How to Perform a brief neurological exam on a patient

A brief neurologic examination includes six sections: 1) mental status exam, 2) testing cranial nerves, 3) sensation exam, 4) testing strength, 5) deep tendon reflexes exam, and 6) coordination exam. Eve Bargmann, M.D., shows doctors how to perform this neurological examination on a patient. You will need to do a full neuralgic exam (not in video) if any abnormalities are found. But this is just a brief screening exam during a general physical exam.

For a full lesson on neurological examination, go to University of Virginia's School of Medicine Interactive Learning Module. The best way to prepare yourself for your small group exercises is to first watch the Neurologic Exam video from beginning to end, then proceed through all the explanations that in the full tutorial. By the end of this session, you will know:

1. How to test the cranial nerves, and common reasons for abnormalities.
2. How some cranial nerve abnormalities look.
3. How to test touch, sharp, position and vibration sensation.
4. How to grade a patient's strength.
5. How to grade reflexes, and how some abnormal reflexes look.
6. Which nerve roots you are testing when you check reflexes.
7. Several abnormal gaits.
8. How to test coordination, how abnormal tests look and what they mean.

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