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What Is Cognitive Neurology?

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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 November 2016
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Cognitive neurology is a type of neuroscience focused on how the brain influences mental function. Using pharmacology, psychology, and experimental treatments based on research, cognitive neurologists help diagnose and treat mental disorders related the the brain's ability to think, attend, understand, and communicate. While cognitive neurology often deals with patients affected by an illness or injury, the science also examines mental disorders caused by developmental problems and other factors.

A relatively new discipline, cognitive neurology marries the study of how the brain works to how mental disorders develop and can be treated. Neuroscientists suggest that as humans continue to improve their understanding of how the brain operates, it will be easier to create more successful treatments for brain-related conditions. Therefore, cognitive neurology focuses on improving scientific understanding of brain function, as well as the creation and application of new treatments for mental conditions related to brain activity.

One of the key area of focus in cognitive neurology is the study and treatment of diseases that affect the mind. This includes degenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease, and memory-related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Neurologists hope that the study of these conditions will lead to the development of new drugs, therapies, and even surgeries that can help slow or stop the progression of degenerative illnesses. Additionally, cognitive neuroscientists also seek to identify possible genetic, lifestyle, or other risk factors that could help identify potential victims and allow earlier diagnosis and treatment.

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In addition to mental disorders caused by illness, the science also places a strong emphasis on identifying and treating cognitive problems brought on by trauma, such as a head injury, or a sudden medical condition, such as a stroke. Patients who suffer from cognitive disorders following these types of trauma may need to undergo careful diagnosis by cognitive neurologists to determine the best form of treatments for the specific problems. Psychology, drug therapy, and mental exercises are all commonly employed to help trauma victims rehabilitate mentally and learn to manage their cognitive problems.

One other focus of cognitive neurology is developmental disorders, such as attention deficit disorder, language and speech difficulties, or learning disabilities. While these disorders may be caused by neither diseases nor trauma, they still require careful analysis and detailed treatment plans that help victims overcome their disabilities or manage their symptoms. In this area, neurologists often work with psychiatrists and psychologists to create treatment plans and devise new strategies that will improve both mental function and the quality of life for patients.

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