About Pediatric Neurology

Neurology is a branch of science that examines the nervous system’s structure, diseases, and physiology. Generally, it looks at the brain, brain stem, spinal cord, and surroundings. For example, it is necessary to consult a neurologist for problems such as seizures, confusion, sensory changes, headaches, muscle and coordination issues, or head trauma. A detailed anamnesis and a physical examination are first carried out to diagnose neurological diseases. Imaging tests are performed if necessary. Some diseases and disorders that fall under the areas of treatment of neurologists include stroke, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, MS (multiple sclerosis), ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), epilepsy, migraine, tremors, sleep disorders, brain and spinal cord injuries, peripheral nerve disease, and brain tumors.

Pediatric Neurological disorders

Neurological disorders in infants and children include diagnoses of cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or spinal muscular atrophy. Correct diagnosis, continuous medical treatment, and adequate nutritional intake are essential for managing these conditions.

Neurological diseases can be of great concern to children. This broad category includes a variety of conditions that can be caused by multiple factors, which can affect a child’s healthy brain development. Persistent headaches or migraines, developmental or motor delays, Tourette’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism are some examples of common neurological disorders. Some of these disorders have genetic origins, others are caused by injury or pathology, and the cause is unknown in some cases. One of the reasons why neurological disorders in children are so worrying is that the child’s nervous system, brain, and spinal cord are still developing.

Fortunately, with proper diagnosis and treatment, most of these conditions can be cured so that the child can grow normally into adulthood. Although diagnosis and treatment are specific to each disease, nutrition is one common factor that can help manage the symptoms. For example, in the case of cerebral palsy, a condition that impairs motor development, it is essential to assess nutritional needs and determine possible ways of ingesting food, given the difficulties in feeding due to deficits in oral and motor functions. Nestlé Health Science offers healthy pediatric solutions to help meet the dietary needs of these children.

What is Pediatric neurology?

Pediatric neurology (neuropediatrics) aims to evaluate, diagnose and treat the child’s acute and chronic neurological conditions. The mission of neuropediatrics is to care for infants, children, and adolescents suffering from pathologies affecting the central nervous system or the neuromuscular system: acute diseases (encephalitis, myelitis, stroke), neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, severe epilepsy, neurodegenerative diseases, neuromuscular diseases (myopathies, neuropathies, myasthenia gravis).

What does a neuro pediatrician do?

In pediatric neurology, the neuro pediatrician is a specialist doctor in neuroscience dedicated to children, and his fields of intervention are as numerous as they are varied. Neuropediatrics explores the central and peripheral nervous system’s pathologies over a crucial period from birth to the end of adolescence. Problems with the nervous system can begin in the brain, spine, nerves, or muscles. They can lead to epileptic seizures, headaches, or developmental delays.

Why consult a neuro pediatrician?

In pediatric neurology, the neuro pediatrician intervenes for any manifestation (acute or chronic) related to a central and/or peripheral nervous system dysfunction. In addition, school learning disabilities are also an integral part of Pediatric Neurology areas of expertise.

What is the role of the neuro-pediatrician?

The pediatric neurologist provides care for children and adolescents with a disorder of the central nervous system (brain or marrow) or the peripheral nervous system (nerves or muscles).

What are the pathologies taken care of by Pediatric Neurology?

The field of pediatric neurology treats all disorders that manifest in the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system of young people. Therefore, pediatric specialist in this field treats problems affecting the nerves, muscles, and brain.

Schematically, they can be classified according to the age of occurrence in a child:

– At birth: anoxic-ischemic suffering of a full-term or premature baby, congenital nervous system malformations, epileptic seizures…
– A little later, infants may be concerned by a psychomotor development disorder, epileptic seizures, or other malaise…
– Subsequently, the intervention of the neuro pediatrician is required in a child presenting a delay in the appearance of language, concentration problems with or without hyperactivity, headaches, epileptic seizures, dizziness, balance, or walking disorders.

Children’s neurologists often diagnose, treat, and manage the following conditions :

• Seizures and epilepsy
Muscle problems that can lead to weakness, like muscular dystrophy or neuropathy.
Headaches, migraines and concussions included.

• Behavioral disorders, with the inclusion of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), tics and Tourette’s syndrome, and sleep problems.

• Autism
a. developmental disorders, including cerebral palsy, speech delays, motor delays, and coordination problems
b. intellectual disability
c. congenital malformations, which are problems with the formation or development of the brain
d. Stroke and traumatic brain injury (TBI)
e. genetic diseases that affect the nervous system
f. autoimmune issues that affect the brain and spinal cord (like multiple sclerosis)
g. Infections or inflammations of the brain (such as meningitis or encephalitis)
h. Brain tumors

In summary, the neuro pediatrician intervenes for any manifestation (acute or chronic) related to a central and/or peripheral nervous system dysfunction.
In addition, school learning disabilities are also an integral part of the neuro-pediatrician’s areas of expertise.

How and by whom are patients usually referred to pediatric neurology?
The ways of reference are varied: first of all, pediatricians but also other specialists (ENT, ophthalmologists, orthopedists..) and general practitioners.
Children with academic difficulties can also be referred to us by other childhood professionals such as psychologists, speech therapists, or psychomotor therapists.

What types of tests does pediatric neurology ask for?

Pediatric neurology often diagnoses by listening to the child’s symptoms, medical history, and physical examination, but sometimes other tests may be needed to diagnose.

The most common tests requested by children’s neurologists are the following :

• The EEG (electroencephalogram) is a test that looks for brain electrical activity problems. This test are often used to look for seizures and ensure that your child’s brain produces the types of electrical activity expected for his age.
• CT scan or
• MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) are types of imaging examinations used to picture the brain and/or spine. They make it possible to look for signs of a brain tumor, stroke, infection, multiple sclerosis, certain genetic diseases, etc.

• The lumbar puncture is an examination during which doctors insert a small needle into the lower back to take a sample of cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This allows to look for signs of infection or inflammation.

• Blood tests may be requested for your child. These can be basic analyses to check for electrolyte changes or signs of infection or more complex analyses such as genetic tests for specific disorders.

Most commonly treated diseases by pediatric neurology
Epilepsy, movement disorders, and loss of consciousness in children
Migraines and various headaches
All acute diseases of the nervous system (infections, strokes, etc.)
Brain malformations
Neurometabolic and genetic diseases
Developmental disorders affecting motor skills, language, and other
Autism spectrum disorders
School learning disorders