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:
Please see Congenital Abnormalities of the Central Nervous System (CNS) for further information.
Anencephaly is a birth defect that affects the developing brain and skull bones of newborn babies.
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. Majority of these cysts are discovered incidentally and do not merit surgical intervention but rarely may cause headaches or progressive enlargement of the head.
When a tear occurs in the lining of one of the body’s arteries, this is known as an arterial dissection.
Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood, oxygen and nutrients to all tissues of the body. 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 (benign or cancerous), that develops in the cells that form the supportive tissue of the brain.
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.
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.
Auditory neuropathy is a hearing disorder in which sound enters the inner ear normally but the transmission of signals from the inner ear to the brain is impaired.
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.
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.
Dwarfism 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.
The brachial plexus is a network of peripheral nerves that originate in the neck region and branch off to various muscles of the arm to control movement and sensation in the shoulders, arm, forearm and hand. Injuries to the brachial plexus are most commonly seen in newborns during the process of child-birth. Other causes may include motor vehicle accidents or tumors that may affect the nerves.
Subdural empyema and brain abscess are serious infections of the brain where pus accumulates inside or around the brain, often as a consequence of sinusitis, ear infections, dental caries or even urine infections. These can result in severe headaches, drowsiness or seizures. An urgent intervention is often necessary. Hence a consultation or visit to the emergency room is recommended.
The brain and its coverings can become infected by a wide variety of infections which include bacteria, viruses and uncommonly parasites and fungi.
Traumatic brain injury or Primary injury to the brain occurs after a direct blow to the head which results in a diminished function of the brain.
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 venous thrombosis is an increasingly recognized cause of stroke in a newborn baby, or children, about 40% of childhood CSVT’s.
Please see Syringomyelia for further information.
The choroid plexus is the tissue that lies in the cavities of the brain (called ventricles and there are four of them) that creates the fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) which surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord.
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 CNS are birth defects of the physical structure of the brain or spinal cord that occur during fetal intrauterine growth.
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 deformities of the spine are usually identified at birth. Many are minor bony abnormalities that cause no problem and are only found during X-rays done for other reasons.
Craniofacial is a broad medical term that describes abnormalities of the bones of the skull and face.
A craniopharyngioma is a non-cancerous brain tumor that develops from cells present during early brain development, and in childhood frequently presents between the ages of 5-14 years.
Craniostenosis is characterized by premature closure of one of the sutures during early childhood. Children with craniostenosis have abnormalities of the shape of the head. In addition many children may have abnormalities of the face, fingers, difficulty in breathing, swallowing and dentition. These patients may also be seen in a multidisciplinary Craniofacial Clinic.
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.
The myelin sheath is a protective fatty material that wraps, protects and insulates the nerve fibers of the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.
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.
Glial tissue are cells of the brain that protects and supports the neurons. Tumors that start in the glial tissue at the base of the brain in the brainstem area (which controls breathing, heart rate and blood pressure plus other functions) called the Pons, just above the back of the neck, are called diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas.
Please see Spinal Cord Injury for further information.
Please see Bone Dysplasia for further information.
Eastern equine encephalitis is a rare but serious viral infection that causes inflammation in the brain, or encephalitis.
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.
Childhood epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes an infant or a child to have repeated seizures over time. Some children may have difficulty in controlling the seizures in spite of being on multiple medications. These patients may be candidates for epilepsy surgery. All these patients should be evaluated in the multidisciplinary Epilepsy Clinic. After a thorough evaluation a surgical plan is formulated. The various surgeries include removal of involved brain or its destruction using a laser technology (Visualase®).
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.
In order to make facial expressions, (e.g. smiling or closing one's eyes) the brain sends a signal to the muscles of our face through the 7th cranial nerve called the facial nerve.
Please see Facial motion disorders for further information.
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)
Genetic diseases are conditions that occur due to a mutation in a gene ( a unit of hereditary ) in your body’s cells.
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.
Astrocytes are star-shaped cells that are part of a glial network of supportive and nourishing tissue within the brain. One rare form of malignant tumor that grows and infiltrates aggressively from these cells and which spreads over the top and throughout the brain is known as gliomatosis cerebri.
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 refer to injuries or accidents that affect an individual’s brain and/or spinal cord. Concussion of the brain is a common occurrence in children especially while playing contact sports. This can be very disabling. Such children may be seen in the Concussion Clinic. Other traumatic brain injuries include intracranial blood clots, diffuse brain injury and fractures. These patients are best managed in a center capable of taking care of sick children and may be need to be admitted to the intensive care unit. Spinal injuries are also common and their treatment will need intensive management in the ICU and surgical stabilization in some cases.
Any type of pain in the head, neck, and face can be classified as a headache.
Hemorrhage means bleeding. Bleeding into the brain 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. This excess of cerebrospinal fluid accumulation causes the fluid spaces of the brain to enlarge causing pressure on the surrounding brain. The causes of hydrocephalus may be congenital, following a bleed into the brain (intraventricular hemorrhage), infections, malformations of the brain or even brain tumors in certain locations of the brain. The treatment options include endoscopic third ventriculostomy, cauterization of the choroid plexus, shunt placement.
Hyperhidrosis is the medical term for excessive sweating.
Inflammation is the process that the body uses to respond to an infection or irritating process.
Please see Hemorrhagic Stroke for further information.
“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.
When a child has a head circumference that is larger than normal (for the infant's gestational age, age, sex and race), 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. The head circumference stabilizes at 18-24 months. Other serious causes of a large head should be excluded.
Please see Myelomeningocele for further information.
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.
Muscular dystrophy describes a broad group of many ( there are 9 major types ), chronic, progressive illnesses that cause the muscles of the body to become increasingly weak and less flexible over time.
A myelomeningocele is a bulge or sac of the fluid that surround the spinal cord.
Please see Muscular Dystrophy for further information.
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. In some children there is an open defect at birth which needs to be repaired within 24 hours while others may have a skin covered swelling which can be repaired more electively.
Neurofibromatosis is a medical term that refers to a group of three unique but related disorders of the nervous system.
Neurogenetic and neurometabolic abnormalities are disorders that affect how the brain ( and/or other organs) function.
Please see Brachial Plexus injuries for further information.
It is a condition characterized by a flattening of the skull on one side or on the back of the head.
Pseudotumor cerebri is a condition characterized by headaches and visual disturbances without an underlying brain tumor. While it is most commonly seen in young adults, it may be seen in children also. The causes may include obesity, certain drugs amongst others. The treatment options include weight loss, medications and in some instances, optic nerve decompression or CSF diversion.
Whenever the skull bone breaks, regardless of the severity, nature, or extent of the breakage, it is known as a skull fracture.
Spasticity is one form of movement disorder, that presents as increased tone or stiffness of the muscles that causes an inability to produce and control bodily movements.
Any abnormality of a child’s ability to speak clearly and normally can be classified as a speech disorder.
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.
If a tumor grows within (~ 10%), in the tissues around, or spreads from a different site to the spinal cord region, it is known as a spinal cord tumor.
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 tethered cord is held fixed or held taught by a band (usually at the end of the cord) in the spinal canal.
Tuberous sclerosis is a rare genetic disease, often diagnosed during infancy or childhood, that causes benign tumors to grow in many parts of the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and skin.
Vascular malformations are congenital lesions of the central nervous system, resulting from abnormal development of arteries and veins.