PEDIATRIC NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS

Neurological disorders in infants and children include such diagnoses as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). Proper diagnosis, ongoing medical treatment, and appropriate nutrition are important steps to help manage such diseases.

Neurological disorders in children can be very concerning. This is a broad category of conditions that can be caused by multiple factorsand have the potential toaffect a child’s growing brain. Some examples of neurological disorders are persistent headaches or migraines, developmental and motor delays, Tourette’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, and autism. Some of these conditions can be caused by genetic factors, while others can be caused by injury or illness, and in some cases causes that are still unclear. One reason neurological disorders in children are of concern is that a child’s nervous system, their brain and spinal cord, are still developing. Fortunately, with proper diagnosis and treatment, many of these conditions can be successfully managed so a child can grow to adulthood. While the diagnosis and treatment will be specific to each condition, proper nutrition is one common factor that can help manage the symptoms. For example, in the case of cerebral palsy, a condition that impairs motor development, an assessment of the nutritional requirements and the means of ingestion is important, as eating may be difficult due to oro-motor dysfunction. Nestlé Health Science providespediatric nutritional products that can helpthese children get the nutrition they need.

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Infants are born with the majority of the brain cells that they will have and use for the rest of their lives. The making of connections between the brain cells, called neurons, reaches its most rapid rate in the first few years.

<h2>Diagnosing Neurological Disorders</h2>

DIAGNOSING NEUROLOGICAL DISORDERS

Neurological disorders in children can be challenging to diagnose, as it is more difficult for a young child to clearly explain symptoms and feelings that might point to a likely cause of the problem. Fortunately, doctors who specialize in pediatric neurology are well trained to explore all of the possible reasons that a child might have certain symptoms indicative of a neurological disorder.

<h2>Nutrition and the Brain</h2>

NUTRITION AND THE BRAIN

The adult brain uses around 20% of an average person’s resting metabolic rate, and for children it is even more. The amount of energy their brains use increases from birth until just before puberty, reaching a peak of around 43%. Therefore, getting sufficient nutrition to power the growing brain’s energy use is important in infancy and childhood.

<h2>Activities for the Brain</h2>

ACTIVITIES FOR THE BRAIN

The environment experienced by babies and young children, especially during their first few years, is likely to have a strong impact on the way their brains develop for the rest of their lives. Simple things like speaking and reading to a young child can help stimulate the brain’s development.