Treatments & Therapies

Neuropathology – treatment, effects and risks


Neuropathology deals with pathological changes in the central and peripheral nervous system in deceased as well as living patients. Biopsies of the muscles and nerves are one of the main neuropathological procedures in addition to the removal of CSF. Within Europe, Germany is the only country in which neuropathology forms an independent subfield of pathology .

What is neuropathology?

Pathology deals with pathological conditions and changes in the body. Neuropathology is a branch of this medical field. It deals with pathological conditions and changes in neurological tissue.

Changes in the central nervous system fall into this area, as do changes in the meninges and peripheral nerves. In addition to the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum, the cranial nerve nuclei and the spinal cord also play a role in neuropathology. In Europe, neuropathology is a separate area of ​​pathology only in Germany. Specialist training in this field qualifies you to become a neuropathologist throughout Germany.

Neurology and neurosurgery as well as psychiatry are to be distinguished from neuropathology . While these medical subfields are practical subjects, neuropathology is a clinical-theoretical subject. The beginnings of neuropathology date back to the 17th century and an English doctor named T. Willis. In the 19th century, neuroscience was at its peak and neuropathology was firmly established as a medical specialty.

Treatments & Therapies

Like any other pathology, neuropathology also examines the origin and development of changes in organic tissue. In the neuropathological sub-area, this examination focuses on neurological tissue from the central and peripheral nervous system.This tissue may correspond to nerve tissue, spinal cord tissue, or brain tissue. Under certain circumstances, however, muscle tissue also falls within the field of the neuropathologist. In addition to the origin and development of the changes, the course and consequences of neurological diseases also play a role in neuropathology. A neurological degenerative disease, for example, can precede pathological changes in the neurological system. On the other hand, tumors or immunological processes can also cause changes in the central and peripheral nervous system. In addition to examining altered tissue in the living patient, the autopsy of the deceased plays an important role in neuropathology.

Research remains one of the most important parts of the neuropathological spectrum of tasks. In the 21st century, with regard to neuropathological research, neurodegeneration due to diseases such as Alzheimer’s plays a particularly important role. Neuroimmunology also takes part in diseases such as multiple sclerosisoccupies an important position in neuropathological research. Neurology and neurosurgery in particular draw on the findings of neuropathology. On the basis of neuropathological research results, they develop, for example, prophylaxis, diagnostics and therapies for various diseases of the nervous system. The discussion of neuropathological research results and new observations is the order of the day in the theoretical field. As a rule, interdisciplinary discussions take place with colleagues from practical medical fields.

Since neuropathology itself is not practical, but clinical-theoretical, there can actually be no talk of a treatment spectrum within the scope of this specialty. Neuropathology is responsible for examining and clarifying neurological diseases. The actual treatment is handled by practical fields such as neurology and neurosurgery. Psychiatry may also take over the treatment. This applies to disorders which, in the context of neuropathological examinations, prove to be independent of pathological changes in the neurological system.

Diagnosis & examination methods

One of the most important procedures in neuropathology is muscle biopsy . In such a biopsy, the doctor removes the patient’s muscle tissue that has undergone pathological changes and examines the cause of the change in the laboratory. This method is mainly used when muscular diseases are suspected. However, nerve biopsies are also relevant for neuropathology.

The removal of nerve tissue from the neurological system is usually used to diagnose neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, demyelinating diseases can be diagnosed using the method. Brain biopsies also take place as part of neuropathology. With this type of tissue removal, a small hole is usually drilled in the skull bone . The doctor inserts a hollow needle into this hole, with the help of which he removes tissue. Biopsy tissue is analyzed biochemically and molecularly in the laboratory. A biopsy allows the narrowing down of possible causes of the disease. Neuropathology overlaps with molecular pathology in the removal and examination of tumorous changes in the central and peripheral nervous system.

This medical field focuses on genomic sequence analysis of tumor cells. The removal of neurological tissue types can also take place in neuropathology in the course of an autopsy and postmortem examination. In this context, the tissue sample is primarily used for neuropathological research. For neuropathology, the removal of liquor samples is just as important as the removal of muscle, brain and nerve tissue.

Also known as cerebrospinal fluid , CSF fills the cavities of the brain. This cerebrospinal fluid flows out of the brain into the outer liquor spaces. Pathological processes in the central nervous system are reflected in the liquor in an increased number of cells or deviating concentrations of other substances. The liquor is taken from the lower liquor space as part of a liquor sample. This liquor space is located in the area of ​​the spine and is punctured for removal. The examination of the removed cerebrospinal fluid has allowed a leap in the diagnosis of various neurological diseases.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.