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What is a pediatric epileptologist?

An epileptologist is a neurologist who is also specially trained in the diagnosis, treatment and management of epilepsy in children.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder affecting the electrical activities within the brain, and is diagnosed if the child has two or more unprovoked seizures. An unprovoked seizure is one where there is no immediate cause connected to the seizures, such as low blood glucose, exposure to toxins, immediate effect of a trauma, or fever in young children.

Children with epilepsy have special needs because their brains and nervous systems are actively developing. At McLane Children’s our epileptologists work with pediatric neurologists and other specialties to provide proper care and treatment for newborns to teenagers.

What conditions do pediatric epileptologists treat?

An epileptologist is primarily focused on treating children with epilepsy, although they are trained in other neurological disorders as well.

  • Epilepsy — Children with epilepsy have abnormal electrical activity in their brain. This can cause repeated seizures that often occur with no warning. Some people call these seizures "fits" or "spells" where the child may shake or jerk uncontrollably. There is a spectrum of severity of epilepsy, and pediatric epileptologists treat mild to severe cases.
  • Intractable or Refractory Epilepsy — If a child has epilepsy, it is common to use medications to control the onset of seizures. However, if the child has tried two or more medications without success, it is a more serious case of epilepsy, called intractable epilepsy. A pediatric epileptologist is trained to work with the child to analyze factors such as altering diet, analyzing triggers, or proposing surgery to improve the child’s condition.

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