Pediatric neurology is a specialized branch of medicine that deals with neurological conditions in neonates (newborns), infants, children and adolescents. These include diseases and disorders of the spinal cord, brain, peripheral nervous system, autonomic nervous system, muscles and blood vessels. These could be as simple as a migraine to complex conditions like neurodegenerative disorders.
Migraine is a moderate headache that can occur 2-4 times per month and could last anywhere between 2-12 hours. It occurs in about 8 to 15% of high school children. Migraines in children are of two types – with and without aura. Migraines are thought to be caused due to a release of chemicals in the brain, which cause pain and inflammation. Some of the common triggers for migraine include certain food items, alcohol, lack of sleep, travel, stress, menstruation, caffeine and change in weather. The best way to treat migraine is to avoid the triggers and take symptomatic medications immediately.
The most common cause of epilepsy in children is high grade fever, which in most cases is a one-time event. Any condition that causes damage to the brain can also cause epilepsy. Epileptic seizures are diagnosed using imaging techniques like EEG and MRI. Regular medications can help keep seizures in control for about 70% of children. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the damaged part of the brain to achieve better seizure control.
Cerebral palsy is a group of neurological disorders that causes motor and movement disability in children. The main cause of cerebral palsy is brain damage that occurs in a developing fetus or during birth. Cerebral palsy can be of 3 types – spastic, dyskinetic and ataxic. Most cases of cerebral palsy are associated with other conditions, epilepsy being the most common. Common signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy include delayed development of movement milestones, stiff and spastic muscles, uncontrolled muscle movement, twitching, poor posture and difficulty in swallowing or talking. There is no cure for cerebral palsy but early therapies and treatments can reduce symptoms and disabilities and improve mobility.
Autism is a condition that causes problems with behaviour and communication. It affects learning skills in children, but they are good in creative fields where not much communication is required. Symptoms of autism include lack of eye contact, disinterest in most subjects, repetitive actions, social isolation and heightened sensitivity to sounds and touch. There is no cure for autism but early intervention can make a difference in the growth of the child. Behavioral and communication therapy play a major role in treatment along with medications.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. These children have difficulty in paying attention, are impulsive, fidgety and careless and have difficulty getting along with others. Symptoms of ADHD persist even when the child grows up and cause problems in school and with friends. Behavioral therapy, including parent training is the first line of treatment for ADHD.
Paediatric neurology requires a multidisciplinary team that can provide comprehensive care to the patient. The Centre for Neurosciences at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore is headed by the best paediatric neurologist who is supported by a team of top paediatric doctors including Neurosurgeon, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Child Psychologist and Child Counsellors.