The neurologic deficit is, as a rule, a consequence or outcome of severe diseases associated with severe traumatic brain injury, strokes, spinal cord injuries, hypoxia, or intoxication of the brain. It is expressed in impaired mobility of the limbs, inactivity of the whole body, changes in the intellectual, sensitive, and emotional spheres. An emergency consultation with a resuscitator is required, and further transportation and hospitalization to specialized medical centers. The pathogenesis of movement disorders in neurological deficits is determined by a violation of the interaction of the systems of regulation of voluntary and involuntary movements.

Focal neurological symptomatology, or focal neurological deficit, is a set of problems characteristic of local damage to specific structures of the central and peripheral nervous system. It affects a particular area of the body, for example, the right or left hand or a particular part of the face. According to the American Journal of Neuroradiology, focal neurologic deficits may develop suddenly or may evolve slowly. 

These symptoms include:

  • impaired vision,
  • hearing, and speech,
  • the appearance of abnormal sensations, for example, numbness of a certain area of the skin. 

Focal neurologic deficits can cause changes in movement while a person is unable to control them, i.e. tremors, loss or increase in muscle tone, up to paralysis. The focus location of the problem indicates which areas of the nervous system are affected since each area of the brain or spinal cord controls a specific function of the body.

In contrast to focal neurologic deficits, cerebral symptoms occur with diffuse lesions that extend over larger areas. In this case, the problem does not concern a specific location but the nervous system as a whole. The symptoms of these disorders are also different, including both emotional disorders and general loss of consciousness.

Causes and diagnosis of focal neurologic deficits

Anything that damages or destroys the nervous system can lead to focal damage. Among the common reasons for the appearance of this symptomatology are:

  • diseases of one nerve or a group of them;
  • various infections;
  • brain tumors;
  • blood vessel abnormalities such as vascular malformation;
  • strokes;
  • traumatic brain injury;
  • degenerative nerve diseases;
  • cerebral palsy;

Depending on the mechanism of action, the nature of the lesion, and its localization, various motor and sensory disorders occur. If symptoms of focal neurologic deficit appear, you should immediately consult a doctor. To make an accurate diagnosis, in addition to the patient’s medical history, you will need to provide the following information:

  • where the loss of function or abnormal sensations is localized;
  • when the problem occurred and how quickly it changed;
  • whether there was an increase or decrease in symptoms;
  • what kind of violations are observed;
  • other symptoms should be indicated, even those not directly related to the nervous system.

If there is a stroke, it is vital to get the patient to the hospital as soon as possible. Intense and abrupt movements should be avoided. Before the arrival of an ambulance, the patient should not be allowed to eat or drink, as paralysis of the swallowing organs can cause suffocation. It is recommended to lay the person so that their head and neck form one line, the angle of inclination of which should be about 30 ° to the horizontal.

If signs of focal neurologic deficit are detected, a diagnostic examination of the nervous system is necessary. Tests and analysis should identify the affected areas, and the type of test depends on the observed symptoms. As a rule, the following research methods are used:

  • MRI – magnetic resonance imaging (primarily of the head, neck, and back);
  • CT – computed tomography;
  • ENMG – electroneuromyogram;
  • spinal tap.

The patient may have linguistic difficulties, such as problems understanding or constructing speech (aphasia), an inability to name objects (anomie), and an inability to make sounds (dysarthria). Sometimes there is a loss of coordination, difficulty in performing complex movements.

Neurologic deficit treatment and recovery 

Neurologic deficit treatment and recovery

Treatment methods depend on the severity of the disease and the localization of the affected area, and the possibility of complete recovery depends on the timely and adequate diagnosis. The volume and intensity of neurological deficits are associated with two main mechanisms – the death of nerve cells and the disruption of connections between neurons.

The human brain has a specific natural ability to recover. This property is called neuroplasticity- it can be stimulated in the process of focal neurologic deficit rehabilitation. It is necessary to restore the old neural connections, especially form new ones with intact cells that can perform the functions of dead neurons. For these purposes, there are some neurotrophic drugs like neuroprotectors and neurometabolics. With effective therapy, new connections are created between healthy neurons, and information chains are formed.

Tumors of the pituitary region and cerebral hemispheres are treated surgically by removing them. To avoid relapse, the surgeon dries out cancer within the intact tissue. Such an operation is complicated and often impossible due to the localization of the formation in vital areas. However, the use of modern ultrasonic and laser technology significantly increases its efficiency.

Stroke treatment includes several mandatory emergency and resuscitation measures and a lengthy recovery period (rehabilitation). For traumatic brain injuries, hemostatic drugs are used, the water-electrolyte balance is corrected, and arterial hypertension is eliminated. Conservative therapy includes a protective regimen and rest.

A focal neurologic deficit is a problem with the nerves of the spinal cord or brain function. This problem affects a specific location (“hearth”). What do patients with neurological deficits suffer from? Paresis (movement disorders), hypertonicity, turning into spasticity, pain, impaired swallowing, vomiting, epileptic syndrome, impaired coordination, behavioral disturbances, and mood changes. The type, location, and severity of the problem can indicate which brain or nervous system areas are affected.

Why is paresis (movement disorders) dangerous? Firstly, paresis leads to hypertonicity, spasticity, and the formation of contractures, which causes pain. Secondly, because the patient becomes immobile, there is a danger of an extensive bedsore process, the consequences of which are difficult to cope with. But often, with the proper care and therapy, a good life prognosis can be expected.