Neurology and neurological assessments
Neurology is a highly specialised field that focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the nervous system. The nervous system comprises of the brain, spinal cord, 12 cranial nerves, and peripheral nerves that exit from the spinal cord and the muscles. The brain controls all movement and sensation in the body, so it’s important to keep it healthy. Neurological assessments are important to evaluate the nervous system’s function and diagnose any potential neurological disorders or conditions.
Neurological disorders are varied and numerous and can affect any part of the nervous system. Certain debilitating ailments can have a significant impact on quality of life. Examples include Dementia and Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, headaches or migraines, nerve damage (neuropathies) and muscle conditions (myopathies). These conditions can have a significant impact on a patient’s quality of life, making it crucial to seek immediate medical attention from a qualified neurologist.
What conditions do Consultant Neurologists tend to treat?
- Headaches and Migraines
- Brain Tumours
- Brain aneurysms
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Sleep Disorders
- Neurodegenerative diseases
- Neuromuscular disorders egg neuropathy, myasthenia gravis, myopathy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Infections of the Nervous System
A neurological assessment evaluates the nervous system’s function and helps diagnose any potential neurological disorders or conditions. Neurological disorders can severely impact an individual’s quality of life.
It is important to assess a person’s nervous system thoroughly if there are symptoms that suggest there might be a problem. Damage or dysfunction to any part of this system may cause significant effects on daily living and lead to various neurological disorders. Early identification through a comprehensive neurological exam is therefore of paramount importance.
You may require a neurological assessment if you have any of the following:
- Memory difficulty
- Blurred Vision
- Changes in Behaviour
- Changes in balance or coordination
- Numbness or tingling
- Reduced power in arms or legs
- Neck or back pain
- Blackouts or seizures
- Altered or slurring of speech
- Weak muscles
How is a neurological assessment conducted?
A neurological (or neuro) assessment will be carried out by a neurologist. During a neurological assessment, a neurologist will perform a series of tests to evaluate different functions of the nervous system. The types of tests can vary according to the symptoms, but will generally include:
Mental Status – The neurologist will ask general questions and may also ask you to perform basic tasks.
Coordination and balance – You may be asked to perform tasks that test your coordination and balance, such as walking in a straight line with one foot in front of the other or touching your nose with your eyes closed.
Muscle strength – the power of muscles in the arms and leg will be assessed.
Reflexes – Reflexes are automatic responses to stimulation. These are tested by tapping different areas of the body with a small rubber hammer. Your neurologist expects to see your body move in certain ways if your reflexes are normal.
Sensation – Your neurologist will touch your limbs and other body parts with different instruments. You will be asked to identify sensations such as hot, cold and pain.
Cranial nerves – This includes assessing sense of smell, vision, eye movement/pupil contraction, chewing, taste and swallowing. Your neurologist will also assess sensation and muscle function in the face and mouth, and range of movement in turning the neck.
Autonomic nervous system – This system controls basic functions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature and blood pressure. Your neurologist will carry out certain tests such as checking your blood pressure when sitting, standing or lying down and checking your pupils in response to light.
Your neurologist may carry out further investigations. The most common assessments include:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Medical Imaging (X-Ray or MRI)
- Nerve or Muscle Biopsies
- Lumbar Puncture
If you are concerned about your health and believe that you may need a neurology assessment, consultations with Professor Hanna can be arranged via the NHS or privately.
A letter of referral is required from your GP or NHS Practitioner. Referrals should be sent to my NHS Office.
NHS Office Address: Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery Queen Square London WC1N 3BG NHS Office Enquiries Tel: 020 3448 8014/8251 Fax: 020 3448 3633
A letter of referral may be required for private patients who have Private Medical Insurance (PMI). Self-paying patients can self-refer.
Private Office Address: The Private Consulting Rooms The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery Queen Square London WC1N 3BG Private Office Appointments and Enquiries Tel: 020 3448 8935 Fax: 020 3448 8816
Please view the Terms & Conditions for more information.