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What is the purpose of performing a neurological assessment?

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A doctor performs a neurological assessment to determine if a person has a health problem involving the nervous system. Additionally, a neurological assessment is useful for preventing complications arising from diseases of the nervous system through early detection of the cause of illness, states Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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A neurological assessment tests how well various parts of the nervous system function, including the brain, spinal cord and their associated nerves. This assessment also tests the functions of arteries in the neck, which impact the circulation of blood to the brain, reports John Hopkins Medicine.

Neurological assessment evaluates a person's mental status and awareness. Evaluation of mental status involves observation of the patient while he is speaking and interacting with his environment. Additionally, a neurological assessment tests the balance and motor function of a patient. A neurological assessment also determines a patient’s ability to feel sensations, such as blunt, sharp, heat and cold, according to John Hopkins Medicine.

The reflexes of an infant undergo testing during a neurological exam to determine the ability to move in reaction to a touch on the foot or to grasp with the hand. Additionally, a neurological assessment of an infant observes the response to intense light, explains John Hopkins Medicine.

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