Neuropathologists are medical doctors that specialize in diseases of the central nervous system which consists of the brain and spinal cord as well as abnormalities of the skeletal muscles. Their usual role is to serve as a consultant to neurologists and neurosurgeons assisting them in the diagnosis of possible brain tumors or various neurological diseases. They are experts in understanding other problems such as degenerative diseases infections disorders of the blood vessels and the effects of injuries. Although neuropathologists are medical doctors they do not usually have direct contact with patients. Rather when neurologists note a possible abnormality in tests such as magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) or computed assisted tomography (CAT) scans they may order a biopsy to obtain tissue samples which are then sent to the pathology lab where a neuropathologist studies them and assists in determining the nature of the diagnosis. They may use electron microscopes to study samples but sometimes they do histological studies of thinly sliced samples by applying compounds that stain certain regions of the sample. In this manner they can study the sample in greater detail. Neuropathologists need to complete a bachelor’s degree with courses in various scientific disciplines. Then they attend four years of medical school and earn either an M.D. or D.O. degree. This is followed by a two-to-three-year residency in anatomical pathology and then by a two-year fellowship in neuropathology that must be certified by the American Board of Pathology. Some neuropathologists have Ph.D. degrees in related fields as well. According to the website the average annual salary for neuropathologists is approximately $148500.

Education Required: Doctoral Degree
Avg Salary: $148500
High Salary: $168500
Low Salary: $128500
Tasks: Studies diseases of the central nervous system.
Diagnoses brain tumors.
Consults with neurologists and neurosurgeons.
Helps determine treatments for brain tumors, and provides a patient's prognosis.
Also Called: Pathologist
Brain Doctor
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