Health Care Providers: Neurologists
What Is Neurology?
Neurology (nur-OL-uh-jee) is the medical specialty that takes care of diseases and problems of the brain and nervous system.
What Is a Neurologist?
A neurologist (nur-OL-uh-jist) is a doctor who studies, diagnoses, and treats diseases and conditions that affect the brain and nervous system.
Why Would Someone Need One?
Neurologists diagnose and treat problems such as:
- developmental delays
- headaches and migraines
- muscle and nerve disorders
- sleep disorders
- epilepsy and seizures
- hypotonia (muscle weakness caused by neurological problems)
- ataxias (lack of muscle control)
- cerebral palsy
They do medical tests and procedures such as:
- spinal taps (lumbar punctures)
- EEGs (electroencephalogram)
- EMGs (electromyography)
- sleep studies (polysomnography)
What Is Their Training?
A neurologist’s training typically includes:
- 4 years of pre-medical education at a college or university
- 4 years of medical school — a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree
- 4 years of neurology residency
They also might do a fellowship in a subspecialty area (for example, pediatric neurology). A “fellow” is a doctor who had more specialty training after completing medical school and residency training.
Good to Know
Neurology and neurosurgery are closely related:
- Neurologists focus on neurological conditions that can be treated with medicines or therapies.
- Neurosurgeons do surgery when needed to treat the conditions.