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Abstract

Increasingly, neurologists are participating in the rehabilitation of disorders of the nervous system. Compelling reasons why neurologists, especially those with academic interests, should become involved in rehabilitation include the opportunity to observe patients in the recovery phases of their illnesses and to study issues relating to functional recovery, exposure to patients (such as those with spinal cord injury) who are often not seen by neurologists in the acute phase, and the opportunity to help establish a scientific base for rehabilitation medicine. Many areas of investigation can contribute to the scientific basis of neurological rehabilitation. Among the most promising are regeneration in the central (CNS) and peripheral nervous systems, adaptive mechanisms following CNS injury, computational neuroscience, neuromuscular physiology of chronic denervating conditions (e.g., the post-polio syndrome), and outcome studies of both physical and pharmacological therapeutic modalities. While there may be financial advantages to involvement in neurological rehabilitation, these are probably overestimated and interest in this field would continue to grow without them. There is a need for enhanced training in this subspecialty, including the development of dual certification programs in neurology and rehabilitation medicine.