What is a Neuropathologist?
Neuropathology is the branch of medicine dealing with diseases of the nervous system.
The typical tasks a neuropathologist has:
- Study brain tumors and other tissues and fluids
- Diagnose and classify tumors as malignant or benign
- Study the results of pathological analyses of patient's cerebro-spinal fluid to determine nature and extent of a disorder
- Identify the presence of pathological blood conditions or parasites
- Advise neurologists and neurosurgeons of the results
- Write reports on study results.
Neuropathologists specialize in diseases of the brain and spinal cord, and also make definitive diagnosis of brain tumors. Much like how neuroradiologists use CT scans, MRIs, and x-rays, neuropathologists use “electron microscopes in pathology labs to determine the nature and type of tumor in a patient’s brain or other type of neurological problem” (SchoolsintheUSA.com). They also look for any changes in any neurological disorders, which will lead them to establish a diagnosis.
These doctors perform microscopic examinations of tissue from the tumor. They ask themselves questions (such as 1) what type of brain cell did the tumor come from? and 2) does the tumor show rapid growth?). These questions help further determine what kind of tumor the patient could have.
Once the neuropathologist has determined the type of tumor, the neurologist is informed so they can give treatment advice, a prognosis, and health-care information to the family.
To read an interview with a neuropathologist, click here.
"Definition of Neuropathologist ." MedicineNet.com. MedicineNet, Inc, 14 Jun 2012. Web. 21 Jun 2012. <http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=9955>
"Neuropathologist." SchoolsintheUSA. www.schoolsintheusa.com, n.d. Web. 21 Jun 2012. <http://www.schoolsintheusa.com/careerprofiles_details.cfm?carid=522>