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Symptoms of Neurological Disorders in Children

Video transcription

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to be talking about a pretty broad topic, symptoms of neurological disorders in children. Now, this is kind of too broad to even get a piece of because, I mean, there are child neurologists who do a residency and a fellowship in diagnosing and treating neurologic disorders in children. That is anything having to do with the brain or the nerves anywhere in the body so that's huge. What I'd like to do given our limited time is to just talk about a couple of the most common disorders and how you might recognize them. So, first of all and scariest is seizures. Now, a general Tonic Clonic Seizure or you call it a Grand Mal Seizure is pretty obvious. The child is lying on the floor shaking their arms and legs, their eyes may be rolled up in their head. Their tongue may be deviated. It's pretty obvious but the seizures that people aren't so sure about are called Focal Seizures or Absent Seizures, those may just be staring spells. The hallmark of that type of seizure is that a child is not paying attention at at time when you think they would be or should be. Now, children stare off into space all the time. I stare off into space all the time, that's not unusual in a boring class, maybe their parents are giving them a boring lecture or it's dinner time but when you get their attention, hey look over here at me, yo, right here, you expect them to look and check you out or maybe there's a loud noise or somebody else comes in the room. If a child is having one of these seizures, they don't look, they don't respond, unresponsiveness is the hallmark of seizure activity. So if you see that your child is having a staring spell and not responding, that really needs to come to the doctor's attention. Now, another common thing that we see in children is headaches. That's a huge field but let's talk about the headaches that bother us. First of all don't assume that a headache is due to vision problems. Vision problems are rarely the cause of childhood headache. I'm not saying never but it doesn't happen a lot. So yeah, I mean, you can get their eyes checked but don't be surprised if their eyes are fine. Probably the most common cause of recurrent concerning headache in children is actually migraine and look around the family for somebody else who has bad headaches. They may say they're sinus headaches but they're probably migraines. Migraines do tend to run in families. We know now that even infants can have migraines even though they can't tell you that's what's going on and young children commonly get migraines. There are great treatments for migraines. So, if your child is having chronic headaches that are stopping them from doing what they want to do on a recurrent basis, for gosh sakes, get that child into a doctor because the doctor can figure out something that should be able to make it better. Now the headaches that bother us the very most are ones that wake children up from sleep, ones that cause vomiting, ones that are getting progressively worse, more severe, more common. Ones that are associated with difficulty walking or talking or some other function of the body, those all worry us tremendously and those headaches all deserve immediate medical attention. Now remember, stuff that's neurologic happens int he head, it also happens in other parts of the body. One of the things that always concerns us are alterations in gait. If a child is walking or running fine and then for some reason suddenly is not or suddenly they're walking on their toes, they're arching their feet, they didn't used to be, they have progressive weakness. There were things that they used to be able to do that they can't do now, those things are always very concerning, always deserve a medical exam. There are dozens of other neurologic problems in children and dozens of other things to say about them but for today we'll just talk about the migraines. We'll talk about things that could be brain tumors. We'll talk about the weakness and we will talk, about, what else did we talk about, all those things. So, talking about symptoms of neurologic disease in your child, all of them, I'm Dr. David Hill.

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