Central nervous system

Neurology (Greek neuro – nerve, logos – science) is a branch of medicine that addresses the disorders of the nervous system, which is why it often overlaps with psychiatry. Neurology is primarily concerned with the interpretation and treatment of symptoms and pathological processes which arise as a result of damage to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) or peripheral nervous system (nerves).


Psychiatry (Greek psyche – soul, iatrea – treatment) is a branch of medicine that covers the prevention and promotion of mental health, the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. Unlike neurology, which deals with motor function and sensory disorders, psychiatry deals with brain function impairments that result in behavioral and emotional disorders and their regulation.


Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and attacks of sudden sleep (often in inappropriate situations), sudden muscle weakness, hallucinations while falling asleep or waking up, sleep paralysis, and disrupted nighttime sleep. The disease appears sporadically, but genetic factors play an important role. The cause of the disease is the loss of cells that synthetize orexin (hypocretin), a neuropeptide produced in hypothalamus. Orexin is responsible for regulation of wakefulness. The disease typically begins at the age of 10 to 30 years, although it may occur later. Prevalence of narcolepsy is 25 to 50 per 100,000 people. After sleep apnea, this is the most common sleep disorder.


Parkinson’s disease is an idiopathic, slowly progressing neurodegenerative disorder of the CNS characterized by slow and impoverished movement, muscular rigidity, tremor in resting state and postural instability. Symptoms worsen as the disease progresses and thus impair the individual’s ability to function in their daily environment. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is the loss of brain neurons that affect the movement control, as well as other areas, such as mood, sleep and thought. The exact cause of the neuronal loss is still unknown, but is believed to include a combination of genetic, environmental and aging factors. It occurs sporadically, most commonly between 40s and 70s. After 60 or over, approximately 1% of the population is affected by this disease.


Epilepsy is a brain function disorder clinically manifested with seizures. They occur at different time intervals and are most commonly recognized by characteristic symptoms, accompanied by specific EEG findings. Generally speaking, epilepsy can be divided into idiopathic types – those of yet unknown cause; and symptomatic types – which develop as a result of some other neurological illness. There are various types of epileptic seizures, ranging from dramatic tonic-clonic seizures (with falls and whole-body cramps) to absence type seizures (which include only brief lapses of consciousness). Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases with a prevalence between 4.8 and 5.5 per 1000 people in Croatia.