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What are nervous system disorders?

Nervous system disorders can involve a range of conditions that may be chronic or may be triggered by secondary factors. The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates body activities. It is made up of two major divisions:

  • central nervous system: consisting of the brain and spinal cord
  • peripheral nervous system: consisting of all other neural elements

In addition to the brain and spinal cord, principal organs of the nervous system include the following:

  • eyes
  • ears
  • sensory organs of taste
  • sensory organs of smell
  • sensory receptors located in the skin, joints, muscles, and other parts of the body

Nervous System Disorders | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of a nervous system disorder?

The following are the most common symptoms of nervous system disorders. However, each child may experience symptoms differently, and different disorders will cause different symptoms to occur. Symptoms may include:

  • delays in developmental milestones
  • increase or lack of growth in head size
  • changes in activity, reflexes, or movements
  • lack of coordination
  • changes in level of consciousness or mood
  • muscle rigidity, tremors, or seizures
  • older children may also report persistent or severe headaches, loss of feeling or tingling, or visual changes

The symptoms of a nervous system disorder may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

What causes nervous system disorders?

The nervous system is vulnerable to various disorders and can be damaged by the following:

  • trauma
  • infections
  • degeneration
  • structural defects
  • tumors
  • blood flow disruption

Nervous System Disorders | Diagnosis & Treatments

How we care for nervous system disorders

The Department of Neurology at Boston Children's Hospital is the oldest, largest, and best-known program in pediatric neurology in the world. U.S. News & World Report has ranked Boston Children's among the top in the nation for neurology and neurosurgery. The department includes child neurologists who specialize in almost all neurological disorders, including epilepsy, learning disabilities and other developmental disabilities, attention deficit disorders, sleep disorders, neuromuscular disorders, brain tumors, neurogenetic disorders, neonatal neurology, mental retardation and cerebral palsy, pediatric neuro-immunology, and pediatric multiple sclerosis and related disorders.

Nervous System Disorders | Programs & Services