The Particulars: Studies indicate that medical students, interns, and neurologists receive little training on the recognition of disorders of the nails. Neglecting to examine patients’ nails may lead clinicians to miss important conditions, including subungual melanoma, underlying collagen vascular disease, occult malignancy, or a treatable nutritional deficiency.

Data Breakdown: A literature review was conducted using studies assessing nail disorders that may occur in neurologic disorders or in systemic conditions that may result in neurologic manifestations. Nail abnormalities offered important signs of a patient’s overall health, nutritional state, psychological state, drug and toxin exposure, occupation, and hobbies in the study. These exams also offered salient clues about neurologic and neuro-cutaneous disorders as well as dermatologic, oncologic, cardiopulmonary, rheumatologic, and systemic conditions that may be associated with neurologic complications.

Take Home Pearls: Examination of the nails appears to an important part of neurologic examinations. These exams can provide vital clues about the nature of many underlying diseases.