What is the difference between a neurologist and a neuroscientist?

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The most concise distinction between neurologists and neuroscientists is this: Neurologists are physicians. Neuroscientists are researchers.

As practising physicians, neurologists are specialists who diagnose and treat conditions and diseases of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems. Neuroscientists study the mechanics of the central nervous system. They conduct research on patients and laboratory animals to learn about its structure, function, genetics, and physiology. Their objectives are to identify the underlying cause of neurological disorders and to understand how their findings can help neurologists treat diseases of the nervous system.

A neurologist will have a medical degree, whereas a neuroscientist will have a Ph.D.

Another significant distinction between neurology and neuroscience is the level of specialization that typically occurs in each discipline. Neurologists often go on to specialize in a particular subfield or even in a specific disease or disorder; such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotropic lateral sclerosis, migraine, epilepsy or movement disorders, brain and spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve disease, brain tumors, cancer, sleep disorders, chronic pain, or personality disorders. Such targeted specialization is not the norm in neuroscience. However, some neuroscientists may focus their research on a particular disease or on a particular area such as neuro-immunology (the study of the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system).

A neurologist is a doctor who is highly trained in recognizing the early symptoms of nervous dysfunction, establishing its cause, the exact location of the problem and its potential treatment.

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