Neuroimmunology Clinic :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Neuroimmunology Clinic

Targeting Disorders of the Nervous and Immune Systems

Treating certain neurological conditions in children and adolescents is often challenging. Although diagnostic criteria and testing exist for some disorders, identifying these conditions and determining the appropriate treatment can be difficult. At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, we have a Neuroimmunology Clinic, which combines advanced pediatric clinical expertise in disorders of the nervous system and the immune system.

The program allows us to evaluate and treat neuroimmunological disorders and includes coordinated care from Neurology, Rheumatology, Neuroradiology, Ophthalmology, Neuropsychology and Social Work.

Disorders treated in the Neuroimmunology Clinic include:

  • Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) - typically characterized by self-limited but widespread damage to myelin in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Transverse myelitis - caused by inflammation in the spinal cord. The location of the inflammation determines the neurological deficits seen in this condition.
  • Optic neuritis, or inflammation of the optic nerve
  • Multiple sclerosis - a chronic relapsing inflammatory disorder that results in destruction of myelin and episodes of discrete neurological deficit.
  • Neuromyelitis optica - caused by specific, inflammation-inducing antibodies and primarily affects the optic nerves and spinal cord.
  • Autoimmune encephalitis (including anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis) - a newly characterized condition where symptoms may include alteration of mental status, behavioral changes and abnormal involuntary movements.
  • Neurologic manifestations of rheumatologic disease

Advanced Focus on Neuroimmunological Disorders in Children and Adolescents

Neuroimmunological diseases often show differently in pediatric patients and the disease onset and progression are rarely straightforward. Our multidisciplinary approach takes advantage of specialists' unique training in pediatric neurology and pediatric immunology offering optimal treatment to provide the best outcome for the child.

Research to Advance Diagnosis and Treatment

There are few biomarkers to help in the diagnosis of neuroimmunologic disease. Although treatment is available for some conditions, studies of their effectiveness in children is often based on past case studies rather than randomized controlled trials. In newly characterized conditions such as autoimmune encephalitis, the lack of information is really challenging.

We are planning to conduct studies that will look at these issues, including an analysis of the prevalence of autoimmune encephalitis in children, which may be more common than once thought. Other research and clinical efforts will seek to develop clear diagnostic algorithms for the neuroimmunological disorders that affect pediatric patients; educate physicians about diagnostic criteria that exist (primarily for demyelinating diseases); and develop multidisciplinary treatment plans that lead to better patient outcomes.

Physician Referral Information

The Neurosciences Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital accepts referrals from primary care providers and specialists from across the U.S. and internationally. To make a referral, there are three options:

Make a Referral

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000