Cerebellar Lesions and the Neurologist

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Cerebellar Lesions and the Neurologist What is a Neurologist? A neurologist is a medical doctor trained in the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders including diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles (www.neurologychannel.com). Common nervous system diseases treated by neurologists include multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, headaches, stroke or injury to the nervous system. The types of diagnostic tests employed by neurologists to detect neurological problems include: • the CAT (computed axial tomography) scan; • the MRI/MRA (magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic response angiography); • lumbar puncture (or spinal tap); • EEG (electroencephalography); • and the EMG/NCV (electromyography/nerve conduction velocity). (www. Neurologychannel.com) A neurologist can also prescribe medications to treat diseases or may refer a person to a neurological surgeon if surgical treatment is needed. (www.my.webmd.com) Most of their patients are referred to them by other doctors who suspect their patients problem/s are neurologically related. Unsure as to exactly what neurological problem their patients are afflicted with, neurologists act as a kind of medical detective and work to figure out what the neurological problem is, what brain structure is implicated in the problem, where in that brain structure the problem is based, the severity of the problem, its future implications, and how the problem can be treated (Phone interview conducted with Licensed Nurse Practitioner and Neurological Specialist Douglas Lucas 4/05). This ‘detective work’ is done through a careful screening process. A neurological examination includes a series of questions and tests that provide crucial information about the nervous system. For the most part, it is an inexpensive, non-invasive way to determine what might be wrong. The neurological examination is divided into several components, each focusing on a different part of the nervous system. These components include testing patients mental status, cranial nerves, motor system, sensory system, the deep tendon reflexes, coordination and the cerebellum, and gait. (www.neurologychannel.com) Testing for coordination and cerebellum, for example, is designed to provide clues conditions that affect the cerebellum. For example, “the neurologist may ask patients to move their finger from their nose to the neurologist’s finger, going back and forth from nose to finger, touching the tip of each. Patients also may be asked to tap their fingers together quickly in a coordinated fashion or move their hands one on top of the other, back and forth, as smoothly as they can. Coordination in

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