Common Neurologic Tests

  • Larry E. DavisEmail author
  • Sarah Pirio Richardson


Neurologic tests can establish a diagnosis when several possible diagnoses exist, help make therapeutic decisions, and assess the results of treatment. These tests are divided into the evaluation of (a) function, (b) structure, and (c) underlying molecular/genetic abnormalities. Tests to evaluate function include the neurologic exam, neuropsychological tests, electroencephalogram, electromyogram, and nerve conduction tests. Tests to evaluate nervous system structure include lumbar puncture and cerebrospinal fluid examination, neuroimaging, single photon/positron emission computed tomography (SPECT or PET), and finally, to assess underlying genetic abnormalities, specialized genetic tests are indicated. Each of these neurologic tests is discussed in terms of their basic principles, indications, cost, and possible side effects.


Neurologic exam Neuropsychological tests Electroencephalogram Electromyogram Nerve conduction tests Lumbar puncture Cerebrospinal fluid Magnetic resonance imaging Computed tomography Single photon/positron emission computed tomography Molecular/genetic tests 

Recommended Reading

  1. Fishman RA. Cerebrospinal fluid in diseases of the nervous system. 2nd edn. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 1992. (Excellent compendium of normal CSF values and changes that occur in many diseases)Google Scholar
  2. Biskup S, Gasser T. Genetic testing in neurological diseases. J Neurol. 2012;259:1249–54. (Nice general review of the types of genetic disorders seen in neurologic diseases and current testing to detect them)PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chief Neurology ServiceDistinguished Professor of Neurology New Mexico VA Health Care SystemAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of Neurology Health Sciences CenterUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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