Pediatric Neurological Conditions we Treat
Nicklaus Children's Brain Institute provides state-of-the-art medical and surgical care for a full spectrum of pediatric neurological disorders. We have a comprehensive range of specialists, programs and clinics covering the following conditions:
Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis
Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis is a brain disorder that occurs more often in children than adults. It involves an inflammatory response in the brain causing alteration of mental state and other neurologic symptoms.
Acute Transverse Myelitis
Myelitis is a medical term that refers to the spinal cord when it becomes inflamed. When the inflammation spreads across a larger segment of the spinal cord quickly, it’s known as acute transverse myelitis.
Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome
Amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome is a condition that causes normal pain sensation to be stronger and more intense than usual. It occurs due to problems related to the brain and spinal cord and often occurs in children.
Anencephaly is a birth defect that affects the developing brain and skull bones of newborn babies.
An aneurysm is a bulging weak spot in the wall of an artery and frequently occurs where arteries branch (usually in the brain, but can occur in other blood vessels, such as the aorta and peripheral blood vessels).
Arachnoid cysts are fluid filled sacs or cavities that appear on the arachnoid membrane and can present in many locations on the brain and/or spinal cord.
When a tear occurs in the lining of one of the body’s arteries, this is known as an arterial dissection.
Arterial Ischemic Stroke
An ischemic stroke occurs when an artery supplying the brain is damaged, ruptures or is blocked, causing the flow of blood to be interrupted from reaching the brain. Strokes can occur at all ages.
An Astrocytoma is a form of brain tumor that develops in the cells that form the supportive tissue of the brain.
Attention Deficit and Learning Disorders (ADHD)
Attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity (ADHD) is the most common behavioral disorder of childhood, affecting 3 to 7 percent of school-age children.
Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor
An atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor, is a fairly rare aggressive tumor usually diagnosed in young children that forms in the tissues of the Central Nervous System.
Autism refers to a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that makes it difficult for a child to interact socially, communicate verbally and non-verbally and connect with people.
Becker's Muscular Dystrophy
Becker's muscular dystrophy is a disorder that causes the muscles of the pelvis and legs to get gradually weaker over time. This can lead to a number of complications as the disease progresses.
Bell’s palsy is a sudden unexplained episode of weakness or paralysis of part of the face muscles, usually on one side, that can occur at any age.
Bone Dysplasia (Dwarfism)
Dwarfism (also known as achondroplasia) is a type of short stature. There are hundreds of different medical conditions that can affect ultimate size and/or the growth of an infant.
Please see Brachial Plexus Injuries for further information.
Brain Abscess/Subdural Empyema
Subdural empyema and brain abscess are serious infections of the brain where pus accumulates inside or around the brain. An urgent intervention is often necessary.
The brain and its coverings can become infected by a wide variety of infections which include bacteria, viruses and uncommonly parasites and fungi.
The term brain tumor refers to an unusual growth of tissue seen in the brain irrespective of the nature and cause of the growth.
Cavernous malformations are frequently small clusters of blood vessels that form abnormally.
CDKL5 (Cyclin-Dependent Kinase-Like 5) is a gene located on the X-chromosome. The CDKL5 gene is required to function normally for a normal brain to develop.
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a neurological disorder, often as a consequence of events in the early years of life, which affect the neurological function at various levels. Children may have difficulty in moving in a coordinated manner, learning and behavioral problems or seizures.
Cerebral Palsy from Birth-Related Complications
Cerebral palsy is a condition that impacts the muscles, posture and movement. People with the disorder often have trouble moving or walking due to the limitations created by this condition. In many cases, complications that occur at birth can lead to cerebral palsy.
Cerebral Venous Thrombosis (CSVT)
Cerebral venous thrombosis is an increasingly recognized cause of stroke in a newborn baby, or children, about 40% of childhood CSVT’s.
