What is Neurology?
Neurological are among the most common and most serious health problems in developed societies, which may cause strain on the entire health care system and the associated social services. Fortunately, recent advances in neuroscience and neurology hold the promise of relieving what would otherwise be a very gloomy prospect. Neurology relies on the field of neuroscience, which is the scientific study of the nervous system. Neurology is related to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions and diseases involving the central and peripheral nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effectors tissue, such as muscle.
Research in Neurology
The most promising advances in neurology will require advances in neuroscience for their elucidation, prevention, and treatment. Technical advances have improved research methods in the field of neuroscience. In neuroscience, the studies are involved in the following areas:
- Identify brain regions involved during various types of cognitive activity.
- Track the connections between parts of the brain.
- Visualize individual neurons in living brain preparations and record the activities of neurons.
- Study the activity of single-ion channels and the receptors for various neurotransmitters.
In neurology, the most significant advances are from the application to the nervous system of molecular genetics and molecular cell biology. The studies have involved identifying, cloning, sequencing of many neural genes that may involve in disorders, the creation of transgenic animals for drug development research, and conditional mutations directed at specific parts of the nervous system. Such studies could provide new targets for drug development and provide a new approach for treating the disorders in the nervous system and provide a clear paradigm for the future research of many other neurological diseases.
Noninvasive Brain Stimulation in Neurology
Symptoms of diseases and the resulting burden are the consequence of the injury of a given organ and reflect the consequences of the nervous system’s adaptation to the insult in neurology. Considering this, the ideal treatment needs to be tailored to the individual based on the knowledge of pathophysiology. While there are many advances over the past few decades, neurological therapies, especially based on pharmacology, have some limitations, such as nonspecific effects and moderate to severe adverse effects. On the other hand, physical or behavioral therapy depends to a large extent on the expertise of the therapist and the patient’s cooperation.
Fig.1 Noninvasive brain stimulation in chronic pain. (Fregni, 2007)
Brain stimulation techniques are attractive tools for brain modulation and the treatment of diseases. They are classed into two techniques, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (DCS). TMS is a non-invasive tool for the electrical stimulation of neural tissue and might be developed into clinically useful diagnostic and prognostic tests and have therapeutic uses in various diseases. DCS is a form of neuromodulation that uses direct current delivered via electrodes on the head to help patients with brain injuries or neuropsychiatric conditions such as major depressive disorder. They are guided by neuroimaging and neurophysiologic measures of a patient’s pathophysiology and of the impact of stimulation on the patient’s brain. These two techniques provide novel insights into the pathophysiology of the neural circuitry underlying neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Fig.2 Principle of TMS. (Kobayashi, 2003)
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- Fregni, F.; Pascual-Leone, A. Technology insight: noninvasive brain stimulation in neurology-perspectives on the therapeutic potential of rTMS and tDCS. Nature clinical practice Neurology. 2007, 3(7), 383-393.
- Kobayashi, M.; Pascual-Leone, A. Transcranial magnetic stimulation in neurology. The Lancet Neurology. 2003, 2(3), 145-156.