By Bill Kray
What is a Neurologist?
Get to know your doctor. Neurology is the medical study and treatment of nervous system. The complex nervous system regulates and coordinates body activities. It has two major divisions:
- Central nervous system: the brain and spinal cord
- Peripheral nervous system: all other neural elements, such as eyes, ears, skin, and other "sensory receptors"
Doctors who specialize in neurology are called a neurologists. A neurologist treats disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, such as:
- Cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke
- Demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis
- Headache disorders
- Infections of the brain and peripheral nervous system
- Movement disorders, such as Parkinson's disease
- Neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)
- Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
- Spinal cord disorders
- Speech and language disorders
In most cases, a primary physician provides a referral to a specialist when it seems appropriate. Neurologists do not perform surgery. If one of their patients requires surgery, they refer them to a neurosurgeon.