Neurology Services

COMPLETE NEUROLOGICAL CARE

The neurologists at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health provide all-inclusive services to treat brain, spinal cord and nervous system injuries, diseases and disorders in children. Each of our physicians are trained in both pediatrics and child neurology. They also specialize in specific conditions, which means our team understands your child’s condition inside and out. 

Our extensive internal medicine services include:

Migraines and Headaches Cerebrovascular Disease and Pediatric Stroke
Epilepsy and Seizures Neurobehavioral Disorders
Muscular Dystrophy  Other Neuromuscular Disorders 
Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors Sleep Disorders
Neurocutaneous Disorders Neurofibromatosis
Tuberous Sclerosis Neurogenetic Disorders
Spasticity

Migraines and Headaches

Just like adults, children can suffer from migraines and chronic headaches. However, pediatric headache often has different causes and treatments. If your child frequently gets migraines or headaches, our neurology team may be able to help. Our team first determines if there are medical issues causing the headache. The next step is to look for triggers that may cause headache, such as  poor sleep or diet. For headaches that are harder to diagnose or more difficult to control, your child may be referred to the Riley Headache Center.  

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Cerebrovascular Disease and Pediatric Stroke

Cerebrovascular disease refers to a variety of conditions that involve a lack of blood supply to the brain, but are commonly referred to as stroke. Most people don’t know that children can have strokes. Causes of pediatric stroke can include blood clotting or bleeding disorders, complications of congenital heart defects, infection, trauma and autoimmune disease. Sometimes stroke can happen at or even before birth, which may lead to cerebral palsy or seizures. Our pediatric neurology team is specially trained to treat stroke and cerebrovascular disease in children, and to look for its causes so that we can prevent them from happening again.

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Epilepsy and Seizure Disorders

Epilepsy is defined as recurrent seizures caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Seizure symptoms can vary from periods of staring to full convulsions. The disability caused by seizures can range from mild to severe and our board certified neurologists and epileptolgists treat patients who span the entire range. Treatments may include medication, ketogenic diet (a high fat, low carbohydrate diet), vagal nerve stimulator (a device that emits electrical stimuli to prevent seizure) and surgery.

Learn more about managing seizures in children in this video with Dr. Hema Patel.

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Neurobehavioral Disorders

Neurobehavioral disorders include a spectrum of developmental and learning disabilities. These include attention deficit disorder (ADD), attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive behavior, autism and a variety of learning disorders.

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Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy (often abbreviated MD) is a genetic condition that progressively weakens the muscles used to make the body move. There are multiple types of muscular dystrophy, some of which are more likely to occur in children. Duchenne MD and Becker MD are two types that occur only in boys. Congenital MD appears at birth. Emery-Dreifuss MD and limb-girdle MD occur in children and teens. Facioscapulohumeral MD typically first appears in the teen years.

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Other Neuromuscular Disorders

Neuromuscular disorders result from impairment in the function of peripheral nerves or muscles.  Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health has pediatric neuromuscular and mitochondrial disease clinics sponsored by the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA). Neuromuscular disorders include muscular dystrophy, mitochondrial disease, other myopathies (diseases of muscle tissue), myasthenia gravis and peripheral neuropathies.

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Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

Brain tumors and spinal cord tumors are masses of abnormal cells that have grown out of control. Sometimes the cells are benign (not cancer) and sometimes they are malignant (cancer). Elsewhere in the body, a benign tumor may never become life threatening. However, in the brain and spinal cord, even benign tumors may pose a risk. If they grow, they can push on and destroy healthy parts of the brain or spinal cord. Our neurology team can help guide patients and their parents through this often scary diagnosis and treatment.

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Sleep Disorders

Sleep disorders can have many causes, including lung disorders or respiratory problems. However, the neurology team at Riley IU Health focuses on sleep disorders that have neurological causes. In some children, sleep disorders and epilepsy occur together. These types of sleep disorders can occur in children at any age. Our team has specialists in this field who can help treat sleep disorders caused by neurologic problems.

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Neurocutaneous Disorders

Neurocutaneous disorders include a variety of diseases of the central nervous system and the skin that cause tumors to grow in the brain, spine, skin, bones and organs. The most common of these disorders in children are neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis and Sturge-Weber disease (sometimes known as a port-wine stain birthmark). The Childhood Tumor Foundation provides information and advocacy for those with neurofibromatosis.

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Neurofibromatosis

Neurofibromatosis, sometimes called NF, is a neurogenetic disorder that causes skin pigmentation and tumors to grow on nerves. There are two distinct types, NF1 and NF2. There also are closely related disorders that may be confused with neurofibromatosis, including schwannomatosis and Legius syndrome. With NF1, skin pigmentation occurs shortly after birth and, later in childhood, may cause tumors, bone problems, and learning difficulties. With NF2, tumors form primarily around the brain and spine. NF2 may affect hearing, as well as the sense of body position and balance. The Childhood Tumor Foundation provides information and advocacy for those with neurofibromatosis.

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Tuberous Sclerosis

Tuberous sclerosis is a neurogenetic disorder in which non-malignant tumors form in many of the body’s organs, primarily in the brain, but also in the heart, skin, eyes, kidneys and lungs. Symptoms of this disorder may include seizures, intellectual disability, autism, other developmental delays, behavior problems, and kidney, lung and skin problems.

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Neurogenetic Disorders

Neurogenetic disorders are changes in a person’s genes or chromosomes that affect the nervous system—the brain, spine and nerves. They may cause problems from birth or only become evident in later childhood or even adulthood. A number of disorders and diseases fall into this category and may include symptoms such as seizures, abnormal muscle tone and weakness, movement disorders, poor balance and problems with learning.

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Spasticity

Spasticity refers to stiff or tight muscles and problems with motor function as a result of a central nervous system problem. Spasticity may result from severe brain or spine injury, cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. Spasticity can cause pain and body deformation.

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