describes the scientific study of the mechanics of the central nervous system such as its structure, function, genetics and physiology as well as how this can be applied to understand diseases of the nervous system. Neurology is a specialized area of medicine that concerns disorders and diseases of the nervous system ranging from Alzheimer's disease through to infection and personality disorders. Neurology involves diagnosing and treating conditions of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems. This category includes news on nervous system disorders and discoveries, research related to the brain, memory and how we perceive the environment.
A neurologist is a physician specializing in neurology and trained to investigate, or diagnose and treat neurological disorders. Neurologists may also be involved in clinical research, clinical trials, and basic or translational research. While neurology is a non-surgical specialty, its corresponding surgical specialty is neurosurgery.
Many neurologists also have additional training or interest in one area of neurology, such as stroke, epilepsy, neuromuscular, sleep medicine, pain management, or movement disorders.
In the United States and Canada, neurologists are physicians having completed postgraduate training in neurology after graduation from medical school. Neurologists complete, on average, at least 10–13 years of college education and clinical training. This training includes obtaining a four-year undergraduate degree, a medical degree (D.O. or M.D.), which comprises an additional four years of study, and then completing a one-year internship and a three- or four-year residency in neurology. The four-year residency consists of one year of internal medicine training followed by three years of training in neurology.
Some neurologists receive additional subspecialty training focusing on a particular area of neurology. These training programs are called fellowships, and are one to two years in duration. Sub-specialties include: brain injury medicine, clinical neurophysiology, epilepsy, hospice and palliative medicine, neurodevelopmental disabilities, neuromuscular medicine, pain medicine and sleep medicine, neurocritical care, vascular neurology (stroke), behavioral neurology, child neurology, headache, multiple sclerosis, neuroimaging, neurorehabilitation, and interventional neurology.
In Germany, a compulsory year of psychiatry must be done to complete a residency of neurology.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, neurology is a subspecialty of general (internal) medicine. After five to nine years of medical school and a year as a pre-registration house officer (or two years on the Foundation Programme), a neurologist must pass the examination for Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (or the Irish equivalent) before completing two years of core medical training and then entering specialist training in neurology. A generation ago, some neurologists would have also spent a couple of years working in psychiatric units and obtain a Diploma in Psychological Medicine. However, this requirement has become uncommon, and, now that a basic psychiatric qualification takes three years to obtain, the requirement is no longer practical. A period of research is essential, and obtaining a higher degree aids career progression: Many found it was eased after an attachment to the Institute of Neurology at Queen Square in London. Some neurologists enter the field of rehabilitation medicine (known as physiatry in the US) to specialise in neurological rehabilitation, which may include stroke medicine as well as brain injuries.
There is some overlap with other specialties, varying from country to country and even within a local geographic area. Acute head trauma is most often treated by neurosurgeons, whereas sequelae of head trauma may be treated by neurologists or specialists in rehabilitation medicine. Although stroke cases have been traditionally managed by internal medicine or hospitalists, the emergence of vascular neurology and interventional neurologists has created a demand for stroke specialists. The establishment of JCAHO certified stroke centers has increased the role of neurologists in stroke care in many primary as well as tertiary hospitals. Some cases of nervous system infectious diseases are treated by infectious disease specialists. Most cases of headache are diagnosed and treated primarily by general practitioners, at least the less severe cases. Likewise, most cases of sciatica and other mechanical radiculopathies are treated by general practitioners, though they may be referred to neurologists or a surgeon (neurosurgeons or orthopedic surgeons). Sleep disorders are also treated by pulmonologists and psychiatrists. Cerebral palsy is initially treated by pediatricians, but care may be transferred to an adult neurologist after the patient reaches a certain age. Physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians also in the US diagnosis and treat patients with neuromuscular diseases through the use of electrodiagnostic studies (needle EMG and nerve conduction studies) and other diagnostic tools. In the United Kingdom and other countries, many of the conditions encountered by older patients such as movement disorders including Parkinson's Disease, stroke, dementia or gait disorders are managed predominantly by specialists in geriatric medicine.