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: 

Diagnosing Neurologic Conditions

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:

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Specialty Clinics

Autism Program

The Autism Program assists and empowers individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and related disabilities through direct patient care and support, provider education, and community-based outreach. This unique Program fills a critical gap in existing community and hospital-based resources for families of children with autism because few programs are available in Boston for families with limited English proficiency.

Cerebral Palsy

Dr. Karl Kuban has special expertise in motor impairments, particularly those associated with cerebral palsy. Dr. Kuban received formal training as a cerebral palsy fellow at Children's Hospital Boston, and has more than 30 years experience caring for patients with this disorder.

Developmental Delay

A child's development is delayed if he or she is lagging behind other children of the same age in one or more of the following areas: speech and language, motor skills, intelligence, attention span, learning in school, behavior and emotional control, and social skills.

Epilepsy

Seizures are caused by excessive electrical activity in the brain, although the cause is not always known.

The Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Trauma Program

Pediatric head injuries are a major cause of childhood morbidity in the United States, with boys twice as likely to be injured as girls. Here we see sports and non-sports-related injuries.  In a substantial minority of such cases, there is a concomitant injury to the spinal cord.

Pediatric Movement Disorders

Movement disorders in children can mean that they are moving too much or too little in a way that interferes with the normal flow of movements and postures.

Concussion Clinic for Children

Time is critical following any type of head trauma. BMC's open-access Concussion Clinic for Children located in the Shapiro Center allows patients to be seen quickly by concussion specialists.

Programs and Services

Pediatrics - Special Kids Special Help

This web site was created to serve as a resource for families of children with neurological or developmental disorders, including epilepsy, autism, and developmental delay. Authored by the experts in the Divisions of Child Neurology and Developmental Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center (BMC)—professionals with special expertise in caring for children with neurodevelopmental problems—this site is meant to guide parents through their child’s development, diagnosis, and treatment.

Conditions We Treat

Treatments & Services

Special Kids Special Help

This web site was created to serve as a resource for families of children with neurological or developmental disorders, including epilepsy, autism, and developmental delay.

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Diagnostics and Tests

Electroencephalogram (EEG)

An EEG is a test that measures and records the electrical activity in the brain.

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EMG (Electromyogram)

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.

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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.

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Nerve conduction study

A nerve conduction study measures how well and how fast the nerves can send electrical signals.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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CT Angiogram

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.

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Head Ultrasound

A head ultrasound is a safe and painless test that uses sound waves to make images of the brain tissue.

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Fetal Ultrasound

A fetal ultrasound is a test done during pregnancy that uses sound waves to produce a picture of a fetus.

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MRI Scan

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.

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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.

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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.

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SPECT 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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Our Team

Pediatric Neurologists

Laurie M Douglass, MD

Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine
Division Chief, Pediatric Neurology
Director of Pediatric Epilepsy and EEG

Special Interests

Pediatric Epilepsy, Dietary therapy for Epilepsy including the Ketogenic Diet, LGIT diet, MAD diet, MCT diet, General Child Neurology, Seizures in babies born prematurely

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Jessica H Chao, MD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine

Special Interests

Epilepsy/Seizures, Headaches, Developmental Delay, Cerebral Palsy, Inflammatory Disorders

Rinat Jonas, MD

Pediatric Neurologist

Special Interests

Pediatric Neurology, Pediatric Epilepsy, Pediatric Sleep Medicine
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Karl C Kuban, MD

Section of Pediatric Neurology
Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine

Special Interests

Child Neurology, Pediatric Neurology, Cerebral Palsy, Neonatal Neurology, Neonatal neurological outcome research

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Patrick D Mabray, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine
Director of Movement Disorders Program

Special Interests

Movement Disorders, ADHD, Epilepsy, Headache

Alcy R Torres, MD

Director, Concussion Clinic
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine

Special Interests

Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion

Elizabeth Lowe, RN
Nurse and Care Coordinator: Outpatient Neurology and Epilepsy Programs

Research Overview

The Role of Research

The pediatric neurology faculty at Boston Medical Center is actively involved in basic science and clinical research. Division staff members have presented their work at meetings of the Child Neurology Society, the American Epilepsy Society, and the International Child Neurology Association, often in collaboration with pediatric neurology residents or medical students.

The following is a selected list of research activities currently underway involving Pediatric Neurology Division faculty:

  • Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns (ELGAN) study (NIH): molecular antecedents of brain damage (Kuban)
  • Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO)/Extremely Low Gestational Age Newborns (ELGAN) study (Douglass, Kuban, Rana)
  • Analyses about antecedent risks of CP and natural history of CP among ELGANs (Kuban)
  • Validation of bedside method for estimating intracranial pressure in term and preterm infants (Kuban, Torres)
  • Antecedent risks, clinical correlates, and natural history of congenital and acquired microcephaly among ELGANs (Kuban)
  • Association of MRI-based brain volumetrics with neurological and behavioral outcomes in ELGANs
  • The role of early exposure to inflammatory and neurotrophic proteins on changes in head size between birth and two years of age in ELGANs
  • Evaluating the association of MRI-identified white matter tracts and connectomes with volumetrics at 15 years with neurological, cognitive, behavioral, and psychiatric outcomes in a large cohort of ELGANs (Kuban, Mabray)
  • Evaluating the association of traumatic head injury with alterations in MRI-identified white matter tracts and connectomes (Mabray, Torres)
  • Further clinical analyses in 406 cases of febrile seizures followed prospectively (Rosman)
  • Epilepsy in children born extremely prematurely (Douglass, Kuban)
  • Concussion Referrals in Pediatrics and Adolescents in the Urban Safety-Net Hospital (Torres)
  • Concussion Referrals for Urban Safety Net Hospital (Katz, Torres)
  • Impact of embedding a psychologist in a pediatric concussion program (Goldman, Torres)
  • Assessing factors associated with persistent post-concussion symptoms (Torres)
  • Multicenter description of Acute Flaccid Myelitis Patients treated with fluoxetine (Torres)
  • Controlled evaluation of ADHD in children with idiopathic epilepsy (Douglass)
  • Validation of a two step seizure screen in Spanish (Douglass, Torres, Jonas)
  • Pharmacological clinical trials in childhood epilepsy: Levetiracetam (Keppra), Lamotrigine (Lamictal) (DeBassio, Douglass, Montouris)
  • Causes and consequences of acquired microcephaly (Rosman)

Residency and Fellowship Information

Welcome to the Child Neurology Residency Program at Boston Medical Center! We are excited that you will be joining us in one of the most fulfilling and invigorating fields in medicine.