Some job duties of a neurologist include examining patients who suffer from neurological disorders, ordering tests intended to identify the type of a neurological disorder and developing a treatment plan after establishing a diagnosis. Neurologists also engage in research activities, the administration of clinical trials and supervision of the medical staff that work with patients.
Neurologists specialize in treating and diagnosing disorders that affect a person’s central nervous system and brain, such as seizures, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, among others. During the examination process, a neurologist typically conducts various tests to establish the cognitive capabilities of his patients. These tests include solving mathematical problems, answering questions intended to ascertain language abilities and completing memory exercises. Neurologists also test the patients’ sensory system and motor skills by instructing them to perform certain activities.
The tests necessary to establish a diagnosis typically include biopsies, the analysis of the patient’s spinal fluid and blood, and imaging tests such as positron emission tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. Treatments for neurological disorders depend on their type and severity. For example, a neurologist typically prescribes anti-epileptic medications to patients suffering from epilepsy, whereas disorders such as dystonia or essential tremor can warrant invasive procedures such as deep brain stimulation. As of 2015, research to establish the effectiveness of this treatment in patients suffering from severe depression, cluster headaches or epilepsy is still ongoing.