Neurology physicians are medical professionals who are trained to investigate, diagnose, and treat neurological disorders. Neurology physicians may also be called neurologists. They may treat any number of conditions, including traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, and speech or language disorders. Neurology physicians also see those with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome. Those suffering from epileptic seizures, comas, or chronic migraines may also seek out these medical professionals.
Neurology physicians will work with most neurological disorders. Neurological disorders affect the central nervous system, or the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is in charge of coordinating the activities of all the body parts, and consists of the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system extends beyond the central nervous system, and receives external stimuli, responding to danger and stress.
Becoming a neurology physician requires about twelve years of education and clinical training. First, a four-year undergraduate degree must be obtained, and then a medical degree from an accredited medical school. After graduating medical school, the neurologist candidate will then complete four years of medical residency, learning his future professional in a hands-on work environment. The first year of residency is in internal medicine, and the last three years focus on neurology. Some neurology physicians even go on to fellowships, one or two years of even more specialized training in areas such as behavioral neurology, neurorehabilitation, or neuroimmunology.
The neurology physician should not be confused with the neurosurgeon. Neurosurgeons perform surgical procedures. While neurologists don’t perform any invasive procedures, they are the ones who diagnosis neurological conditions and come up with a course of treatment for that condition, which in some cases may include surgery. Neurosurgeons are generally brought in to consult when other noninvasive options have been exhausted.
The work of a neurology physician overlaps with that of the psychiatrist. Both treat brain disorders, yet the neurologist works with the physical science of the brain. Conversely, the psychiatrist works with the emotional, or mental science behind the disorder. Some conditions where a patient may be treated by a neurologist and psychiatrist working toward the same goal are amnesia, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.