Neurology: An Evolving Science

Neurology is a specialized branch of medicine dealing with the structure, function, genetics, and disorders of the nervous system. The word ‘Neurology’ originates from Modern Latin ‘Neurologia’ (1660). To understand how Neurology evolved as a discipline of medicine, let’s go little back into the history.

An ancient Egyptian medical text called ‘Edwin Smith papyrus,’ concerning trauma surgery comprises the descriptions and suggestion of various injuries, including some of neurological nature.

The modern-day southern Iraq, which was known as ‘Sumer,’ the first urban civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia, have mentions of ‘paraplegia’ (Paralysis that affects all or part of the torso, legs, and pelvic organs) caused by physical trauma. During the ancient Vedic period in India, the Ayurvedic text ‘Charaka Samhita’ discusses ‘epilepsy’ (a Neurological disorder characterized by epileptic seizures), with mentions of symptoms and possible treatments. ‘Hippocrates’ was the ancient Greek physician also studied the ‘epilepsy’ and its causes. In ancient Greek, ‘Aristotle’ studied the brain and distinguished between cerebrum and cerebellum.

The publication of medical text and related material on a large scale became possible only after the invention of the printing press. Before that, people published their work through various mediums. For example, Johann Peyligk’s ‘Compendium Philosophiae Naturalis’ published in 1499 in Leipzig, Germany. The work depicted the ‘Dura mater’ and ‘Pia matter’ as well as the ventricles on 11 woodcuts. The work on anatomy and physiology of the brain continued till the cells were identified microscopically. This gave momentum to the discoveries and theories in Neurology.

To bring the ideas of neurology into practice the right diagnosis and analysis were very essential; it ensued when new tools and procedures were discovered. For example, tendon hammer, Ophthalmoscope, pin and tuning fork, syringe and lumbar puncture, x rays, the electroencephalography, angiography, and CAT scans came into practice in the 19th century.

Therefore, by the end of the 19th century, physicians were equipped with a decent amount of theories and procedures to perform the Neurosurgeries. Neurology is a complex branch of medicine, and ongoing clinical research and trials by scientist and doctors make it continually evolves.

Neurologist – Neurosurgeon

A neurologist is a medical doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system. A Neurologist contributes to clinical research, clinical trials and other fundamental studies; however, a Neurologist differs from a Neurosurgeon.

Neurologists treat disorders of the nervous system, brain, spinal cord, nerves, muscles, and pain. Common neurological disorders are a stroke, Alzheimer’s diseases, headache, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders, multiple sclerosis, pain, tremor, brain and spinal cord injuries, brain tumours, peripheral nerve disorders and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Neurosurgeons are not only brain surgeons, but they are the specialists who are experts to help patients with head and spine trauma, cerebrovascular disorders, such as aneurysms of the brain and congested arteries in the neck that might lead to strokes, birth flaws, brain and spinal lumps/tumors, chronic low back aching, and irregularities of the peripheral (face, arms, legs, hands and feet) nerves.

Ongoing Research- New findings in Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is a Neurodegenerative condition where neurons in the brain, which controls the motor skills and movement, deteriorate and die progressively. While experimenting on rats, researchers in the US have found that, targeting a compound called ‘acrolein,’ which is a derivative of oxidative stress, slowed the illnesses in rats. These key findings could lead to new medication for the ailment.

Hyposmia

It is a medical term, describing a partial loss of the sense of smell. People figure out the taste of food by a tongue, taste buds and smell, where scent plays a significant role. Hence people suffering from Hyposmia often face problems with the taste of the food. This syndrome is found mostly in older adults.

Dark Chocolates- Health Boosters

Dark Chocolates with more than 70% cocoa (cacao) powder can tremendously help boost your cognitive power, heart health, and immune system. It can reduce the stress levels and strengthen the immunity. Flavanols-antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables are the principal constituent of cocoa, which dampens the inflammation. Another study illustrates that eating chocolate on a daily basis helped people to have better attention spans, working memory, ability to process speed and verbal fluency.

Functional connectivity MRI could help identify brain ailments and syndromes

According to a new study a kind of brain scan called ‘functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI)’ can determine how the brain region interacts. This research could help diagnose people with migraines, bipolar disorders, depression and many other ailments of the brain for which no pathological tests are available to date. Doctors’ access such cases based similar symptoms and behaviour.

Researchers examined the data from more than 10 hours of fcMRI scans on each of nine people, gathered in 10 separate one-hour sessions for each person. People performed tasks related to vision, memory, reading or motor skills, or rested quietly during the scans.

The available data on each person allowed doctors to analyze how much an individual’s brain networks have changed from day-to-day activities and with different mental tasks.

Future of Neurology and Neuroscience

In the past, a neurologist was particularly acknowledged for skilled diagnoses using his years of experience and from a comprehensive history and physical examination of patients, however with limited treatment options.

Future Neurology aims to propagate basic, translational and clinical research, focusing on the latest developments and their probable effect on the treatment of neurological diseases and disorders.

Also, the neurological landscape is changing quickly. From the technological standpoint, advanced molecular methodologies and neuroimaging facilities have significantly enlarged our knowledge of neurological syndromes. This will help our coming generation to alleviate their pain and live a healthy & peaceful life ahead.

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