Studies of the brain and nerves

The human body is a complex system. Brain and nerves work together in a sophisticated system and are indispensable for controlling our body. But what if the brain and nerves don’t work as they should? Here we present the methods available for examining the brain and nerves.

Brain and nerves – our control center

If you put all the nerve fibers in the human body in a row, you could circumnavigate the earth ten times – and that doesn’t even include the brain. This has so many synapses that the number of their possible connections is greater than the total number of atoms in the universe. And this despite the fact that the brain usually weighs less than six sticks of butter.

The brain is our control center: It processes, reacts and controls our conscious and unconscious thoughts and actions, the automatic functioning of our organs. His team consists of nerves and synapses: These carry out his commands using complex interconnections and pass on what the boss specifies. As complex as the tasks of the nervous system in the head and periphery are, the manifestations of disorders can be as varied.

Anamnesis as the most important examination

There are just as many diagnostic options for tracking down diseases. But here too, as with all other disorders, the most important tool is the anamnesis,  i.e. asking about the medical history. In this way, the doctor can pre-sort the complaints and exclude certain disease categories or follow them up further in the diagnosis.

In addition to the current symptoms and their course, the following aspects are also important:

  • Pre-existing illness
  • operations  and accidents
  • risk factors
  • medication
  • family diseases
  • social and professional environment

During the consultation with the patient, the doctor can already gain an overall impression and pay attention to abnormalities in speech, behavior and movement as well as incorrect posture.

The basic diagnostics

The physical examination is carried out with the patient standing, sitting and/or lying, partially undressed. Externally visible signs of illness ( inspection ) are, for example, convulsions, paralysis or conspicuous movements. The doctor will get an overview with various examinations (” neurological screening” ); further tests depend on the symptoms and the findings.

The various cranial nerves, gait and coordination as well as muscle function and sensitivity, i.e. the ability to perceive stimuli such as touch and vibration, are tested.

Internal examination

Since a number of organ diseases can also impair the function of the brain and nerves, an orienting internal examination will also follow.

Depending on the suspected diagnosis, more precise tests follow to assess the psyche, language, perception, thinking and memory, blood and urine tests (e.g. in the case of  diabetes ), examination of the cerebrospinal fluid (e.g. in the case of suspected  inflammation ) and technical procedures.

 

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