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A newborn baby can present with a variety of neurological problems that stem from conditions that affect his brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles. There are more than 600 neurological disorders that can occur throughout a person's lifetime, but fewer neurological conditions occur in newborns. These disorders can be present at birth or happen shortly after birth.
The foundation for development of your baby's brain starts in the first month after conception. The brain continues to develop throughout pregnancy and after birth. Any disruption or injury to the brain development during this period can lead to neurological problems. These conditions can occur due to a variety of reasons.
While there are severe neurological problems a baby may have, these are the most common:
In some cases, the condition is inherited from one or both parents, or the child has an abnormality in his or her chromosomes. Other factors that sometimes contribute are maternal health and toxin exposure, prematurity, labor and delivery complications, genetic disorders, and infections.
Neurological conditions can also be caused by improper growth within the brain or spinal cord; this improper growth can affect the brain itself, the veins within the brain, or the spinal cord. Premature babies are particularly at risk for disorders of the brain. Metabolic disorders such as phenylketonuria, which can cause neurological problems, are often detected at birth.
During birth, several issues can lead to the development of a neurological disorder. These include:
In the period after birth, but while the child is still very young, these disorders can be caused by:
The complications of a neurological disorder can range from mild to severe. Some children will have a lifelong disability, while others may simply be slow to reach developmental milestones. Some conditions, especially pseudotumor cerebri, can result in blindness if left untreated. Early diagnosis and effective treatment is the best way to minimize the effects or complications from these brain disorders.
Our world-renowned physicians specializing in neonatal neurology are board certified, and our staff has many years of combined experience. We're able to provide a host of services in neonatal neurology you and your family may need. Our comprehensive team of specialists offers services that encompass all areas of child neurology.
In addition to our clinical work, we also lead and participate in clinical trials and research studies to find new and better treatments for each child under our care.
To learn more about neurological conditions in newborns or to schedule an appointment for your child with UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh's Brain Care Institute, please call 412-692-5520.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Visit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation's website to make a donation online.