Neurosciences conditions

Children's Neurosciences Center is a comprehensive program, boasting award-winning specialists in neurology and in neurosurgery housed in one convenient location. Our specialists treat the full range of neurological disorders from birth through childhood, providing cutting-edge diagnostics and targeted treatments for your child.

General neurologic conditions

About neurologic conditions we treat

Neurology is the study and the treatment of diseases that affect the nervous system, including the brain and spine. Our specialists treat an array of neurological disorders, including:

  • Childhood epilepsy
  • Headaches/migraines
  • PHACE syndrome
  • Hereditary neuropathies
  • Metabolic disease
  • Neuromuscular disorders
  • Movement disorders including Tourette syndrome and ataxia
  • Autism
  • Hypotonia
  • Developmental delays
  • Pediatric stroke

Brain and spinal cord tumors

Tumors in the central nervous system, whether they're located in the brain or spinal cord, typically are referred to as brain tumors. These tumors are among the most common types of cancer in children, and they occur when there is abnormal growth of cells. Below are some of the types of brain tumors we treat:

  • Astrocytoma
  • Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor
  • Brain stem glioma
  • Choroid plexus tumor
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor
  • Ependymoma
  • Gangliocytoma
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Meningioma
  • Optic pathway glioma
  • Pineal tumor
  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumors

Childhood epilepsy/seizures

About childhood epilepsy/seizures we treat

Epileptic disorders are a collection of problems in the brain’s electrical functioning. Sometimes the brain receives a short burst of abnormal electrical activity that briefly disturbs its normal functioning. These periods, called seizures, may be mild, like a short change in consciousness, or they can be dramatic and include violent spasms of the entire body or a sudden slump. Your child’s risk of seizure is highest before his or her first birthday.

Movement disorders

About movement disorders we treat

“Movement disorder” is a term that describes a collection of related disorders that are characterized by excess or unwanted movement, or which affect your child’s coordination. Sometimes communication in the brain becomes garbled, which results in uncoordinated movements. This may be the result of a disease or injury to the parts of the brain that control movement. It is important that these problems be treated early. Movement disorders we treat include:

  • Ataxia
  • Chorea (rapid involuntary movement)
  • Conversion disorder (psychogenic movements)
  • Dystonia
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Metabolic movement disorders
  • Muscle spasms without weakness
  • Parkinsonism
  • Rigidity
  • Tardive dyskinesia
  • Tics and Tourette syndrome
  • Tone problems and spasticity
  • Tremors

Neuromuscular disorders

About neuromuscular disorders we treat

Neuromuscular disorders are a collection of diseases characterized by muscle weakness or dysfunction. These diseases may be related to how the nerves communicate with the muscles or a breakdown of the muscles themselves. Whatever the cause, muscle weakness is typically the result.

Our specialists treat the full range of neuromuscular disorders, including:

  • Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy
  • Limb girdle muscular dystrophy
  • Congenital dystrophies
  • Spinal muscular atrophy
  • Congenital myopathies
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Myotonic dystrophies and other myotonic disorders
  • Charcot-Marie tooth disease and other hereditary neuropathies
  • CIDP and other polyneuropathies
  • Friedreich’s ataxia


About neurospinal disorders we treat

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that serves as a direct line of communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Neurospinal problems fall into a broad category that can include birth defects, disease and injury.

Our medical and surgical specialty team understands the unique needs of children with neurosurgical spine conditions, including:

  • Craniocervical junction disorders (basilar invagination)
  • Congenital neurosurgical spinal disorders (Down syndrome, Klippel-Feil syndrome, achondroplasia)
  • Spine injuries (both acute and chronic)
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal degeneration
  • Spasticity syndromes (spinal cord injury, cancer, cerebral palsy)

Spina bifida

About spina bifida

Spina bifida refers to a collection of spinal birth defects and is also known as myelodysplasia or spinal dysraphism and is the most common neural tube defect (NTD).

Spina bifida occurs when the fetal spinal cord fails to properly close before birth. Neural tube disorders are problems that relate to the developing brain and spinal cord while a child is still in the womb, and are among the most common and most serious of birth defects.


Headaches are a common and potentially disabling problem for children and teens. Our specialists in the Jane B. Pettit Pain and Headache Center at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin have the expertise necessary to treat those headaches and help patients meet their potential to live a life uninterrupted by pain.