When a child’s doctor recommends that the child sees a pediatric neurologist, it is because they suspect a disorder of the nervous system. Specializing in all types of nervous system disorders, some of the more typical neurological disorders and diseases we diagnosis and treat are:
Attention deficit, learning and processing disorders
If a child is suspected of having a neurologic disorder, the doctor will perform a physical exam and take a detailed medical history. In addition, a number of tests may be ordered. These can include:
An EEG is a test that measures and records the electrical activity in the brain.
Electromyography (EMG) is a diagnostic test to evaluate the health of muscles and the nerve cells that control them. Motor neurons transmit electrical signals that cause muscles to contract. An EMG uses tiny devices called electrodes to transmit or detect electrical signals. These are then interpreted by a specialist. EMGs can include placing a needle electrode into a specific muscle to measure its electrical activity, and a nerve conduction study, which is using electrodes taped to the skin to measure the speed and strength of signals traveling between two or more points.
Multiple Sleep Latency Testing
The multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) tests for excessive daytime sleepiness by measuring how quickly a patient falls asleep in a quiet place during the day. It is the standard tool used to diagnose narcolepsy and idiopathic hypersomnia.
Nerve conduction study
A nerve conduction study measures how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals.
Sleep Studies (Polysomnogram)
Sleep studies, called polysomnograms, are used to diagnose sleep disorders. The test records a patient's brain waves, blood oxygen levels, heart rate and breathing, as well as eye and leg movements.
Video EEG Telemetry
A Video EEG test records brainwaves on an EEG and takes a video of what is going on at the same time. The purpose is to be able to see what is happening when a patient has a seizure or event and then compare the picture to what the EEG records at the same time.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
CT scans use x-ray equipment and computer processing to produce 2-dimensional images of the body. The patient lies on a table and passes through a machine that looks like a large, squared-off donut. Doctors order CT scans when they want to see a two-dimensional image of the body to look for tumors and examine lymph nodes and bone abnormalities. If contrast dye is used to improve the computer image, the patient may need to avoid eating or drinking for 4 to 6 hours before the test. Patients should tell their provider before the test if they have any allergies or kidney problems.
Computed tomography angiography (also called CT angiography or CTA) is used to visualize arterial and venous vessels in the body. These include arteries in brain and those that bring blood to the lungs, kidneys, arms and legs.
A head ultrasound is a safe and painless test that uses sound waves to make images of the brain tissue.
A fetal ultrasound is a test done during pregnancy that uses sound waves to produce a picture of a fetus.
An MRI is a non-invasive diagnostic imaging that doesn't use ionizing radiation. It is painless and a harmless way of looking inside the body without using X-rays. Instead it uses a large magnet and computer to scan the body. This provides the doctor with information not available from other scans.
MRA and MRV
MRA (Magnetic Resonance Angiography) or MRV (Magnetic Resonance Venography) is an MRI study of the blood vessels that is like and MRI and is noninvasive and painless. The test helps doctors diagnose medical conditions in the blood vessels.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan
A PET scan is used to detect cellular reactions to sugar. Abnormal cells tend to react and "light up" on the scan, thus helping physicians diagnose a variety of conditions. For the PET scan, a harmless chemical, called a radiotracer, is injected into your blood stream. Once it has had time to move through your body, you will lie on a table while a scanner follows the radiotracer and sends three-dimensional images to a computer screen. Patients are generally asked to wear comfortable clothing and refrain from eating for 4 hours before the scan. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Patients with diabetes should discuss diet guidelines with their physician for the hours leading up to the scan.
A SPECT scan is a nuclear imaging test that uses a radioactive substance and a special camera to create 3-D pictures and examine how a patient’s organs are working.
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