Behavioral neurology is a subspecialty of neurology that studies the neurological basis of behavior, memory, and cognition, the impact of neurological damage and disease upon these functions, and the treatment thereof. Two fields associated with behavioral neurology are neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology. Syndromes and diseases commonly studied by behavioral neurology include but are not limited to:
- Hemispatial Neglect
- Traumatic Brain Injury
While descriptions of behavioral syndromes go back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, it was during the 19th century that behavioral neurology began to arise, first with the primitive localization theories of Franz Gall, followed in the mid 19th century by the first localizations in aphasias by Paul Broca and then Carl Wernicke. Localizationist neurology and clinical descriptions reached a peak in the late 19th and early 20th century, with work extending into the clinical descriptions of dementias by Alois Alzheimer and Arnold Pick. The work of Karl Lashley in rats for a time in the early to mid 20th century put a damper on localization theory and lesion models of behavioral function. In the United States, the work of Norman Geschwind led to a renaissance of behavioral neurology. Geschwind is famous for his work on disconnection syndromes and his legacy lives on through the generations of behavioral neurologists trained by Dr. Geschwind and his former fellows. The advent of in vivo neuroimaging starting in the 1980s led to a further strengthing of interest in the cognitive neurosciences and provided a tool that allowed for lesion, structural, and functional correlations with behavioral dysfunction in living people.
- Benson DF. The History of Behavioral Neurology. Neurol Clin. 1993 Feb;11(1):1-8.
- Martha J. Farah, Todd E. Feinberg; Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology; McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing; 1st edition (August 1, 1996)
- Kenneth M. Heilman, Edward Valenstein; Clinical Neuropsychology; Oxford University Press, USA; 4th edition (February 5, 2003)