In neurology there are many unique diagnostics tools that are noteworthy and for the benefit of our patients we have briefly summarized a few of them in a simplified manner here.
First, unlike other parts of medical science, in Neurology after a detailed history and physical exam doctors are often able to localize the lesion (or disease) to either the central nervous system (e.g. brain or spinal cord), the peripheral nervous system (e.g. nerve root, peripheral nerve, neuromuscular junction, or muscle) or parts of the autonomic nervous system.
Then using specific diagnostics tools, providers are able to evaluate the functional integrity (via EEG) and structural integrity (via MRI or Ultrasound) of the central nervous system, and in a similar fashion, evaluate the functional integrity (via EMG/NCS, VEP, BAER, SSEP, VNG) and structural integrity (via MRI or Ultrasound) of the peripheral nervous system. In the same vein a lumbar puncture allows us to evaluate the fluid dynamics as well as sample brain and spine fluid (CSF) and a skin biopsy allows us to study the small nerves we cannot evaluate with an EMG/NCS.
Togethering using some of the diagnostic tools above, a detailed physical neurologic exam, and the full clinical story, a proper diagnosis can be established.