Department of Neurology

Carlo Tornatore, MD, Chair

Neurology is taught as a continuum beginning in the first year. The student is introduced to the nervous system through a course in neurobiology, in which an extensive examination of the nervous system takes place and its functional aspects are stressed. Pathology, pathophysiology, and neuropharmacology of major diseases of the central nervous system are covered in the second year. These courses acquaint the student with the nervous system and mechanisms by which disease processes operate.

The clinical clerkship, arranged in the third year, consists of a two-week period on the wards at Georgetown University Hospital or the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  Emphasis is on performance and interpretation of the neurologic examination and a core program developing clinical localization.

Major diagnostic emphasis also is on clinical localization. Since many common diseases have an affinity for certain specific nervous system areas, localization of the involved area is helpful in arriving at a differential diagnosis. Daily rounds and case presentations are held in order to emphasize the application of this basic approach to the total field of clinical neurology. Categorical topics also are considered so that the student may have an overview of the entire clinical field of neurology, and conferences are held on neuroimaging, EEG, and correlative neuropathology.

The student usually performs routine and special diagnostic studies where practical, and consequently, becomes familiar with performance and uses of lumbar puncture, visual field examination, electroencephalography, CT, MRI, ultrasound, and radioactive scans. Special clinics in general neurology and muscle disease provide students the opportunity to see problems that may be handled on an ambulatory basis. A fully accredited residency program gives the students the advantage of a preceptorship with neurological residents who are assigned to wards and consultations.

Clinical and laboratory neurology elective periods are offered. Students may choose research projects in conjunction with clinical or basic research work.