There are times when attending physicians find themselves at a loss and their last resort is to seek help from their colleague. Same goes for doctors who have difficulty in finding the exact neurological problem in their symptomatic patient thus leading them to request consultation from a neuropathologist.
Neuropathology is a subspecialty of pathology. Pathology is a branch of medical science that deals with the causes, nature and effects of diseases. Neuropathology then is the study of causes, nature and effects of diseases in the central nervous system tissues. It is different from neuropathy, which is the study of nerve disorders (usually in the peripheral nervous system).
Neuropathologists therefore are pathologists
who handle brain and spinal cord diseases. They diagnose brain tumors, and examine brain tissue, biopsy materials and fluids. Also, they serve as consultants to neurologists and neurosurgeons. Some of the diseases that neuropathologists can deal with are degenerative diseases, infections, metabolic disorders, immunologic disorders, blood vessel disorders, and physical injury.
To be called a neuropathologist, one must earn a Bachelor of Science degree and enter the medical school. After graduation; that is after getting the title of Medical Doctor, one must take 2-year internship and 3-year specialized laboratory training.
Types of Patients
Unlike other medical professionals in the health care team, neuropathologists do not work directly with their patients. Although this is the practice in their field, they still play a big part in providing the needed care for patients with neurological problems.
The area of expertise of neuropathologists is witnessed mostly in laboratories since they are the ones who check the tissues and the fluids of the CNS. Through this, we can say that one of the problems that are dealt with by these professionals is the tumor that is found in the brain or along the spinal cord. There are certain diseases that can be determined by the neuropathologists while examining the brain tissue and among these is the Alzheimer's disease.
Some neuropathologists also take into account peripheral nerve problems and this leads them to a series of assessments and biopsies. Most of the peripheral nerve diseases that they manage to discover are those resulting to other conditions such as amyloidosis and vasculitis.
Aside from the central nervous system, neuropathologists are also concerned with the examination of muscles. By doing biopsies on these, muscle diseases may be diagnosed and two of these are the mitochondrial myopathy and polymyositis.
Neuropathologist doctors by state:
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