The brain is more than just the brain.
It’s the center of the nervous system.
But now we are calling them neurologists.
It all starts with the term neurology.
What is neurology?
Neurology is the study of the structure and function of the brain, a branch of biology that deals with all aspects of the body’s physiology and health.
Neuroscientist Alan Sokal says the word neurology is derived from the Greek words for “eye” and “brain.”
And he says the name is a nod to a Greek word that means “mind” or “spirit.”
It’s a little like the name for the word “neurology.”
When neurology began in the 1960s, it was called neurasthenia, but Sokal said this term was coined in the 1980s because the term was associated with a group of people who were neurologically abnormal.
So that became the name of the field, he said.
But in recent years, neuroscientists have started calling themselves neurologists, with the intention of making that more inclusive.
In a statement, the American Academy of Neurology said neurology “is an interdisciplinary field with a rich tradition of research.”
The group of neuroscientist who are the most famous neurologists today are Neurologists Emeritus John T. O’Keefe and Robert S. Cialdini.
They are known as the “first neurologists” for the pioneering work in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders.
The New York Times said they are the “world’s most influential neurologists.”
In its announcement, the association said neuroscienty has been “at the forefront of the advancement of neuroscience since the 1960’s.”
“It has been a key research area in medicine, health and society for more than 50 years,” the statement said.
Neural scientists were not the only ones working on brain disorders.
As recently as the 1970s, scientists were trying to find ways to treat epilepsy, and the word was coined for a patient suffering from seizures who had “irreversible cerebral palsy.”
Then in the 1990s, researchers were trying new treatments for Huntington’s disease, and that name stuck.
“This new, inclusive label is a welcome change from the current confusing and exclusionary labeling that is used in the medical community to stigmatize a broad group of neurologists and neurologists-in-training,” said Dr. David F. Zaslavsky, a neurologist at the University of Michigan.
As for the association’s announcement, neurologists have said that they are proud of their work and of their accomplishments.
“The field is at the forefront, with many scientists and doctors advancing the field and advancing neuroscience,” said Sokal, who is also the chief executive of The Neurosciences Center at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
“Neuroscientists are not just the experts on neuroscience; they are pioneers in the field.”
But he said they were not immune to being labeled neurologists because of their previous work.
It’s hard to be a neurologian, Sokal explained.
You can be a neuroscientian and not be a clinician.
If you do neuropsychology, you are a cliniologist.
He said there are a lot of people, including neurologists themselves, who were called neurologists for a reason.
They have the experience, Soka said, of “seeing” a patient.
“The idea that we are neurologists is not new,” Sokal added.
For example, when he was in medical school at Johns Hopkins, Soklson said, he had to undergo extensive psychological testing, including one that asked about his family history of neurological disorders and the history of family members who had had brain surgery.
What’s next for neuroscienters?
There are a number of possible options for how neuroscienties are labeled, Sokam said.
There could be new names that are more inclusive, like the Neuroscience Center.
That would allow neuroscientics to remain part of a broader movement of scientists, he added.
But the association is working on the most recent incarnation of the term, which would allow them to stay part of the movement, he noted.
Other groups, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, have endorsed the new name, and some medical associations have been calling for it for years.
A spokeswoman for the American Medical Association, which represents doctors in the U.S., declined to comment.
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