The commonest types of Stroke in children are when the blood flow to the brain is interrupted due to a blood vessel rupturing or a blockage occurs
Of the inherited nerve disorders, Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome is one of the most common. It impacts the peripheral nerves, which are the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. It impacts 1 in every 2,500 people in the US and is named for the three doctors who discovered the disorder.
Please see Syringomyelia for further information.
Choroid Plexus Brain Tumor
In children, tumors of the choroid plexus are rare, overwhelmingly benign papillomas Grade 1 that generally occur in young infants.
Chromosome 22q11.2 Deletion
Chromosome 22q11.2 deletion is a disorder that occurs when a small part of chromosome 22 is missing at birth. It leads to a wide variety of complications in children born with the disorder.
CLOVES syndrome is a very rare congenital disorder that is characterized by the presence of several problems together.
Concussion is the temporary abnormality in the way the brain works that occurs after a traumatic jolting of the brain following a blow, bump or shaking of the head (injury).
Congenital abnormalities of the Central Nervous System (CNS)
Congenital abnormalities of the CNS are birth defects of the physical structure of the brain or spinal cord that occur during fetal intrauterine growth.
Congenital Heart Defects/Disease
Any unusual physical feature or health problem that is present at the birth of a baby is known as a birth defect or a congenital anomaly.
Congenital Muscular Dystrophy
Congenital muscular dystrophy refers to a group of muscular dystrophies that are present at birth or shortly afterward. They involve muscle weakness, joint stiffness and other symptoms that impact a child’s ability to move, breathe and even learn.
Myopathies are diseases that impact the muscles. A congenital myopathy is a muscle disease that is present at birth. They can take on many forms, but almost all of them include lack of muscle tone or muscle weakness.
Cortical Visual Impairment
Temporary or permanent vision problems that occur because of injury or damage to the brain areas responsible for vision (as opposed to problems with the eyes) is known as cortical visual impairment.
Craniofacial is a broad medical term that describes abnormalities of the bones of the skull and face.
When a baby has craniosynostosis, one or more of the bones of the skull are joined together by bone prematurely. This leads to problems depending on which, and how many sutures may have closed early.
Cubital Tunnel Syndrome
The ulnar nerve is a mixed (sensory and motor) nerve that runs along the inner part of the elbow. If it gets compressed, the result can be cubital tunnel syndrome, which causes a number of symptoms in the arm and hand.
Cushing's Syndrome (Hypercortisolism)
Cushing syndrome is a relatively rare hormone problem in children (it usually occurs in the 25-40 year age group) associated with too much of the “stress hormone” cortisol (which helps your child's body respond to illness or injury) being present.
Deformational plagiocephaly refers to a defect in which the head is misshapen and often flat in one area due to pressure put on that area of the head.
Any disease that causes damage to the myelin sheath that slows or stops nerve signals is called a demyelinating disease.
Whenever a child fails to reach a set of developmental milestone for physical/motor, in language and communication, social, or behavioral function, and/or cognitive ability at their expected time, it's known as developmental delay.
Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG)
Tumors that start in the glial tissue at the base of the brain in the brainstem area called the Pons, just above the back of the neck, are called diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas.
Please see Spinal Cord Injury for further information.
Dyslexia is a learning disability that’s characterized by a variety of difficulties related to reading, speech or understanding speech or the written word. Children with the disorder often have challenges related to school or learning.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare but serious viral infection that causes inflammation in the brain, or encephalitis.
Embryonal Brain Tumors
Embryonic cells are a type of brain cell that remains in the brain after birth and while embryonic tumors can occur at any age they most often happen in babies and young children.
Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy
Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy is a form of muscular dystrophy that causes problems with the skeletal muscles and the heart. The joints most commonly impacted by this form of muscular dystrophy include the elbows, ankles and neck. Almost all adults with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy develop heart problems.
Encephalitis is a rare inflammation of the brain, which has a number of causes.
An encephalocele is a rare disorder where the bones of a fetus's skull do not close all the way resulting in a space through which the tissues surrounding the brain and brain tissue itself bulges.
