The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Neuroimmunology Clinic provides evidence-based, family-centered clinical care for infants, children and teens with autoimmune disorders that affect the central nervous system, known as neuroimmune disorders. Nationwide Children’s goal is to enhance quality of life for children and their families impacted by these conditions through comprehensive care delivered in a supportive clinical framework.
Nationwide Children's Hospital is ranked by U.S. News & World Report for Neurology and Neurosurgery.
Neuroimmune disorders can occur in children who are otherwise healthy. Diagnosis and treatment of neuroimmune disorders in children and adolescents require unique approaches. Nationwide Children’s Neuroimmunology Clinic combines advanced pediatric clinical expertise in disorders of the nervous system and the immune system and provides coordinated care from Neurology, Rheumatology, Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuropsychology. We work closely with other subspecialty teams within Nationwide Children’s, including Ophthalmology, Neuroradiology, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy to ensure all of the individual needs of our patients are being met.
Conditions We Treat
Autoimmune disorders are diseases in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells. Neuroimmune diseases affect the central nervous system. Many types of neuroimmune diseases cause inflammation of the brain or spinal cord. Some of the more common neuroimmune conditions found in children include:
- Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
- Transverse myelitis
- Optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve)
- Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody disorder (MOG-AD)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD)
- Autoimmune encephalitis (including anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis)
- Acute flaccid myelitis (AFM)
- Neurologic effects of rheumatologic diseases
Although neuroimmune disorders often affect the white matter of the brain, not all white matter diseases are acquired inflammatory disorders. Leukodystrophies are a group of conditions caused by genetic changes that lead to the destruction or abnormal development of the brain’s white matter, which protects the brain’s nerves. The Leukodystrophy Clinic at Nationwide Children’s is a multidisciplinary clinic that provides comprehensive care for children and their families impacted by genetic white matter diseases.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis of a neuroimmune disease usually occurs after a child experiences symptoms. Because there are several neuroimmune diseases, symptoms can vary. They can include:
- Muscle weakness
- Abnormal sensations or sensitivity
- Movement disorders
- Change in communication or language difficulty
When a child experiences symptoms of a neuroimmune disease, several tests can help reach a diagnosis:
- Detailed clinical evaluation
- Neuroimaging, including MRI of the brain and spinal cord
- Blood tests
- Cerebrospinal fluid assessment
At Nationwide Children’s, our specialists’ unique training and collaboration provides a multidisciplinary approach that offers optimal treatment to provide the best outcome for the child.
For all patients affected by neuroimmune diseases, Nationwide Childrens’ Neuroimmunology Clinic provides care to maximize functional abilities and quality of life, including:
- Medications to stop or control the autoimmune process
- Treatment for symptoms, such as medications for seizures, movement disorders and psychiatric symptoms
- Neurocognitive testing
- Psychological assessment and treatment
- Psychiatric assessment and treatment
Neuroimmunology Clinic Leadership
Melissa L. Hutchinson
Melissa L. Hutchinson, MD, MA, is an attending pediatric neurologist and co-director of the Neuroimmunology Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hutchinson is a pediatric neuro-hospitalist, a role focused on ensuring children hospitalized with neurologic illnesses are provided the highest quality care.
Setty M. Magana
Setty M. Magaña, MD, PhD, is an attending physician-scientist and co-director of the Neuroimmunology Program at Nationwide Children’s. Dr. Magaña’s clinical and research interests are in understanding the disease mechanisms in pediatric and adult acquired demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.
Refer a Patient
Health care providers seeking an urgent referral may call our office at (614) 722-4625.
Health care providers with non-urgent referrals may fax referral information to Central Scheduling at (614) 722-4000. Please specify the referral to “Neuroimmunology Clinic.”
Patients and families may request a referral to the Neuroimmunology Clinic from their primary care provider or specialist. To help speed up the referral process, a patient or family may call our office at (614) 722-4625 to let us know that a referral is being requested.