Pediatric neurology or child neurology refers to a specialized branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and management of neurological conditions in neonates (newborns), infants, children and adolescents. The discipline of child neurology encompasses diseases and disorders of the spinal cord, brain, peripheral nervous system, autonomic nervous system, muscles and blood vessels that affect individuals in these age groups.
If a child has problems that involve the nervous system, a pediatric neurologist has the specialist training and knowledge to assess, diagnose and treat the child. The conditions dealt with by pediatric neurologists vary considerably, from relatively simple disorders such as migraine or cerebral palsy through to more complex and rare conditions such as metabolic disease or neurodegenerative disorders.
Examples of the types of conditions encountered by specialists in this field include:
- Ataxia telangiectasia
- Cerebral palsy
- Cerebrovascular disorders
- Charcot-Marie-Tooth disorder
- Epilepsy and seizures including ketogenic diet therapy
- Motor stereotypies
- Movement disorders including Tourette disorders
- Muscular dystrophy
- Spina bifida
- Spinal muscle atrophy (SMA)
- Stroke (pediatric)
Paediatric neurologists act as consultants to primary care physicians, who may refer children to the neurologists for specialist care. For children with long-term neurological ailments, the paediatric neurologist provides regular care and consultation.