Ependymal cells form the lining of the ventricles in the brain and the central canal of the spinal cord. Tumors that develop from these cells, are called ependymomas.
Childhood epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes an infant or a child to have repeated seizures over time. Seizures, also known as convulsions, are episodes in which brain activity is disturbed, causing changes in attention or behavior.
Erb's palsy is a form of brachial nerve palsy that occurs in newborn babies which is characterized by weakness, loss of feeling and difficulty moving the affected arm.
Facial Motion Disorders
A fairly large number of different conditions affect facial muscle movement which may be absent, weak or abnormal facial motility.
Facial Nerve Paralysis
Please see Facial Motion Disorders for further information.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Fetal Alcohol spectrum are a group of birth defects that occur when a woman drinks alcohol while pregnant.
Fibrous dysplasia is an uncommon bone disease frequently affecting one bone (the skull or long bones of the arms and legs)
Ataxia is a medical term for the loss of coordination and balance. Friedreich’s ataxia is a common form of ataxia that also impacts the nervous system and heart.
Glioblastoma multiforme are high-grade 1V, aggressively growing, cancerous glial tumors which infiltrate into healthy adjacent brain tissue, frequently occurring in both boys and girls aged 5-10 years.
Glioma is a form of cancer that develops from glial cells of the brain - those cells which support and nourish the neurons.
A rare form of malignant tumor that grows and infiltrates astrocyte cells and which spreads over the top and throughout the brain.
Glucose Transporter Type 1 Deficiency
Glucose transporter type 1 is a rare genetic disorder where the protein that is necessary to carry glucose from the bloodstream into the brain is lacking.
When the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks the nerves of the body, usually following a gastrointestinal or respiratory tract infection, the group of diseases that result is known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.
A Hamartoma is a benign, or noncancerous tumor. It is a mixture of normal tissues/cells that grow abnormally in the place where the tissue/cells normally are found.
Head and Spine Trauma
Head and spine trauma refer to injuries or accidents that affect an individual’s brain and/or spinal cord.
Bleeding into the brain (also known as an intracerebral hemorrhage) occurs after either a clot forms in a vessel carrying blood to it or a brain blood vessel breaks because of an abnormality or disease of the blood vessel.
Hereditary neuropathy is a medical term that refers to a group of different inherited medical conditions that cause progressive loss of function (and sensation) from abnormally working nerves that carry signals from the spinal cord to muscles.
Hydrocephalus is primarily an excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain. There are many cause of hydrocephalus, which can be congenital or acquired in nature. In some children, the cause remains unknown.
Inflammatory Brain or Spine Disease
Inflammations of the brain and spinal cord are usually caused by infections from bacteria, viruses or other germs. Others may be caused by genetic abnormalities.
Myopathies are diseases that impact the muscles. An inflammatory myopathy is a disease that is chronic and involves inflammation, muscle weakness and sometimes muscle pain. The four main types are polymyositis, dermatomyositis, inclusion body myositis and necrotizing autoimmune myopathy.
“Ischemia” is the lack of blood supply to an organ resulting in not enough oxygen being delivered to meet the needs of the organ to function normally. When this happens to the blood supply of the brain it's called an “ischemic stroke”.
Landau-Kleffner syndrome is a rare neurological disorder that causes sudden or gradual development of language difficulties and, in some cases recurrent seizures in children, starting between the ages of 2 and 8 years.
Learning Disorders and Disabilities
Learning disabilities and disorders are brain based processing difficulties which interfere with learning skills like reading, writing and doing mathematics. Children with learning disorders usually have normal intellectual ability.
Leukodystrophy refers to a group of rare progressive diseases that affect the white matter of the brain (myelin), causing a slowing or blockage in brain signals.
When a child has a head circumference that is larger than normal the medical term is macrocephaly. Most often these children may have an accelerated growth in the first few months after delivery and often have a family history of macrocephaly.
