What is Pediatric Neurology?

Pediatric Neurology – Overview

The brain and nervous system control everything in the human body, from breathing and keeping the heart beating to driving a car or performing tasks.

If the nervous system does not work properly, its effects can be seen throughout the body.

Neurologists are medical professionals who specialize in treating conditions affecting the brain and nervous system, including the brain, nerves, and spine.

Problems in these areas tend to cause severe conditions, such as constant headaches, seizures, multiple sclerosis or developmental delays.

Pediatric neurology is the field of medicine that deals with the problems that affect children’s brain and nervous system.

What Does a Pediatric Neurologist Do?

A pediatric neurologist diagnosis treats and prevents most conditions related to the nervous system in children and young adults.

Pediatrics usually treat children from birth to 18 or 19 years of age. These professionals are trained to treat child-specific brain and nervous system problems.

A pediatric neurologist can treat several types of patients. They can treat common neurological conditions, such as epilepsy, migraines and cerebral palsy and also treat complex conditions like metabolic disorders, traumatic brain injury and degenerative neurological problems.

As this is a vast field of study, some neurologists specialize in treating certain conditions, especially rare or very complex ones.

Some examples of pediatric neurology specialties include cerebral palsy, stroke and brain tumors.

What are the Education and Training needed to be a Pediatric Neurologist?

Pediatric neurology is a specialty, meaning these professionals undergo a rigorous medical education program that gives additional in-depth training in their specialty.

This training program usually includes:

  • A 4-year undergraduate program that is generally science or pre-med-based
  • Average 4 years of medical school
  • Training for child neurology includes completing a pediatric residency, followed by a fellowship in neurology with a special qualification in child neurology.
  • At least one year of training in internal medicine is required, but this is typically part of the residency training, which also includes pediatrics
  • A pediatric neurology training program includes a minimum of 3 years of postgraduate training, with comprehensive exposure to adult and child neurology, rather than a single year dedicated solely to fundamental neuroscience

What conditions do Pediatric Neurologists treat?

A pediatric neurologist treats any condition related to children’s brain or nervous system. Some of these conditions may be congenital or genetic. In some cases, these conditions may be caused by trauma.

A pediatric neurologist can treat an extensive range of brain and nervous system problems, including muscular dystrophy, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy and other developmental conditions.

Some pediatric neurologists also prefer to specialize in certain areas instead of general pediatric neurology.

These professionals can specialize in complex metabolic disorders, autism, genetic conditions, muscle and nerve diseases and malformations.

When do you need to see a Pediatric Neurologist?

What is Pediatric Neurology

What is Pediatric Neurology – When do you need to see a Pediatric Neurologist

Your child may be referred to a pediatric neurologist by your child’s pediatrician or your family doctor if they notice:

  • Pain
  • Memory loss
  • Poor balance
  • Frequent, severe or constant headaches
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Problems with mobility
  • Seizures
  • Walking problems
  • Developmental delays
  • Coordination or motor function problems
  • Tremors
  • Tic or unintentional jerks

In case your child is diagnosed with a neurological condition, they will need to see a pediatric neurologist or monitoring or treatment.

These professionals can also recommend several diagnostic tests and examinations to identify pediatric neurological conditions, such as:

EEG (Electroencephalogram) – An EEG is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity in the brain. ECG refers to an electrocardiogram, which measures the electrical activity of the heart

MRI – A magnetic resonance imaging test or a CT scan may be ordered by the pediatric neurologist to capture images of the child’s spine or brain. These imaging tests can help diagnose conditions such as stroke, brain tumors, and infections. Genetic conditions are typically diagnosed through genetic testing rather than MRI or CT scans.

Lumbar puncture – It is also called a spinal tap and involves the doctor inserting a small needle in the lower back to take a sample of the spinal fluid, which covers the brain and spinal cord. This test helps to identify signs of inflammation or infection.

Blood tests – Blood tests may be ordered by a pediatric neurologist to check for signs of infection, electrolyte imbalances, and certain metabolic disorders. Rather than routine blood tests, genetic testing is used to diagnose complex genetic disorders.


A pediatric neurologist is a doctor specially trained to diagnose, treat and prevent disorders in children that affect their brain or nervous system.

These highly trained and certified professionals often specialize in treating specific neurological conditions and disorders.

It is recommended to visit a pediatric neurologist if your family doctor or pediatrician recommends it.

See Also

What is Neuro-Ophthalmology

What is Pediatric Ophthalmology

List of Neurological Symptoms

How to Become a Neurologist

Current Version
August 30, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 19, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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