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6 Important Tests to Help Confirm Your Neurological Diagnosis

Dec 12, 2023
Queens | 347-571-9389       Brooklyn | 929-552-2973      
6 Important Tests to Help Confirm Your Neurological Diagnosis
Vertigo, dementia, spasticity, dizziness — these are just a few symptoms of neurological disorders. Treating your condition and getting your life back depends on an accurate diagnosis using one of these advanced tests.

Feeling dizzy, losing your balance, and having seizures, tremors, and migraine attacks can all indicate a neurological problem — but which one?

Before you can begin treatment, you need to know exactly what's at the heart of your symptoms, and that’s where we come in.

Our board-certified neurologists at Advanced Medical Care in Queens and Brooklyn, New York, specialize in complex neurological conditions and use state-of-the-art diagnostic tests to determine the root cause. Here are six tools we use. 

1. Electroencephalogram (EEG)

An EEG is a painless, noninvasive test that checks the electrical activity in your brain. We place electrodes (small, flat metal discs) on your scalp over specific areas of your brain. The electrodes detect electrical charges that occur when your brain is active and transmit those signals to our monitor, so we can view them.

We use EEGs to detect abnormalities like seizures, epilepsy, brain lesions, tumors, or stroke. An EEG can also help us diagnose brain disorders, such as encephalopathy, brain death, and sleep disorders. A regular EEG takes 24 hours, but if your symptoms are infrequent, we may run an extended EEG that lasts 72 hours to give us a larger window to capture the results.

2. Electromyography (EMG)

An EMG gives us a glimpse of what’s happening with your muscles and the nerve cells that control them. During your EMG, we insert tiny sterile needles into your skin, so they can record muscular activity. Most say the test is completely painless, but if you feel discomfort, make sure to tell us — a painful sensation could interfere with your results. 

When you contract a muscle during the test, the activity travels to an audio amplifier, translating the movement into sounds. The results tell us whether you have a nerve dysfunction or nerve-to-muscle interference. 

3. Electronystagmography (ENG)

An ENG isn’t a single test but rather a series of tests that can determine whether an inner ear disease is causing your dizziness, vertigo, or balance dysfunction. The ENG test measures involuntary eye movements caused by nystagmus and assesses the nerves that control your hearing and balance: 

  • Oculomotor nerve, which controls your eye muscles
  • Trochlear nerve, which enables you to look up and down
  • Abducens nerve, which enables you to look left and right
  • Vestibular nerve, which connects your brain and inner ear to keep you balanced

The ENG can also help determine if the cause of these symptoms is central (related to the brain) or peripheral (related to the inner ear).

4. Evoked potentials

Evoked potentials measure the electrical activity in your brain in response to stimulation of specific sensory nerve pathways. Your brain reacts to sound, sight, and touch, so this test can help us discover dysfunction in these nerves. We use three main types of evoked potential tests:

  • Visual evoked response test to diagnose vision and optic nerve issues
  • Brainstem auditory evoked response test to diagnose multiple sclerosis or brain tumors
  • Somatosensory evoked response test to detect spinal cord problems

Evoked potentials are especially helpful when assessing hearing and sight problems in infants and young children, as well as coma patients. 

5. Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test

The NCV test assesses the speed at which electrical signals move through your nerves. We often use this test in conjunction with an EMG to differentiate a nerve disorder from a muscle disorder. The NCV helps us diagnose nerve damage or dysfunction, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and other peripheral neuropathies.

The NCV is painless and noninvasive, but you may feel a slight tingling or shocking sensation when the electrodes stimulate your nerves. 

6. Cognitive memory testing

Cognitive memory testing evaluates your cognitive abilities, including memory, attention, language skills, and problem-solving. These tests don’t use electrodes or machines — they’re simple questions and skills tests that help us assess your brain’s ability to perform tasks and process information.

We may ask you what day it is, to recall a short list of items, describe past events, spell a word backward, draw, write, count, or articulate the relation between items. 

We use these tests to diagnose dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions affecting cognitive function.

Neurological disorders affect various nerves and brain functions, so receiving an accurate diagnosis is critical. Don’t risk it — book an appointment online, or call Advanced Medical Care to schedule an expert evaluation.