University of Utah: Neurologic Exam, an Anatomic Approach – Newton Street Study Guide to the brain
Jan 30 2012

University of Utah: Neurologic Exam, an Anatomic Approach



The “NEUROLOGIC EXAM VIDEOS AND DESCRIPTIONS: AN ANATOMICAL APPROACH” uses over 250 video demonstrations and narrative descriptions in an online tutorial. It presents the anatomical foundations of the neurologic exam and provides examples of both normal and abnormal conditions as exhibited by patients. Use the Table of Contents on the left to access these tutorials.

The website combines the use of anatomical diagrams, live patient exams, video patient cases and self-evaluation tools to accomplish its educational goals. It utilizes clinical video patient cases as digital movie files that can be viewed online or freely downloaded for local repurposing.

This “Clinical Dissection of the Nervous System: An Internet Accessible Tutorial” for Medical Neuroscience is authored by the University of Utah School of Medicine (Suzanne S. Stensaas, PhD), University of Nebraska Medical Center (Paul D. Larsen, MD), and the Fundación Stern, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Alejandro Stern).

The presentations interweave the neurological examination with neuroanatomy, laying the foundation for clinical problem solving by…

– first, establishing the anatomical concept;
– second, demonstrating the problem solving method;
– then third, allowing active participation in applying the method. Anatomy and pathology of the nervous system is understood by directly visualizing it. This is best accomplished by handling the brain (or model of the brain as the case may be) and dissecting or taking it apart for direct examination. The purpose (for the clinician) of understanding neuroanatomy and neurophysiology is to be able to use that knowledge to solve clinical problems.

The first step in solving a clinical problem is anatomical localization. So, if one cannot directly inspect the patient’s brain, how is this localization accomplished? The “WINDOW TO THE PATIENT’S BRAIN” is the neurological examination. A neuro exam is a series of tests and observations that reflects the function of various parts of the brain. If the exam is approached in a systematic and logical fashion that is organized in terms of anatomical levels and systems, then the clinician is lead to the anatomical location of the patient’s problem.

As of November 2009, the movies found in the Neurologic Exam website are available for download and re-use in four different video formats depending on your needs…

  • QuickTime, 320×240, Optimized for playback performance on any computer.
  • QuickTime, 640×480; High Quality MPEG-4, H.264 compression (good for Macintosh-based PowerPoint or Keynote presentation software.
  • Windows Media, 640×480; High Quality WinMedia v9 compression (good for Windows-based PowerPoint presentation software).
  • Mobile Devices & SmartPhones, MPEG-4 baseline compression for many portable devices.

A complementary site attached to NEUROLOGIC EXAM is NEUROLOGIC CASES. With a step-by-step method, Neurological Cases allows the learner to practice anatomical localization of neurologic pathologies. The six steps are…

  • (1) View the Case History;
  • (2) View the Neurological Exam;
  • (3) Select from the Checklist of Finding;
  • (4) Localize the Level(s) of the Lesion;
  • (5) Identify the damaged Structures; and
  • (6) View the Case Discussion.

Another companion website to the ADULT NEUROLOGIC EXAM is the PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGIC EXAM, where the neurological examination of the pediatric patient is couched within the context of neurodevelopmental milestones for Newborns, 3 month-olds, 6 month-olds, 12 month-olds, 18 month-olds, and 2-and-a-half year-olds.