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What Are the Different Types of Pediatric Neurology?

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  • Written By: B. Chisholm
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2018
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Pediatric neurology is the medical specialty which deals with any disorder of the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles, in children. Doctors may specialize into specific types, or areas of pediatric neurology. Pediatric neurologists diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions, including seizure disorders such as epilepsy, movement disorders such as cerebral palsy and behavioral problems such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

When studying pediatric neurology, a doctor will complete their initial medical degree at medical school, then specialize in pediatrics for one to two years. After they have qualified as a pediatrician they will complete a residency in pediatric neurology which may take three or more years. They may then choose to specialize even further into a specific type of pediatric neurology, depending on their area of interest and expertise.

Once a pediatric neurologist has qualified, they may choose to practice a specific type of pediatric neurology. One of these is neurosurgery, which is the practice of surgery on the brain and is highly specialized. Another type is specific to behavioral disorders such as children with autism, pervasive developmental disorders and ADD.

Movement disorders, also treated by pediatric neurologists, include cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy and may be genetic. Pediatric neurologists diagnose and treat headaches and migraines; developmental disorders, for example when children have delayed speech or don’t reach their expected growth milestones; and mental retardation and seizure disorders.

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Another type of pediatric neurology is the specialty in trauma. These doctors deal with head trauma, such as head injuries. They will work both at the acute stage, in the emergency room, and long-term, following up the patient. Children with brain tumors will be treated under the supervision of a pediatric neurologist and may need a pediatric neurosurgeon, depending on the type of tumor.

Any child experiencing problems with the central nervous system may be referred to a pediatric neurologist. The effects of disorders of the central nervous system may include headache, dizziness or lack of coordination and behavioral or social problems, amongst other, less specific symptoms. Urgent referral is required for any child experiencing these symptoms for a prolonged period.

The treatment strategy for these children is often multi-faceted and may include a number of health care professionals including psychologists, physiotherapists, nutritional therapists and occupational therapists. Physical, psychological and drug treatment may be needed, or a combination of these. Treatment will depend entirely on the disorder diagnosed.

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