Neurology (from Greek νεῦρον, neuron, “nerve” + the suffix -λογία, ‘-logia‘, “study of”) is a medical specialty dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Neurologists can opine on the subject matter of a psychiatrist. To be specific, neurology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of disease involving the central and peripheral nervous system; or equivalently, the autonomic nervous systems and the somatic nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue, such as muscle.
A neurologist is a physician specializing in neurology and trained to investigate, or diagnose and treat neurological disorders. Neurologists may also be involved in clinical research, and clinical trials, as well as basic research and translational research. While neurology is a non-surgical specialty, its corresponding surgical specialty is neurosurgery. Neurology, being a branch of medicine, differs from neuroscience, which is the scientific study of the nervous system in all of its aspects.
In the United States and Canada, neurologists are physicians who have completed postgraduate training in neurology after graduation from medical school. Neurologists complete, on average, at least 10–13 years of college education and clinical training. This training includes obtaining a four-year undergraduate degree, a medical degree (D.O. or M.D.), which comprises an additional four years of study, and then completing a three or four-year residency in neurology. The four-year residency consists of one year of internal medicine training followed by three years of training in neurology. Some neurologists complete a one or two-year fellowship after completing a neurology residency. Sub-specialties include: brain injury medicine, clinical neurophysiology, epilepsy, hospice and palliative medicine, neurodevelopmental disabilities, neuromuscular medicine, pain medicine and sleep medicine, and vascular medicine.
Many neurologists also have additional subspecialty training (fellowships) after completing their residency in one area of neurology such as stroke or vascular neurology, interventional neurology, neurosonology, epilepsy, neuromuscular, neurorehabilitation, behavioral neurology, sleep medicine, pain management, neuro immunology, clinical neurophysiology, or movement disorders.
In Germany, a compulsory year of psychiatry must be done to complete a residency of neurology.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, neurology is a subspecialty of general (internal) medicine. After five to nine years of medical school and a year as a pre-registration house officer (or two years on the Foundation Programme), a neurologist must pass the examination for Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (or the Irish equivalent) before completing two years of core medical training and then entering specialist training in neurology. A generation ago, some neurologists would have also spent a couple of years working in psychiatric units and obtain a Diploma in Psychological Medicine. However, this requirement has become uncommon, and, now that a basic psychiatric qualification takes three years to obtain, the requirement is no longer practical. A period of research is essential, and obtaining a higher degree aids career progression: Many found it was eased after an attachment to the Institute of Neurology at Queen Square in London. Some neurologists enter the field of rehabilitation medicine (known as physiatry in the US) to specialise in neurological rehabilitation, which may include stroke medicine as well as brain injuries.