Winter 2006

Expanding Multidisciplinary Pediatric Neurology

The field of pediatric neuroscience — and child neurology in particular — continues to expand dramatically with new discoveries and challenges. In our division, due to increased recognition of diseases causing brain injury and disorders of development, we have instituted new programs to address this growth.

For example, we now have the UCSF pediatric stroke-cerebrovascular center featured in this edition. This effort is a multidisciplinary center that provides both inpatient and outpatient care for children under the age of 18 who have diagnoses such as neurovascular anomalies, hemorrhages, stroke and moyamoya disease. The team, led by Heather Fullerton, M.D., includes neurosurgeons, neurointerventional radiologists and pediatric neuroradiologists.

Along with our radiology colleagues, we have expanded services in fetal and neonatal imaging to unravel the complex clinical pathogenesis of congenital and developmental brain malformations. Elliott Sherr, M.D., Ph.D., is now assembling a cohort of children with one of these abnormalities, agenesis of the corpus callosum. These clinical services interdigitate with research efforts to unravel the pathogenesis of, and discover new therapies for, these and similar brain disorders.

Cognitive and behavioral neurology has strongly influenced the care of the elderly and adults with neurological problems, but little has been done for children with these diseases. We are now focusing our efforts on developmental language disorders, autism and behavioral abnormalities to enhance care, working in a multidisciplinary fashion just as with the classical disorders such as stroke. Teams of neurologists, psychologists and neuroradiologists are working to better understand the causes of these disorders, so as to provide more directed and appropriate therapies. Our new clinic, run by Elysa Marco, M.D., is poised to coordinate these teams.

The age of a multidisciplinary approach to medical care is here, and we at UCSF are meeting the challenge to our patients' advantage.

Donna M. Ferriero, M.D.
Chief of Child Neurology

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