Children are not miniature adults. So that’s why they need their own specialists – and why Brenner Children’s Hospital, the region’s only children’s hospital, staffs pediatric neurologists among its many specialists.
Trained in both pediatrics and neurology, our team has extensive experience working with children who have muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, brain tumors, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, sleep disorders, headaches, and other serious neurological conditions. What’s more, they conduct research on various neurological diseases, guaranteeing that children have access to the most cutting edge treatment available.
Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is recognized internationally for the management of epilepsy. Our team of full-time epileptologists, neurosurgeons experienced in epilepsy surgery, nurse clinicians, social workers, pharmacists and neuropsychologists work with patients to diagnose and treat the disease, which affects about one percent of the population. Researchers at the medical center work to find a cure for the disorder and their patients benefit from the newest therapies available.
With our comprehensive approach to care, we are among the top-rated epilepsy programs in the country and the only program in western North Carolina that meets the Level IV guidelines of the National Association of Epilepsy Centers – the highest level of accreditation a medical center can achieve.
Wake Forest Baptist offers a full range of services from routine screening to treatment options for the most complicated cases. Our leadership in the field of epilepsy treatment allows patients early access to the newest medications through clinical trials. Our epileptologists, including specialists in pediatric epilepsy – are experts in selecting the drug combinations most suitable for each patient. When medication alone can’t control seizures, we evaluate patients for other treatment options including the ketogenic diet and surgical procedures. We offer patients the most sophisticated tests available today, including video-EEG monitoring, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), and neuropsychological tests which help localize the seizure focus.
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Unit
Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is one of only 29 clinical sites in the country, and the only site in North Carolina or surrounding states, to utilize magnetoencephalography (MEG) – an innovative, non-invasive diagnostic tool that provides valuable information about normal and abnormal function of the brain. MEG is used for the localization of critical brain regions (such as the location of language or motor function) and to help locate the site where epileptic seizures begin. By identifying the precise locations within the brain that are responsible for the senses, language and other vital processes, doctors can ensure preservation of these functions by avoiding these important areas during surgery.
Epilepsy surgery can dramatically improve the quality of life for patients who do not respond well to medications. Although an estimated 50,000 epilepsy patients in the United States could benefit from surgery, as many as 90 percent of these individuals are not offered surgery as a treatment option because of a lack of awareness and access to experienced professionals.
The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center boasts highly trained physicians offering the full spectrum of resective surgery, including temporal lobe epilepsy surgery, resection of scars, tumors and other lesions, functional hemispherectomy, palliative surgery, corpus callosotomy, and vagal nerve stimulation. Wake Forest Baptist was instrumental in the nine-year research effort that led to the approval of VNS and was the first medical center in the United States to implant this device in a patient.
Through the latest diagnostics, medical management and surgical interventions, the Center is helping both children and adults achieve seizure-free living.
Approximately a third of patients with epilepsy have seizures that cannot be controlled by medication alone. For children who have intractable seizures and are not surgical candidates, the ketogenic diet is a treatment option. This highly restrictive diet is administered under the careful monitoring of a specially trained nutritionist who works with the child’s epileptologist. Wake Forest Baptist Health has one of three programs available in North Carolina.
Sleep Disorders Clinic
The Sleep Disorders Clinic at Wake Forest Baptist specializes in the evaluation and treatment of problems related to abnormal sleep or excessive daytime sleepiness. Our diagnostic and patient care services are available to patients of all ages and are provided in collaboration with the patient’s primary physician.
Nationally accredited by the American Sleep Disorders Association, the Sleep Disorders Clinic can evaluate conditions such as insomnia, narcolepsy, seasonal affective disorder, and common parasomnias such as sleepwalking, nightmares, restless leg syndrome and nocturnal seizures. Specialty areas include pediatric pneumograms to assess breathing problems in infants, PH monitoring to assess sleep disorders related to gastro-esophageal reflux, and sleep apnea disorders.
Our multi-disciplinary staff includes experts in cardiology, neurology, orthodontics, otolaryngology, psychiatry, pulmonary, as well as polysomnographic technologists and nursing specialists. Physicians at the Clinic can provide physical examinations as well as diagnostic tests including nocturnal polysomnographic studies (NPSG) and nap studies or multiple sleep latency tests (MSLT). Staff members also collaborate with experts in neuropsychology, urology, neonatology, pediatrics, clinical psychology and internal medicine.