Neurology has fascinated people from the very beginning. However, technological advances have allowed many doctors and health professionals to look into their patients’ brains. This has resulted in a better appreciation for neurosurgery and the neurological tools professionals can use.
These are some of the most uniquely designed neurological tools used by neurologists today.
Pupilometer is used to measure pupil size, an essential indicator of neurologic function.
Doctors often check the pupil diameter measurement using a pupilometer placed on the eyes from various angles to determine how quickly light travels from the iris through the pupil and back again. The normal pupil constricts when exposed to bright light and dilates when exposed to darkness. The size of the pupils can vary depending on the amount of light present in the environment and other factors.
Doctors commonly use pupilometry as a neurological exam to look for a pupillary response in traumatic brain injury.
2. CT scan
The CT scan can be considered one of the most commonly used neurological tools.
It is a diagnostic imaging technique that produces cross-sectional images of the brain and other body parts. An X-ray beam passes through the patient’s brain and creates an image based on the density of the brain tissues. The higher density shows white matter, while lower densities show more gray matter or fluid between brain structures.
This information helps diagnose traumatic brain injuries and diseases.
An EEG or Electroencephalogram test measures the electrical activity of someone’s brain.
It’s used to diagnose neurological conditions and monitor the brain during surgery. In this procedure, electrodes are placed on the patient’s scalp to record an electrical signal deep within the brain.
MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a technique that uses magnetic fields to produce detailed brain images.
An MRI machine comprises a large doughnut-shaped magnet surrounded by coils of wire that generate radio waves. The radio waves cause the body’s tissues to resonate. The resulting signals are used to construct images of the brain. Doctors can use the MRI to detect abnormalities in the white and grey matter of the brain, as well as lesions or tumors within it, fluid collections around it, and blood vessel anomalies associated with TBIs.
5. Spinal tap (lumbar puncture)
A spinal tap, also called a lumbar puncture, is a way used to test the cerebrospinal fluid or CSF that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.
This fluid protects these delicate areas from damage caused by things like inflammation. The CSF also helps cushion the brain against blows to the head, keeps it cool, and provides nutrients for nerve cells in this region of your body.
A doctor performs this test if the patient is experiencing signs and symptoms that may indicate meningitis—a severe infection of the membranes around the brain or spinal cord.
6. Evoked potential
Evoked potentials, also known as neuroelectric and nerve action potentials, are electrical waves generated by the brain and travel along neurons.
There are three types of evoked potentials: auditory, visual, and somatosensory. The former response to sound or light, respectively, whiles the latter responds to physical touch or pain. These electrical signals are measured using electrodes on either side of the head, which picks up these signals as they travel through different regions in the brain.
Neurosonography is a type of ultrasound imaging that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the brain and spinal cord.
It can detect many neurological conditions, including tumors, traumatic injuries, strokes, infections, infection-related diseases such as meningitis and encephalitis, aneurysms, and bleeding in the brain tissue itself.
The technique uses sound waves with frequencies greater than those audible to humans (from 20 kHz up to 1 MHz).
8. Ultrasound (sonography)
Ultrasound (sonography) is a non-invasive method that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the brain.
The ultrasound device comprises an ultrasound transducer, which converts sound waves into electrical signals processed by a computer to produce images called sonograms or ultrasounds. The probe emits pulses of ultrasonic energy and then listens for echoes as those pulses bounce off tissues in the brain.