Last updated: 22 April 2021
Neurophysiology is concerned with the investigation of function in the central and peripheral nervous system. If you’re a healthcare scientist working in neurophysiology, you’ll be a specialist practitioner investigating the function of the nervous system to diagnose and monitor neurological disorders. Working as a healthcare scientist in neurophysiology, you will assist with the diagnosis of neurological disorders including epilepsy which affects about 10% of the UK population.
Neurophysiology also plays a role in monitoring people who have disorders affecting the brain including viral encephalitis, meningitis, strokes or are suffering with dementia. If you work in this area of healthcare science, you will frequently carry out investigations in dedicated environments or departments, such as in intensive care settings and in operating theatres.
A day in the life
You will work directly with inpatients and outpatients of all ages (babies, children and adults).
- EEG (electroencephalography) - a recording of the electrical activity of the brain from the scalp which is mainly used in the diagnosis of epilepsy and monitoring of people with this condition.
- Evoked potentials - these are potentials produced by the brain in response to specific stimuli, for example a flashing light or sounds. Evoked Potential are used in diagnosis of various conditions including Multiple Sclerosis and eye conditions like night blindness.
- EMG (electromyography) and NCS (nerve conduction studies) - these assess function of the nerves and muscles within the body. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is commonly diagnosed using NCS. EMG is used in conditions affecting nerve and muscle function including myasthenia gravis, motor neurone disease among others.
With further training or experience or both, you may be able to develop your career further and apply for vacancies in areas such as further specialisation, management, research or teaching.
Healthcare science staff often work at the forefront of research and innovation, so that patients are continually receiving the very best healthcare. For example, in neurophysiology, you might be investigating ways to overcome spinal cord paralysis.
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