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Child Neurology

About the Program

Established in 1976 the UCLA Child Neurology Residency program has graduated nearly 40 Child Neurologists.  The program is known for clinical excellence, innovative research and outstanding teaching.  Our comprehensive curriculum can be tailored to the specific interest and talents of each trainee providing the flexibility and guidance to pursue careers within a broad spectrum of child neurology. The pride of our program begins with our faculty, which is an outstanding close-knit group of professionals dedicated to making this an enjoyable place to train and providing the absolute best education possible for our trainees.

Objectives

  1. Provide the education so that the trainee is competent in all diagnostic and therapeutic areas of Child Neurology so that he/she may practice independently.
  2. Familiarize the trainee with basic science, translational and clinical research and provide the skills and mentorship to undertake a research project.

 

Specialized areas

Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Epilepsy Center
The UCLA Pediatric Epilepsy Center is a comprehensive multidisciplinary center specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of pediatric epilepsy.  Diagnostic procedures include: video EEG telemetry, MRI, PET, PET/MRI fusion studies, fMRI, neurocognitive testing, Wada and electrocorticography.  Therapies include pharmacological, surgical (including VNS) and diet therapy management. Each week patients being considered for surgery are presented in front of a multidisciplinary team including: neurologists, adult and pediatric epileptologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists and neuropathologists.

Traumatic Brain Injury Program
At UCLA, our approach to traumatic brain injury (TBI) is three-pronged. We provide clinical care, pursue both clinical and basic science research, and are involved in community outreach and education. Clinically, we have a multidisciplinary approach to sport-related concussion and pediatric TBI. Our Sports Concussion clinic treats athletes participating in all levels of competitive sport participation, from school-aged children to the professional level. Our pediatric TBI clinic provides care for children with all severities of traumatic brain injury, and any persistent neurological and/or cognitive issues including headache, school difficulties, seizures, etc. Our patients can receive comprehensive neurological exams and/or brief pencil and paper neuropsychological testing with a licensed neuropsychologist. For our athletes, we also provide computerized neurocognitive testing at baseline and follow-up. We have a referral network that includes spine specialists, orthopedists, primary care sports medicine, neurorehabilitation, and neuroimaging. Our clinic provides multidisciplinary neurological and neuropsychological care to current and former professional athletes as well as Iraq and Afghanistan military service members through Operation Mend.

In conjunction with the Brain Injury Research Center (BIRC) we also perform outreach, educating the community about traumatic brain injury and sports concussion. We have educational sessions for the community-at-large, athletic trainers, school administrators, and other physicians in both small-scale lectures and large symposia. The BIRC also supports the research arm of our Pediatric TBI program, with research in animal models of TBI and epilepsy, endocrine issues, and repeat injury. From a clinical research standpoint we are currently participating in the multi-institutional National Sports Concussion Outcomes Study following athletes of all ages after injury. We are also investigating neuroimaging and neuropsychological correlates of symptoms after TBI of all severities.  For additional information please visit the UCLA BIRC webpage.

Diet Therapy Program
The UCLA Diet Therapy program offers low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic diet and modified Atkins diets for the treatment of medication resistant epilepsy.  Children on these special diets are carefully supervised by a nurse practitioner and ketogenic dietitian so as to provide maximal seizure benefit while ensuring that children meet their nutritional needs for proper growth and development.  Prospective diet therapy patients are carefully evaluated for metabolic conditions, medical comorbidities, and dietary restrictions which may be incompatible with a high fat diet.  Following diet initiation, close monitoring for side effects and nutritional deficiencies is provided through frequent outpatient visits and blood tests for nutritional deficiencies. Although patients must be closely monitored for potential side effects, for some children with intractable epilepsy diet therapy can provide a more tolerable and/or effective alternative to standard seizure medications. 

Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Program
The UCLA Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Program is a Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance-designated clinic and one of the largest programs in the Western United States. The program provides a multidisciplinary approach to clinical care for children with tuberous sclerosis complex, and offers many clinical research studies and clinical trials to advance the knowledge and care of this rare genetic condition. With regard to clinical services, we focus on diagnostic and ongoing assessments, along with medical therapies, surgical treatments, and ketogenic diet evaluation and therapy. Our research specifically focuses on (1) identifying biomarkers for the development of epilepsy, (2) identifying biomarkers for the development of autism, (3) improving epilepsy surgery outcomes for tuberous sclerosis complex, and (4) clinical trials for TSC-related epilepsy and tumors. For more information on clinic care or active research studies, please email uclatsc@mednet.ucla.edu or call the UCLA TSC phone line 310-206-4037.

Infantile Spasms Program
The Infantile Spasms Project represents UCLA's cohesive union of research efforts and clinical care for children with Infantile Spasms. With regard to clinical services, we focus on diagnostic and prognostic assessments, as well as treatment with conventional medications, ketogenic diet therapy and evaluation, and epilepsy surgery. Our research specifically focuses on (1) standardized treatment protocols using prednisolone, ACTH, and vigabatrin, (2) the use of quantitative EEG measures to better characterize infantile spasms and predict outcomes, (3) the utility of surgery for treatment of infantile spasms, and (4) the identification of genetic and other clinical predictors of treatment response. For more information, please see: http://infantilespasmsproject.org