Vijaya Atluru, MD, Chief
From premature infants in the most precarious health to growing children and adolescents, youngsters receive the full range of care by neurological specialists in Winthrop’s Institute for Neurosciences. Winthrop’s pediatric neurologists are skilled at diagnosing and managing children with a range of neurological issues, including epilepsy, brain tumors, muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders, Bell's Palsy and other conditions. Long-term management of these often-chronic conditions focuses on meeting each family's individual needs for care and support.
The comprehensive, high quality services provided include:
Neurodevelopmental Screening & Early Intervention
As more and more premature and gravely ill newborns survive, they sometimes do so with neurological or other deficits. These NICU "graduates" are seen on a regular basis in order to ensure early detection of potential developmental lags. A coordinated team of pediatric neurologists, neonatologists, developmental pediatricians and physical therapists performs comprehensive neurodevelopmental evaluations. If developmental delays are detected, arrangements are made to provide appropriate therapy in a variety of settings, including the home, community-based early childhood centers or within the local school system. In addition, every newborn at Winthrop undergoes hearing screening. Early detection of hearing impairment provides the opportunity for early intervention in order to prevent associated language and speech delay.
Diagnosis, Evaluation & Treatment of Seizure Disorders
Tracking down the precise origin of seizures is crucial to prescribing appropriate treatment. Pediatric neurologists have access to the most up-to-date diagnostic techniques to isolate the genesis of seizure disorders, thereby honing in on the most effective medical and/or surgical treatments. With the advent of newer generations of medications, there are now many more options for medical management of seizures with fewer side effects. Children who are not well managed with medication may be candidates for surgical treatments, including resection of seizure focus and/or implantation of a vagus nerve stimulator (to complement or replace medication in the control and prevention of seizures).
Evaluation, Diagnosis & Treatment of Attention Disorders & Learning Disabilities
Pediatric neurologists are part of a multidisciplinary team that provides comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis of children with learning disabilities and attention disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A team approach is emphasized, with close collaboration between pediatric neurologists, teachers and school personnel, behavioral psychologists, and, of course, the family. Recommendations might include counseling, educational assistance, psychological support and medication when appropriate. The ultimate goal is to enable the child to achieve his or her fullest potential.
Treatment of Hydrocephalus & Other Central Nervous System Anomalies
Hydrocephalus, an excessive build-up of cerebrospinal fluid within the brain, can occur in premature or full-term babies. Babies with hydrocephalus as well as those with general disorders of the central nervous system are evaluated and treated by pediatric neurologists and geneticists. In the Institute for Neurosciences, hydrocephalus may be treated with sophisticated endoscopic equipment to assess the cause of the condition and create a pathway (endoscopic third ventriculostomy) to relieve the fluid accumulation, often minimizing the need for a shunt.
Care for Children with Chronic Headaches
Headaches and migraines, common in adults, can affect up to 5% of children, as well. Although more often seen in adolescents, and in girls more than boys, headaches can occur in young children and toddlers. The primary categories are migraines and chronic, recurrent headaches. Headaches in children are rarely linked to more serious underlying conditions. New medications that specifically target migraine pain can be effective in headache management. Preventive medications and techniques can bring relief.