Focusing on Neurology, the New Frontier
In today’s world of scientific discovery, neurology is the new frontier. Medical experts have spent decades tackling heart disease and cancer, and now the focus has shifted to studying neurological diseases and disorders. The study of neurological centers around diseases of the nervous system. The nervous system is incredibly important as it sends signals through nerves to the body by way of the spinal cord. Damage to the nervous system can have life-long impacts and can also result in death. In the United States alone, millions of people suffer from diseases and disorders of the nervous system.
The following are only some of the neurological diseases and disorders being studied today by doctors and scientists.
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
Neurological studies range from enhancing the quality of life for Alzheimer’s patients to curing severe migraines. One form of therapy for Parkinson’s disease, for instance, involves surgeons implanting an electrical wire into the brains of Parkinson’s patients. The wire is controlled by a battery pack which sends electrical impulses into the brain. The impulses help patients regain some motor control, thus greatly increasing the quality of their lives. To date, tens of thousands of people have successfully received this treatment.
Understanding the nervous system is so important right now that the National Institutes of Health has placed a large deal of focus and resources on neurology as they attempt to better understand this medical specialty. The research facility’s BRAIN initiative is a public-private initiative announced in 2013 to support research and technology to advance the study and understanding of how the nervous system functions. A better understanding of the nervous system can lead to successful prevention, treatment and cures of neurological diseases and disorders.
A large part of work in the specialty of neurology focuses on population nervous system health in addition to diseases and disorders. In other words, doctors are focusing on educating the public on how to keep their nervous systems healthy. Although genetics play a large factor in neurological diseases and disorders, people who eat well, exercise regularly and keep mentally stimulated are more likely to have healthy nervous systems.
Scientists and doctors are just beginning to understand the nervous system, but with continued focus the future looks bright for those facing neurological diseases and disorders.