Gliomas are tumors formed from cells (glial cells) that hold the nerve cells in the brain in place, protect them and provide them with food and oxygen. Gliomas are divided into four grades of severity (1-1V) depending on the tumor cells’ appearance. The higher the grade the more severe the glioma.
Of cancerous brain tumors that can affect children, medulloblastoma is the most common. They represent about 20 percent if childhood brain tumors, particularly in children between the ages of 3 and 8 years, with boys affected more than girls.
Please see Myelomeningocele for further information.
When a newborn baby or an infant's head is found to be much smaller than normal for its age, the condition is known as microcephaly.
Migraines are a type of intense headache. They can last from hours to days and be so severe that it causes disabling symptoms. About 5% of children experience migraine headaches by the age of 15.
Please see Spasticity and Movement Disorders for further information.
Moyamoya disease is a rare disease, frequently seen in children, that causes the blood vessels in the brain to narrow. There are many causes for this disease and treatment is tailored according to the severity of the disease.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS), is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system, attacks and inflames the central nervous system and organs.
Muscular Dystrophy (MD)
Muscular dystrophy describes a broad group of many, chronic, progressive illnesses that cause the muscles of the body to become increasingly weak and less flexible over time.
Myasthenia Gravis (MG)
MG in a rare chronic autoimmune disease in children of all ages, it is characterized by muscle weakness of varying degree in many different areas of the body, it commonly affects the eyes, mouth, throat, arms and legs.
A myelomeningocele is a bulge or sac of the fluid that surround the spinal cord. Spina bifida refers to the specific gap in the bony spinal column that protects the spinal cord.
Please see Muscular Dystrophy for further information.
Nerves are the system of fibers that carry signals from the brain to the rest of the body. When an injury or damage occurs to one or many nerves, these are known as nerve injuries.
Nervous System Disorders
Any condition that adversely affects the function of any part of the nervous system is called a nervous system disorder.
Neural Tube Defects
A neural tube defect is a birth defect that occurs very early in the development of a fetus, often during the first month of pregnancy, where the brain, spinal cord and spinal column do not develop normally.
Neurocutaneous syndromes is a broad term for a group of rare neurological lifelong disorders that cause tumors to grow inside the spinal cord, brain, skin, skeletal bones and other organs.
Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a medical term that refers to a group of three unique but related disorders of the nervous system: NF1, NF2 and schwannomatosis.
Neurofibrosarcoma is a rare type of malignant cancer in children that develops in the cells of the sheath of the arms and legs, spreading along the nerves.
Neurogenetic and neurometabolic abnormalities are disorders that affect how the brain ( and/or other organs) function.
When the curvature is caused by problems related to the spinal cord, the brain or the muscles of the body, it can be classified as neuromuscular scoliosis.
Neuromyelitis optica is a rare and severe disease of the central nervous system that primarily affects the eye nerves and spinal cord.
Neuronal and Mixed Neuronal-Glial Tumors
The brain and spinal cord contain many neurons and supporting cells. Neuronal and mixed neuronal-glial tumors are a rare group of tumors made up of cells of both types, which vary in degree of aggressiveness.
Neuropsychiatric disorder is a blanket medical term that encompasses a broad range of medical conditions that involve both neurology and psychiatry.
Peripheral Nerve Injuries
Please see Brachial Plexus Injuries for further information.
The peripheral nerves are the vast network of nerves that transmits messages from the central nervous system to the rest of the body. When these nerves don’t function normally it is known as a peripheral neuropathy.
Periventricular leukomalacia is a brain disorder occurring in prematurely born babies which is characterized by brain damage with softening and death of the inner part of the brain.
Pfeiffer syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by early fusion of the bones of the skull. This leads to abnormalities of the head and face in children.
An astrocytoma is a type of brain tumor glioma, and pilocytic astrocytomas are a family of slow-growing, mostly noncancerous tumors from glial cells.
