What you need to know about pediatric neurology

This post is sponsored by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center

pediatric neurologyPediatric neurology care takes care of brain disorders and conditions that need both immediate attention and ongoing supportive care. The MercyOne Des Moines Pediatric Neurology & Psychiatry Care clinic exclusively serves young patients up to age 21. It is recognized as a “specialty” care clinic. 

The term “neurologic condition or disease” applies to any condition caused by a dysfunction in the brain or part of the nervous system, resulting in physical and psychological symptoms. The adage “Children are not little adults” aptly describes pediatric brain development. The newborn brain continuously grows and develops and doesn’t reach its full potential until adulthood. 

What is a child neurologist? 

Child neurologists combine specialized expertise in diagnosing and treating disorders of the nervous system (i.e., brain, spinal cord, muscles, nerves) with an understanding of medical disorders in childhood, and the individual needs of the child and his or her family and environment. Pediatric or child neurologists are specially-trained physicians with four-year medical school education, and a five-year post-graduate training regimen consisting of two years of training in pediatrics, one year of training in general neurology, and two years of training in pediatric neurology. Child neurologists then take comprehensive examinations supervised by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with Special Competence in Child Neurology. 

As a pediatric epileptologist, I have an additional year of training in diagnosing and treating pediatric epilepsy.

What is the typical day in a clinic for a child neurologist?

A vital component of treatment at our clinic is initial evaluation, follow up, and ongoing counseling while keeping patients within their primary medical home. 

Children with complex or severe neurological conditions such as drug-resistant seizures, neuromuscular diseases, autoimmune conditions, cerebral palsy, hypotonia, or congenital disabilities require ongoing care and close follow-up throughout childhood and adolescence while closely working with their primary care providers, pediatric psychiatry and rehabilitation team.

We also offer genetic testing and neuropsychology testing if any neurology condition warrants. We closely work with hospital departments on diagnostic testing.

Being part of the MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center system we provide consultation in Pediatric Emergency, Pediatric ICU, Pediatric unit, and Neonatal ICU. After the hospital discharge, patients follow up in the neurology clinic for further management. 

pediatric neurologyWhat do we treat?

Here’s a list of most common diagnosis we see at MercyOne Pediatric Neurology Clinic:

Epilepsy and seizures

Pediatric migraine and headaches

Developmental delay

Cerebral palsy

Tics and Tourette’s syndrome

Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures

Pediatric stroke




Nerve and muscle weakness

Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis 

Muscular dystrophy and muscle diseases

Neurofibromatosis, tuberous sclerosis, Sturge weber syndrome 

Where are we located? 

Our clinic, MercyOne Pediatric Neurology Clinic, is located at 411 Laurel Street, Suite 3310, in Des Moines. Our clinic hours are Monday – Thursday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Friday from 7 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. There is no wait time to get an appointment as we have three full-time providers.

About the Author 

pediatric neurologyDr. Rifali Patel is a pediatric neurologist and epileptologist at MercyOne Des Moines Pediatric Neurology Clinic. She has expertise in diagnosing developmental delay, cerebral palsy, pediatric stroke, headache disorders, Tic disorders, autoimmune CNS disorders, pediatric neuromuscular disease, psychological nonepileptic seizures, traumatic brain injury, and genetic conditions affecting brain development. She specializes in pediatric neurological disorders with a significant focus on pediatric epilepsy: New-onset seizures, drug-resistant childhood epilepsy-LGS, Doose syndrome, epilepsy surgery, status epilepticus, and performs video EEG monitoring, routine EEGs and VNS therapies. 

Connect with MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center

Website: MercyOne.org/desmoines

Twitter: @MercyOneDSM

Facebook: @mercyonedesmoines

Instagram: @mercyonedesmoines

Pinterest: @MercyOneDesMoines

The post is part of a series of sponsored posts by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center

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