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What Is Pediatric Neurology?

Pediatric neurologists care for children with cerebral palsy.
Physician examining child.
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  • Written By: Daniel Liden
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2014
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Pediatric neurology is a medical discipline that aims to confront and, as effectively as possible, treat the unique neurological problems associated with young people, specifically those under 18 years of age. Typically, a regular neurologist will handle older patients. A wide variety of neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and neurological diseases, can be present in unique forms in children. It is the job of a pediatric neurologist to be familiar with these forms and to work to treat them.

There are different kinds of specialists involved in the field of pediatric neurology. Pediatric neurologists are physicians who work to diagnose and treat neurological problems in children to the best of their abilities. They specialize in performing often complex surgeries concerning the nervous systems of children. Neurological issues can overlap with other fields as well. While mild sleep disorders, for example, can usually be treated by general pediatricians, sometimes neurologists are necessary to diagnose and solve such problems.

The field covers a broad array of areas within a child's body. Pediatric neurologists are primarily interested in disorders of the central, autonomous, and peripheral nervous systems, but they are often also called upon to examine the blood vessels, nerve coverings, and effector tissues, such as muscles, that are closely related to the nervous system.

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There are several neurological disorders that are common in children. Epilepsy is a seizure-causing disorder that is most common in children and in people over the age of 65. Generally, most of the symptoms of epilepsy can be controlled but not cured, although the symptoms of this condition may change over time. It is the role of a pediatric neurologist to confront the symptoms of epilepsy that are unique to children.

Neuromuscular diseases, such as cerebral palsy, can cause severe physical disability in children. In some cases, children have developmental delays that can be linked to neural causes. Children often get unexplained headaches that are related to problems in the central nervous system. Learning and behavioral disorders, such as attention-deficit disorder (ADD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are also common. Pediatric neurologists are specially trained to recognize and, in any way possible, treat these unique neural problems of children.

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Discuss this Article

anon182007
Post 5

My child of eight months has had abdominal fluid (ascites) detected. Once this fluid was removed by using antibiotics and human albumin (through iv). But after five or six days, the fluid was again detected.

Again the same dose was repeated. Again fluid was reduced. But now we have undergone urine tests daily and they found pus cells and are gradually reducing the amount day by day. Is this fluid is by virtue of infection? The doctors have stared giving anti-infection antibiotics.

We have also tested the abdominal fluid in a lab and it is also showing infectious cells (@ 100-120 PPF).

I am worrying about the treatment as three weeks have gone by and still no diagnosis is found.

Sunny27
Post 4

Cupcake15-I think that it is really important to do that because so many children are easily labeled with these disorders that are actually gifted children and are simply restless because they are board.

I just wanted to say that a pediatric neurologist also works with children suffering from multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, as well as persistent migraines.

cupcake15
Post 3

Bhutan-I heard that as well. This is why if you suspect your child may have this condition it is best to go to a pediatric neurology clinic or see the clinical pediatric neurology department at a local children’s hospital in order to get a proper diagnosis.

The problem with ADHD remains that its symptoms are so similar to so many other conditions that you really have to see a pediatric neurologist in order properly diagnose the condition.

ADHD is a complicated disorder that only a specialist like this can truly diagnose. A general pediatrician will not be able to diagnose this condition.

This will give you the peace of mind in knowing exactly what condition your child has and how to treat it properly.

Bhutan
Post 2

Mitchell14- Fibromyalgia can be really debilitating at times. I could not imagine how your friend must have felt as a teenager.

I wanted to add that pediatric neurology doctors diagnose children with cognitive deficiencies as well.

I had a friend whose child was diagnosed with ADHD. She went to Miami Children’s Hospital and they did a thorough analysis.

Apparently, children afflicted with this disorder have certain areas of the brain that are more heightened than others.

On a cat scan you can see how different the brain waves are in an average child’s brain from that of a child’s brain that has ADHD.

mitchell14
Post 1

Sometimes there can be trouble when a child develops something that is typically an adult disease, and it seems to be more extreme than usually found in children; for example, I had a friend who developed fibromyalgia in her teens. Commonly an adult disorder, many doctors, both child and adult neurologists, had some trouble dealing with her condition because it was very advanced, though extremely atypical for her age.

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