Specialists of the field diagnose and treat a large number of ailments including epilepsy and paroxysmal disorders.
The study, care, and management of neurological conditions, that is, disorders of the nervous system, spinal cord, brain and other related systems, of infants ranging from prenatal to eighteen years of age is what paediatric neurology is all about. Specialists of the field diagnose and treat a large number of ailments including epilepsy and paroxysmal disorders, neuromuscular disorders, cerebrovascular disease, brain and spinal injury, infections of the brain and spinal cord, brain and spinal tumours, neuroinflammatory disorders, neurogenetic disorders, movement disorders, white matter disorders, inborn errors of metabolism, developmental disorders and so on. They also tend to have expertise in procedures and fields such as neuroimaging, neurosurgical disorders, and molecular medicine. As a complicated field of study concerning a complex group of patients, vast amounts of data and research is essential. Though an adequate number of such studies are yet to be achieved, promising developments are being made which include identifying single-gene disorders, advances in understanding autism, early treatment of menkes disease using intravenous copper, uses of green fluorescent protein, ketogenic diet in epilepsy treatment, advances in understanding status epilepticus, febrile seizures and sudden infant deaths, study into neonatal subpial haemorrhage, among others.
Doctor of medicine in paediatric neurology is a course designed to train experts adept at identifying, treating and managing the plethora of neurological disorders in children. The course is prepared keeping in mind the special need of children contracting such disorders. Hence rigorous training in theoretical and clinical areas are to be expected. The areas of study include anatomy of neurodevelopment, physiology of neurodevelopment, assessment of normal development, variations of the normal development, the abnormal child; early markers of CP etc, approach to a child with developmental delay, CNS malformations, seizure disorders in childhood, infections of the CNS, primary demyelinating diseases of the CNS, adem, optic neuritis, acute transverse myelitis, immunologically mediated diseases affecting the CNS grey matter, peripheral nervous system, systemic vasculitides with nervous system manifestations, neurodegenerative disorders, neurometabolic disorders including mitochondrial disorders, autosomal abnormalities, sex chromosomal abnormalities, chromosomal abnormalities in various dysmorphic syndromes, toxic disorders: lead, thallium, arsenic, mercury, aluminium, organic toxins, alcohol, bacterial toxins, nutritional disorders, protein-energy malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, infantile tremor syndrome, neurocutaneous syndromes, movement disorders,cerebrovascular disorders, neonatal neurology, brain tumors, spinal cord disorders, neuromuscular disorders, mental retardation, behavioral and pervasive disorders, clinical ethical and rehabilitation practices, among others. After the completion of the course, the students are expected to have developed a deep understanding of paediatric neurology and all its allied specialities, have at their disposal the knowledge of commonly used diagnostic tools and tests, be able to perform advanced investigation procedures and interpret them, have a thorough understanding of common neuroimaging investigations, be able to perform invasive procedures such as lumbar puncture and be able to initiate and be part of advanced research projects. In addition to these skills, the candidates are expected to understand the delicate nature of their patients and be compassionate, be able to organize and conduct teaching programmes, exhibit good communication skills, and be able to practice with a sound understanding of ethical and legal practices within the field.
Candidates who have an MD in neurology, paediatrics, or general medicine from an institution recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI) are eligible to apply for the course which is for three years. As the field is in dire need of competent specialists, successful candidates will have no difficulty finding employment. They can work as consultants, emergency specialists in NICU or PICU, government consultants in national mental health programmes, researchers or lecturers.