What is Neurology?
Neurology serves as medical specialty with an emphasis on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the brain and nervous system.
The study of neurology, in short, deals with the disorders of neurons in the body, also called the nervous system. More importantly, neurology aims to focus on those disorders that plague the nervous system. Neurological research receives attention and makes advancements on a daily basis. Many cities have centers designed specifically for the study of neurology, including Phoenix, Arizona.
The body’s nervous system consists of multiple neurons that relay messages. These neurons relay those messages internally and externally to the brain and then back to some effector region of the body to initiate a response. These systems make up two main categories: the central and peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists solely those neurons contained within the brain and spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system contains all those neurons outside of the brain and cord including nerves in the arms, toes, legs, etc.
Say you place your hand on a hot stove. The nerves, or bundles of small neurons, sense the heat applied to the skin. These nerves in the hand then travel up the arm and reach the brain. Here, the brain sends a message down the nerves to the hand. Usually, that message tells the muscles in the hand and arm to pull away from the heat source to save the hand from burning. If somewhere along the path, from either to hand to the brain or the brain to the hand, there is a complication with the communication, then it may be a neurological disorder that needs addressing. This is where neurologists come in to asses the situation.
Some hot topics of research in the field of neurology aim to understand the causes and treatments to illnesses like migraines, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. These very debilitating diseases greatly affect the suffering patient’s quality of life. Not only that, but the lives of those caring for patients with these diseases also change drastically.
Migraines are unlike your typical headache. At times these intense headaches cause serious throbbing and pulsating pain in the head of the patient. Not only that, but the patient can experience vomiting and light and sound sensitivity in conjunction with the migraines. These added complications can leave the patient unable to work, interact with people or even go about their daily activities.
These “attacks,” as they are referred to, can last for hours to days in duration. Migraines can be triggered without warning, although some can be sensed by the sufferer so in a sense they can feel when a migraine is coming on. Some remedies to aid in relieving the symptoms include sleep, laying in a dark and quiet place, medications, and relaxation. The cause of migraines is not well understood, but may be related to an overactive nerve impulse triggered in the brain and manifested as a severe headache.
Multiple Sclerosis, another neurological disease affects the coverings of the nerves. These covering receiving heavy damage may prevent them from performing their needed function for the body. In most cases, nerves are either called myelinated or unmyelinated. Myelinated nerves are those there are covered by an insulating layer of cells.
Due to the insulation of these nerves, they are able to transmit a nerve signal much more quickly to the brain and then back again, unlike those nerves that are unmyelinated. In those suffering from multiple sclerosis, they are unable to send messages to and from the brain quickly. Thus, their movements and reactions to stimuli are greatly inhibited. The study of neurology as it pertains to multiple sclerosis is to find the underlying cause of this disease and also to find a remedy for the disease.
Finally, we have Alzheimer’s disease, a disease many also know as dementia. This disease often strikes its victims in the later stages of life. This disease causes the sufferer to forget important or well-known facts such as people’s names, dates, time, where they live, etc. Dementia consists mainly of an inability of the nerves in the brain to supply the requested information. This topic spurs a lot of research and experimentation in the field of neurology due to the vast amount of people affected by this disease.
Neurology studies the disorders affecting the nervous system of the body. The nervous system is important to all because this system is the communicating link internally and externally with the world. The nervous system is the sole reason why we, as humans, can eat, speak, walk, talk, etc. Any damage to this important system can cause debilitating disorders.
The study of neurology aims to find causes and solutions to many of the world’s most devastating nervous system disorders.