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Neurology Diagnostic Tests Neurology Diagnostic Tests

What are some diagnostic tests for nervous system disorders?

Evaluating and diagnosing damage to the nervous system is complicated and complex. Many of the same symptoms occur in different combinations among the different disorders. To further complicate the diagnostic process, many disorders do not have definitive causes, markers, or tests.

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for nervous system disorders may include the following:

  • Computed Tomography Scan (CT/CAT Scan) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) is a recording of the on-going electrical activity of the brain. An EEG can assist in the diagnosis of a variety of neurological problems - from common headaches and dizziness to seizure disorders, strokes and degenerative brain disease. The EEG is also used to determine organic causes of psychiatric symptoms and disabilities in children and can assist physicians in determining irreversible brain death.

  • Ambulatory EEG (AEEG) involves recording the electrical activity of the brain for 24 to 72 hours while the patient goes about their daily activity.

  • Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) evaluates electrical potentials from peripheral nerves to evaluate various types of nerve damage. Electrodes are inserted into the muscle, or placed on the skin overlying a muscle or muscle group, and electrical activity and muscle response are recorded.

  • Electromyography (EMG) is a test that assesses the health of the muscles and the nerves controlling the muscles.

  • Visual Evoked Potentials (VEP) is visual evoked response or potential (VER or VEP), which is when the eyes are stimulated by looking at a test pattern. This is done for optic nerve problems including multiple sclerosis.

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

What to expect during a Nerve Conduction Study and EMG Test


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