumours, and any problems with the peripheral nerves. Commonly, neurosurgeons perform more spine operations than brain operations, though, in emergencies, operations for head trauma are common. Neurosurgeons may also be likely to work as a part of a larger team that provides non-surgical treatment and rehabilitation in the cases of neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

According to neurosurgeons, neurosurgery is physical as well as emotional hard work. Everyone aspiring to be a neurosurgeon must have a sense of what they are getting into. The neurosurgical procedures are complex operations that are an hour or two long. Removing invasive brain tumours can take up to 15 hours of hard work.

Neurologists versus Neurosurgeons

Neurologists specialise in treating conditions that stem from neurological problems, such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral nerve disorders, GBS, and ALS. 

Whereas neurosurgeons focus on brain injuries, removal of tumours, and carpal tunnel syndrome. However, both neurologists and neurosurgeons work closely because both have specialised knowledge of the nervous system.

While both of them can diagnose and treat neurological conditions, only neurosurgeons can perform surgery. In fact, sometimes orthopaedic surgeries also involve/overlap with neurosurgery when the patient has complaints of spine pain. To know more about how to become a neurologist, click here. 

What are the uses of radiological tools in neurosurgeries that are used by Neurologists, Neuroscientists, and Neurosurgeons?

Neurosurgeries are successful because they use an array of radiology tools. These tools are used for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders. They are as follows:

Computed Tomography (CT)

Computed Tomography (CT) is a computer-assisted X-ray technique. This creates 3D “slices” of the brain and the spinal cord.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses magnetic and radio waves to generate high-quality pictures of the brain, especially soft tissues. The images are highly detailed.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) uses radioactive tracers in order to evaluate the metabolic function of the nervous system.

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) 

Magnetoencephalography (MEG) is a technique used for mapping the brain. This is done by recording the signals nerves send each other with the help of magnetic receptors.

Conclusion 

This article answered “How Competitive Is Neurology?” and covers what neurology is, and the different specializations in neurology. The article highlights the difference between neurology, neuroscience, and brain surgeons and their job responsibilities. The blog answers some frequently asked questions about the same.

Frequently Asked Questions: How Competitive Is Neurology?

What is the relationship between depression and neurological problems?

Depression and neurological problems are interrelated with one another. Individuals who suffer from depression may also suffer from other neurological problems such as forgetfulness, sleep-related problems, and other neurological challenges. Thus, there are many treatment options available for treating depression while taking neurological problems into consideration.

What are Spinal Cord Disorders?

Spinal cord disorders can occur due to injury to the spinal cord or conditions that may be present from birth. It affects the movement and functioning of the body to the point where it is unhealthy. The most common spinal cord disorders include cervical myelopathy which is caused by the compression of the spinal cord. Lumbar myelopathy affects the spinal cord in the lower back, whereas thoracic myelopathy affects the spinal cord in the middle of the spine. Neurologists are able to detect the location of the spine affected and treat it accordingly.

What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes seizures in people that suffer from it. This disorder results when there is abnormal brain activity. Seizures can involve the contractions of involuntary muscles and are also characterised by feelings of confusion, or periods of blanking out during the seizure. There are various effective medications that can help in reducing or preventing epilepsy.

What are the 8 cognitive skills?

The eight cognitive skills are sustained attention, response inhibition, speed of information processing, cognitive flexibility, working memory, pattern recognition, and multiple stimulus attention. 

References 

Gazzaniga, M. S. (2009). The cognitive neurosciences. MIT press.

Miller, G. A. (1989). George A. Miller. Stanford University Press.

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