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The field of neuromuscular medicine is subspecialty of neurology and physical medicine and rehabilitation that includes abnormalities of the motor neuron, nerve roots, peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction, and muscle, including disorders that affect adults and children. Specialists in neuromuscular medicine possess specialized knowledge in the science, clinical evaluation, and management of these disorders. This encompasses the knowledge of the pathology, diagnosis, and treatment of these disorders at a level that is significantly beyond that expected of a general neurologist, pediatric neurologist, or physiatrists (physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians. This includes, but is not limited to, disorders of peripheral nerves, muscle and neuromuscular junctions. The field encompasses issues related to both diagnosis and medical treatment of these conditions, as well as relevant rehabilitation interventions to optimize the quality of life of individuals with these conditions. A formal educational process that includes one year of fellowship training following completion of residency training in Neurology or Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation was approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
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In the United States, the educational program in neuromuscular medicine must be 12 months and follows the completion of a neurology or PMR residency. During the fellowship, physicians become competent in evaluating and managing patients with a wide range of diseases, including: anterior horn cell disease; cranial neuropathy; myopathy; neuromuscular junction disorders; plexopathy, mononeuropathy, polyneuropathy; and radiculopathy. They also become competent in the use of the appropriate investigations for diagnosis of neuromuscular disorders, including laboratory, pathologic, radiologic, and electrodiagnostic/neurophysiologic (needle and nerve conduction studytesting, These physicians also utilize use nerve and muscle biopsy, molecular and genetic tests for diagnosis. It is important for them to understand the rehabilitation aspects of neuromuscular disorders.
Common Neuromuscular Diseases
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Congenital myasthenic syndromes
Elevated creatine kinase
Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia
Kearn's Sayre syndrome
Motor neuron disease
Neuromuscular junction disorders
Neuromyotonia (Isaacs syndrome)
- "Neuromuscular medicine" American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Retrieved 22 June 2012.