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Nervous system

Central nervous system disorders

Spina bifida

Chiari malformation

Dandy-Walker malformation


Tethered spinal cord syndrome

Aqueductal stenosis

Septo-optic dysplasia

Cerebral palsy

Spinocerebellar ataxia (NORD)

Transient ischemic attack

Ischemic stroke

Intracerebral hemorrhage

Epidural hematoma

Subdural hematoma

Subarachnoid hemorrhage

Saccular aneurysm

Arteriovenous malformation

Broca aphasia

Wernicke aphasia

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

Kluver-Bucy syndrome

Concussion and traumatic brain injury

Shaken baby syndrome


Febrile seizure

Early infantile epileptic encephalopathy (NORD)

Tension headache

Cluster headache


Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Trigeminal neuralgia

Cavernous sinus thrombosis

Alzheimer disease

Vascular dementia

Frontotemporal dementia

Lewy body dementia

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Normal pressure hydrocephalus


Essential tremor

Restless legs syndrome

Parkinson disease

Huntington disease

Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome (NORD)

Multiple sclerosis

Central pontine myelinolysis

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

Transverse myelitis

JC virus (Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy)

Adult brain tumors

Acoustic neuroma (schwannoma)

Pituitary adenoma

Pediatric brain tumors

Brain herniation

Brown-Sequard Syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome

Treponema pallidum (Syphilis)

Vitamin B12 deficiency


Friedreich ataxia

Neurogenic bladder


Neonatal meningitis


Brain abscess

Epidural abscess

Cavernous sinus thrombosis

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Central and peripheral nervous system disorders

Sturge-Weber syndrome

Tuberous sclerosis


von Hippel-Lindau disease

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Peripheral nervous system disorders

Spinal muscular atrophy


Guillain-Barre syndrome

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

Trigeminal neuralgia

Bell palsy

Winged scapula

Thoracic outlet syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Ulnar claw

Erb-Duchenne palsy

Klumpke paralysis


Myasthenia gravis

Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome

Autonomic nervous system disorders

Orthostatic hypotension

Horner syndrome

Nervous system pathology review

Congenital neurological disorders: Pathology review

Headaches: Pathology review

Seizures: Pathology review

Cerebral vascular disease: Pathology review

Traumatic brain injury: Pathology review

Spinal cord disorders: Pathology review

Dementia: Pathology review

Central nervous system infections: Pathology review

Movement disorders: Pathology review

Neuromuscular junction disorders: Pathology review

Demyelinating disorders: Pathology review

Adult brain tumors: Pathology review

Pediatric brain tumors: Pathology review

Neurocutaneous disorders: Pathology review




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USMLE® Step 1 questions

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High Yield Notes

6 pages



of complete


USMLE® Step 1 style questions USMLE

of complete

A 30-year-old woman comes to the emergency department due to right-sided tingling and weakness, as well as a severe headache. She says she started experiencing problems with her vision two hours ago, followed by tingling in her right hand. After this, she began experiencing weakness in her right hand, which progressively extended to her right arm and face, as well as a severe, unilateral throbbing headache that is still ongoing. Her medical history is significant for migraines, but mentions that this time it “feels different.” She is otherwise healthy and takes no medications. Her temperature is 37.1°C (98.8°F), pulse is 85/min, and blood pressure is 135/85 mmHg. Physical examination shows 4/5 muscle strength on the right side compared to 5/5 on the left, as well as mildly reduced sensation on the right side. Ophthalmologic examination shows decreased vision and central scotoma in the right eye. Computed tomography is obtained and shows no abnormalities. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?  

External References

First Aid








Amitriptyline p. 599

migraine headaches p. 536

β -blockers p. 247

migraine headaches p. 536

Calcium channel blockers p. 325

migraine headaches p. 536

Migraine headache

TCAs as, prophylaxis p. 599

Migraine headaches p. 536

butorphanol for p. 572

hormonal contraception contraindication p. 681

triptans for p. 567


migraine headaches p. 536


migraine headaches p. 536

Trigeminal nerve (CN V) p. 523

migraine headaches p. 536

Triptans p. 567

for migraine headaches p. 536


migraine headaches p. 536



Antonella Melani, MD

Evan Debevec-McKenney

Headaches are a type of terrible pain in the head and neck, and there are two main types.

The first are called primary headaches, and they’re more common. These are chronic or recurrent headaches, that account for over 90% of all headaches.

Some examples, are migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches.

The second type are called secondary headaches, and these are acute headaches from a specific underlying cause like a serious head injury or a brain tumor.

So normally, throughout the body, there are special neurons that act as pain receptors.

These neurons convert a painful stimulus into an electrical signal that conveys the feeling of “pain” to the brain.

The brain itself does not have pain receptors, but nearby tissues in the head and neck like the blood vessels, meninges, and muscles do have pain receptors.

These pain receptors might be stimulated by a variety of things such as blood vessel spasm like in vasculitis, increased pressure like from a tumor, inflammation like in meningitis, or increased muscle tension like in temporomandibular disorder.

That helps explain the pain in secondary headaches.

Now, in primary headaches the exact mechanisms are unknown.

Tension headaches are the most common primary headache.

It’s called a tension headache because it feels like a band squeezing down on the head applying constant pressure or tension on it.

The pain is mild to moderate, can last a few hours, and usually there are no associated symptoms.

Tension headaches are usually triggered by stress, lack of sleep, and dehydration - imagine being late to work after a night of drinking heavily and not sleeping much.

Migraines are the second most common primary headache.


A migraine is a type of headache that presents with recurrent episodes of (usually) unilateral, throbbing headaches. It may be accompanied by sensitivity to light, nausea and vomiting, and a preference for a quiet environment.

Sometimes there can be an aura where people experience strange smells, lights, visual disturbances, or even hallucinations before the onset of the migraine. The cause of migraine is not yet known, but it is believed to have a genetic predisposition, and risk factors such as alcohol, hormonal changes in women, fasting, disorganized sleeping patterns, etc.


  1. "Robbins Basic Pathology" Elsevier (2017)
  2. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Twentieth Edition (Vol.1 & Vol.2)" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  3. "Pathophysiology of Disease: An Introduction to Clinical Medicine 8E" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2018)
  4. "CURRENT Medical Diagnosis and Treatment 2020" McGraw-Hill Education / Medical (2019)
  5. "Caffeine and Primary (Migraine) Headaches—Friend or Foe?" Frontiers in Neurology (2019)
  6. "Primary headaches during lifespan" The Journal of Headache and Pain (2019)
  7. "Migraine Treatment: Current Acute Medications and Their Potential Mechanisms of Action" Neurotherapeutics (2017)

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