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What is a Neurological Examination?

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Updated March 13, 2009

What is a Neurological Examination? Bill Branson/NCI
Question: What is a Neurological Examination?
Answer:

The neurological examination is a simple and non-invasive test performed by a physician, often a neurologist, in order to test the integrity of a person's nervous system. During the exam, the doctor asks the patient to answer a few questions, and to perform a series of movements. After this simple examination, and without any further testing, a doctor can tell if a person has suffered a stroke.

Each part of the neurological exam tests a different function of the nervous system, which in turn reflects the functional state of a specific part of the brain. Often, the neurological examination can help the doctor figure out the exact part of the brain being affected by a stroke or by other diseases of the nervous system. Some of the functions tested during the neurological exam include:
  • Awareness and consciousness
  • Speech, language, and memory function
  • Vision and eye movements
  • Sensation and movement in the face arms and legs
  • Reflexes
  • Walking and sense of balance
  • Source:

    Lewis P. Roland Merritt's Neurology, 11th Edition Lippincott Williams & Wilkins pp291-293 Philadelphia 2005

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