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Pediatric Neurology

Pediatric neurologists treat children suffering from illness or injury to the nervous system. Pediatric neurologists at MaineHealth are highly trained in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological conditions in children.

What is pediatric neurology?

A pediatric neurologist specializes in the diagnosis and management of neurologic conditions in children of all ages, from newborns to teenagers.

Neurological conditions can be a result of illness or injury. Pediatric neurologists often diagnose, treat, and manage the following conditions:

  • Epilepsy and other seizure disorders
  • Pediatric sleep disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Pediatric migraine/headaches
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Motor and speech/developmental delays
  • Mental retardation/genetic disorders
  • Neurogenetic and neurometabolic disorders
  • Neuroimmunologic disorders including multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Neuromuscular disease including myopathy, muscular dystrophy, peripheral neuropathies, and myasthenia gravis
  • Movement disorders and Tourette’s syndrome
  • Scoliosis
  • Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
  • Vein of Galen malformation (VGM)
  • Chiari malformation
  • Moyamoya disease
  • Malignant and non-malignant brain tumors
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Spina bifida
  • Trauma

Pediatric neurology diagnosis

A doctor will diagnose a neurological condition using one or more tests. Some diagnostic testing for neurological conditions in children includes:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Bi-plane cerebral angiography, and nuclear medicine investigation
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy to assess the metabolic status of a tumor, helping to differentiate between tumor recurrence and tissue necrosis
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) to record the brain's electrical activity
  • Electromyography (EMG) to help find the cause of muscle weaknesses and help diagnose neuromuscular disorders
  • Nerve Conduction Velocity (NCV) test to measure the speed at which sensory and motor nerves transmit signals
  • Electronystagmography (ENG) to look at voluntary and involuntary eye movements
  • 72-hour Ambulatory EEG to help distinguish epileptic seizures from non-epileptic seizures
  • Video/EEG Monitoring, the "gold standard" in the diagnosis of seizures
  • Neuropsychological testing
  • PSG (polysomnogram) test to help diagnose pediatric sleep disorders

Pediatric neurology treatment

Pediatric neurology treatment depends on the type and severity of the neurological illness or injury. Some treatment options for children with neurological conditions include:

  • Intrathecal baclofen pump (IBP) management to help decrease spasticity related to multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and other neurological diseases
  • Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS)
  • Botulinum toxin (Botox) therapy for conditions such as spasticity and dystonia
  • Innovative medical and alternative therapies
  • Surgical treatment options

Most often, parents can find the care and treatment for their children close to home and in their communities, at their doctor's office or local hospital. In addition, the MaineHealth system connects patients and their families to the most advanced network of care in northern New England. For more complex cases, the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center treats children affected by neurological illness or injury with an exceptional range of diagnostic and treatment expertise. Maine Medical Partners-Neurology offers a pediatric and young adult neurological practice, giving young patients access to the most advanced treatment for neurological disorders.