What Does a Neurologist Do?

NeurologistIn the field of medicine, there are several different career paths you can follow, and you might wonder specifically what a neurologist does. You probably already know that this is a specific specialization for medical doctors. Here are some more specific details:

Definition of Neurology

A neurologist is a medical doctor that studies neurology. According to Healthline, neurology is the study of the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves. A neurologist specializes in treating illnesses and disorders that affect the nervous system. As a neurologist, you would treat stroke victims, epileptics, and people with chronic nervous system disorders such as Parkinson’s, dystonia, and Alzheimer’s.

Specializations in Neurology

The nervous system in the human body is extraordinarily complex. Because of this, there are several different specializations within the field of neurology. A neurologist might focus on:

  • Headache medicine, the treatment of cluster headaches, migraines and headaches with unknown causes
  • Clinical neuromuscular pathology, the clinical management of neuromuscular diseases
  • Geriatric neurology, neurological treatment for the elderly
  • Neurocritical care, the treatment of those with critical neurological trauma

Becoming a Neurologist

To become a neurologist, you need to devote yourself to many years of schooling and a lifetime of continuing education. You’ll start with a pre-med bachelor’s degree. This degree does not have to be in any particular field, but you need to take courses that will prepare you for getting into medical school. Classes in biology, microbiology, chemistry and physics should be a part of this preparation.

After completing a bachelor’s degree and passing the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), you’ll spend four years in medical school learning the basics of medical science and practicing medicine. A variety of schools with different specialties and research focuses are available, and in the final year or two of medical school you can begin to specialize in your chosen field.

Following medical school, those training to become neurologists must pass the medical licensing exam, complete an internship and participate in a three-year neurology residency program. In addition to a residency, you can also apply to a fellowship program in neurology. These programs generally last a year or two beyond the residency and give new neurologists the opportunity to participate on research teams for specific neurology specializations.

The Future of Neurology

Like many fields of medicine, neurology is expanding rapidly today as researchers learn more about the human body and the neurological system. Successful neurologists must remain up to date concerning research and technologies that affect this field of study and their patients. While some neurologists today regularly see and treat patients, others focus more on research, discovering new and more effective treatments to be used in the future.

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For those considering a career in medicine, there are many possible courses of study and available specializations. Among those specializations, many fields like neurology also have subcategories in which you can specialize. Which one will you choose now that you know what a neurologist does?