Learn more about neurology

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At SIU Medicine, highly trained and experienced teams of neurology specialists work with children, adults and seniors affected by neurological conditions. Care is provided in the Department of Neurology’s Neuroscience Institute, Parkinson’s Disease Center, and Dale and Deborah Smith Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment. Neurologists also collaborate with physicians and staff in the departments of psychiatry and neurosurgery.

Read how this important field of medicine can potentially help you or a loved one who is experiencing a problem within the nervous system. 

What is neurology?

Neurology is an area of medicine focusing on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, illnesses and injuries affecting the nervous system, which includes the brain, nerves and spinal cord. Neurological symptoms include headaches, pain, weakness, numbness, confusion, memory loss, stiffness, abnormal movements and other problems with the nervous system.

Doctors who specialize in neurology help people living with a wide range of acute and chronic health conditions. Some of the most common neurological conditions we diagnose and treat within the neurology department at SIU Medicine include: 

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease)
  • Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia
  • Brain tumors
  • Bell's palsy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Concussion and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Chronic pain
  • Epilepsy (seizures)
  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
  • Headaches and migraine
  • Huntington's disease
  • Memory loss
  • Movement disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)
  • Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Tremor
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Neurology expertise 

Neurologists are medical doctors (MDs and DOs) with advanced training and certifications in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions. Many neurologists choose to specialize in particular health conditions, or work with specific patient populations. 

A neurologist's key role is to implement or recommend diagnostic and therapeutic services, as well as oversee care plans of patients diagnosed with neurological conditions. Neurologists also collaborate with many other health care providers to ensure patients receive high quality continuing care. The multidisciplinary team may include physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, neurosurgeons and allied health professionals, including physical, occupational and speech therapists.

Common neurology services 

Neurology services include screening and diagnostic tools as well as therapeutic interventions to alleviate neurological symptoms, improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications. 

Diagnostic procedures commonly used for neurological conditions include: 

  • Medical imaging studies, including computerized tomography or computer-assisted tomography (CT or CAT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET scan)
  • Electrophysiologic studies, including electroencephalogram (EEG), and electromyogram/nerve conduction (EMG/NCS)
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture) 
  • Botulinum toxin injection
  • Nerve block
  • Neuropsychological evaluation
  • Blood work, cerebral spinal fluid analysis, and other lab tests
  • Physical examination
  • Neurological examination
  • Review of personal and medical history 

Based on the findings, a neurologist may then recommend a range of treatments or interventions, including medications, physical rehabilitation, and neurosurgical consultation (neurologists themselves do not perform surgery).  

In addition, non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as those offered through SIU’s Beyond the Medical Center programs, dietary consultation, etc., may help to maintain and improve activities of daily living. We offer support groups and caregiver support, too. 

In some cases, psychological evaluation may be recommended. The exact plan of care a patient needs will be highly dependent on factors unique to that individual, including diagnosis, underlying health conditions, age and personal health goals.  

Are you living with a neurological condition?

SIU Medicine is home to some of the region's leading physicians and researchers involved in the field of neurology. We're proud to be on the vanguard of academic care and treatment for patients across central and southern Illinois. If you are experiencing neurological symptoms or have a concern for a neurology-related condition, contact SIU Medicine at 217-545-8000 and schedule an appointment today. It could start you on your path toward better health.

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