As THE NEUROLOGIST on the panel, I must begin by saying that cranial and peripheral neuropathies are among the most common disorders that we see. Neuropathies may be produced by lesions at the nuclear, radicular, or peripheral levels. The pattern of involvement may be that of an isolated mononeuropathy, a mononeuropathy multiplex, or a symmetrical distal polyneuropathy. Neuropathy may be caused by heavy metal poisoning at one extreme or by simple mechanical compression at the other.
To evaluate any neuropathy, the neurologist must proceed in a systematic manner. He should first determine the location and extent of involvement of the nervous system. He must then try to identify the etiology and evaluate the prognosis. Only then can he formulate a rational treatment based on his conclusions.
"Bell's palsy" is the name given to a neuropathy involving the seventh cranial nerve. While Sir Charles Bell originally described facial paralysis due to
Drachman DA. Bell's Palsy: A Neurological Point of View. Arch Otolaryngol. 1969;89(1):147–155. doi:10.1001/archotol.1969.00770020149027
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