Neuropathy refers to damage that occurs to the nerves. When this damage occurs to nerves of the peripheral nervous system, or those outside of the brain and spinal cord, it is known as polyneuropathy. It can be either acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting).
Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors (PNET)
Primitive neuroectodermal tumors are a group of cancers that start in nerve cells formed in the fetus during early development that haven't developed the way they should have.
Pseudotumor cerebri is a condition characterized by headaches and visual disturbances without an underlying brain tumor.
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a general pain disorder that can affect various regions of the body. It is poorly understood but seems to stem from the autonomic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that handles involuntary functions like heart rate and blood pressure.
Rett syndrome is a genetic condition that impacts the development of the brain. The primary result is that the muscles that control speech, body movements and the eyes don’t work as well as they should. Girls are the primary victims of the disorder.
A seizure is a sudden abnormal burst of electrical activity in one or more parts of the brain that interrupt the normal brain signals and result in a wide variety of symptoms such as loss of conciousness and uncontrollable muscle spasms.
Whenever the skull bone breaks, regardless of the severity, nature, or extent of the breakage, it is known as a skull fracture.
Two out of three children under the age of 10 years have some type of sleep problem. Sleep problems can be divided into two broad groups: dyssomnias and parasomnias.
Sleepwalking is a condition in which a child gets out of bed and walks around while sleeping.
Spasticity and Contractures
Spasticity and contractures are conditions in which muscle imbalance across a joint leads to abnormal positioning and tightness. Spasticity refers to involuntary tightening or stiffening of muscles. The term contracture refers to abnormal positioning of a joint.
Any abnormality of a child’s ability to speak clearly and normally can be classified as a speech disorder.
Please see Myelomeningocele for further information.
Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is a group of nerves that run down the back of a person that carries messages from the brain to the rest of the body. Acute spinal cord injury in children is fairly uncommon, frequently occurs in adolescents/ young adults and are often male.
Stroke disorders and hypercoagulation disorders
A stroke is brain damage caused by either not enough blood reaching the brain due to blockage of or bleeding from blood vessels or from one or more of the large veins being blocked in the brain.
Syringomyelia is a rare chronic condition where fluid accumulates (syrinx) within the spinal cord. The most common cause of syringomyelia is Chiari malformation. Other conditions that may cause syringomyelia include spinal cord tumors, tethered spinal cord or shunt malfunction.
A tectal glioma is a slow growing, generally benign, brain tumor in children 3-16 years of age.
Tethered Spinal Cord
A birth defect where a spinal cord is held fixed or held taught by a band, this causes the spinal cord to stretch as the child grows
TM is a rare inflammatory disease of the spinal cord (frequently the middle or thoracic part of the cord) that damages the protective covering (myelin) of the nerves ( both for movement and sensation) that transmit information between the brain and the rest of the body.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
TBI is an injury to the brain from direct or indirect physical force to the head and/or brain.
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
Tuberous sclerosis is a rare genetic disease, often diagnosed during infancy or childhood, that causes non-cancerous tumors to grow in many parts of the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and skin.
A vascular malformation is an abnormality where clusters of blood vessels develop during fetal development.
Venous Sinus Disease
The venous sinuses are spaces or openings between different layers of the brain that drain blood from the brain. When problems such as blood clots or other issues occur in the venous sinuses, it is known as venous sinus disease.
Ventriculomegaly is a congenital condition in which the ventricles of a fetus/baby are abnormally large.
If the brain becomes infected and inflamed, this condition is often known as encephalitis. In most cases it causes flu-like symptoms and is fairly mild, but it can become life-threatening in rare instances.
Von Hippel-Lindau Disease
Von Hippel-Lindau disease is a rare inherited disorder that causes non cancerous cysts and tumors and/or cancerous tumors to grow in various organs of the body.
Williams syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that causes short stature, developmental delay, unique facial features and growth delays, among many other symptoms including heart problems.