Medical specialty concerned with nervous system function and disorders. Clinical neurology began in the mid-19th century, when mapping of the functional areas of the brain first began and understanding of the causes of conditions such as epilepsy improved. The development of electroencephalography in the 1920s aided in the diagnosis of neurological disease, as did the development of computerized axial tomography in the 1970s and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging in the 1980s. In addition to dealing with physical disorders (e.g., tumours, trauma), neurology is unique among medical specialties in its intersection with psychiatry. Greater understanding of the brain chemistry of disorders such as schizophrenia and depression has led to a wide array of effective drugs that nevertheless work best in conjunction with psychotherapy. Side effects of drug or surgical therapy can be serious, and many nervous system disorders have no effective treatment.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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