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Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders

Neuromuscular disorders describe conditions in which the neurons, the body’s nerve cells, become defective or die, and the communication pathways between the muscle and the central nervous system deteriorates. This breakdown in communication causes the muscles to weaken or waste away, leading to pain and/or movement difficulties.

Causes of Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders

Many pediatric neuromuscular disorders are genetic, that is passed on from parents to children though some diseases may result from immune system infections or disorders.

Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders Symptoms

Symptoms of neuromuscular disorders in children may worsen over time, especially if not addressed upon onset. Symptoms vary depending on the specific disorder and may include:

  • Muscle weakness or “floppiness” in infants
  • Muscle cramping or twitching
  • Tingling or numbing sensations
  • Delayed acquisition or loss of motor skills
  • Visual problems

Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders Diagnosis

The physicians at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital can diagnose a pediatric neuromuscular disorder by conducting different tests that may include:

  • Muscle or never biopsies
  • Electromyogram (EMG)
  • Nerve conduction testing
  • Genetic testing or counseling

Treatment Options for Pediatric Neuromuscular Disorders

Although there is no cure for many pediatric neuromuscular disorders, symptoms and quality of life can be vastly enhanced through treatment. Often, a multidisciplinary approach in which care-givers, physicians, and therapists collaborate can be most effective. Treatment options may include:

  • Gene therapy
  • Injections and other pharmacological therapeutics
  • Physical, speech, and/or respiratory therapy
  • Diet or nutritional counseling
  • Orthotics or assistive technology such as wheelchairs and scooters
  • Surgery