The Neurological Exam

Critical Thinking Questions


Why is a rapid assessment of neurological function important in an emergency situation?


How is the diagnostic category of TIA different from a stroke?


A patient’s performance of the majority of the mental status exam subtests is in line with the expected norms, but the patient cannot repeat a string of numbers given by the examiner. What is a likely explanation?


A patient responds to the question “What is your name?” with a look of incomprehension. Which of the two major language areas is most likely affected and what is the name for that type of aphasia?


As a person ages, their ability to focus on near objects (accommodation) changes. If a person is already myopic (near-sighted), why would corrective lenses not be necessary to read a book or computer screen?


When a patient flexes their neck, the head tips to the right side. Also, their tongue sticks out slightly to the left when they try to stick it straight out. Where is the damage to the brain stem most likely located?


The location of somatosensation is based on the topographical map of sensory innervation. What does this mean?


Why are upper motor neuron lesions characterized by “spastic paralysis”?


Learning to ride a bike is a motor function dependent on the cerebellum. Why are the different regions of the cerebellum involved in this complex motor learning?


Alcohol intoxication can produce slurred speech. How is this related to cerebellar function?