neurophysiology? too thick to understand

ok after trying to find out what this on the internet is i still have no idea, theres way too many big words and stuff to try to read through, i was sent a appointment to see someone from the neurophysiology dept at hospital in 3 weeks, does anyone know what this is in well a way that a 4yr old can understand please, it sounds serious but i dont know, my neuro dr said he was going to refer me to the ms team to go on dmd’s but i dont know if this is it or if they found something else wrong, please help if you can, thanks alot, vicki

vicki i don’t even know what dmd’s are so you’re one step ahead of me (at least)! :slight_smile: xxx


I’ve seen a neurophsycologist a couple of times. For me it was because I had various cognitive problems e.g. memory, getting words mixed, brain fog/confusion etc etc. I had a couple of sessions just discussiong the issues I was having and then had a congitive test done. The test was nothing to get worked up about and was a bit like the brain training games you can get now, but more in depth. I then went back for the results of the test, which confirmed/highlighted the areas I was struggling with… with me my short term memory was very bad but my executive planning was excellent and quite a few other areas that I can’t remember. Once we had gone through the results we discussed coping strategies etc.

It really helped me, not just by giving me ways to help deal with problems I was having, but by confirming that there were issues and that it is caused by my MS…I’m not going mad!

It’s really nothing to worry about. Hope that helps.



OK vicki, try this:

Neurophysiology is the science of looking at how the nervous system works with the rest of the body.
Neurology, in comparison, is looking at the problems and how to moderate or cure them.

Neurophysiology is very much into investigations - so they run the tests (nerve conduction tests, VEPs, and the like) and tell the neurologists what they found. They don’t just work on MS stuff - they overlap with a lot of other specialities.

It could be that your Neurologist wants an accurate measurement of something (better than can be done with a simple physical examination). You can look at it like this:

If I take your pulse, then tell you you have won the lottery, and take the pulse again, I get a very crude measure of how aroused you were when you heard the “won the lottery” words. Trouble is that there are too many other things that can affect changes in pulse rate, so the before-and-after test is next to useless. Given the right equipment, if I stick two electrodes on your arm, and measure the change in the way your skin conducts electricity, I can get a very precise measurement (this is dealing with values that start off with 11 zeros after the decimal point, so it’s not something that you can do at home without a lot of electronics).

Hope this helps.


Hi Vicki,

Neurophysiology is a term for tests that are commonly used to help work out which areas of the body are being affected by the MS.

They measure how well the nerve signals are being sent from the brain and recieved. The most common ones are VEPs or Visual Evoked Potentials where you have little electrodes stuck to your scalp and then you sit in front of a monitor watching a black and white checker board pattern for a bit. It is totally painless and it measures how well your Optic Nerve is sending and receiving visual messages. It can then pick up any damage to the nerve that may not show up on an MRI.

Another one commonly done is called a Nerve Conduction Study which measures how well your muscles are receiving brain signals. An elctrode is attached to your big toe or hand and an electric current is pulsed through. It feels a bit tingly but not actually painful. It is a bit like the feeling you get from a staic shock and you are told when to expect it. It is then able to measure how long it takes for the brain to receive and to respond to the signal and for the muscle to respond to the electrical input. If there is a lesion affecting that pathway the elecrical signal will be slowed down.

If there are any concerns about the possibility of seizures another test is an EEG which measure the electrical activity in the brain itself and involves eletrodes stuck to the scalp while flashing lights or other potential seizure causing stimuli are run. But this test is not a standard MS test.

As I said the most common are the VEPs and Nerve Conduction Study and my bet is on the Nerve Conduction Study.

Sometimes if an MRI is a bit ambiguous or if the neurological exam isn’t showing ‘enough’ clinical signs to qualify you for DMDs these tests can help the neuro gather more hard evidence to add to the list.

Don’t be worried about it. They sound scary but are quite standard. Many, many people have them done. It is fairly time consuming but not painful. And it doesn’t mean the neuro has found anything seriously wrong with you. Quite the opposite. More that he just needs more evidence or that he is being very careful about ticking all his diagnostic boxes

I hope this helps and if you need more info or I didn’t explain it well enough please feel free to ask more questions


aaaahh now that i understand in simple terms thanks alot everyone, thats one thing not to worry about atleast, and these tests might actually sound like fun in a way, thanks alot

Glad it helped