What are common neurological symptoms in our kids?
The word “neurological” refers to the nervous system, which is comprised of the brain, the spinal cord and a massive circuitry of nerves. The brain, the most complex organ in our body, is the center of the nervous system.
When children do not meet speech/language, motor, or other developmental milestones, doctors usually assume that the child has neurological issues. Speech and language issues can be receptive, expressive, or both. Motor issues include, but are not limited to, the inability to roll over, crawl, walk, or stand, the inability to imitate, focus, concentrate, or follow directions, low muscle tone (hypotonia), seizures, obsessions, mood changes, behavioral problems, non-compliance, high anxiety, coping issues, socialization impairment, metabolic abnormalities and many more.
Often brain symptoms, such as difficulties with word finding or other memory problems are the first sign of neurological issues. Symptoms, such as tremors, numbness, tingling, poor reflex responses, tics, seizures, or acquired difficulties with speech/language and movement, also fall under the category of neurological issues. The possible causes of neurological issues are many; they could be environmental, structural, biochemical, electrical, or a combination of these triggers. There could also be an accident or injury to the brain, loss of oxygen at birth, or a genetic chromosomal disorder; all of which result in neurological issues.
What will your doctor tell you about your child’s neurological symptoms?
Your child’s doctor may suggest having your child seen by a specialist, such as a neurologist, a psychiatrist, a speech pathologist, an ophthalmologist, an audiologist, or a geneticist to obtain further information about what is going on neurologically with your child. Your doctor may send you to a pediatric hospital or neurological center Most physicians will be insistent that parents act quickly, as time is of the essence when dealing with neurological issues.
Another way to think about neurological symptoms:
Medicine is beginning to understand that neurological issues may not begin in the nervous system, but rather could be the result of broader imbalances in the body that affect the brain. Eminent Harvard neurologist Martha Herbert PhD, MD, questioned whether autism was “a brain disorder or a disorder that affects the brain.”
Researchers today are revisiting what Chinese medicine discovered over 3000 years ago: that the gut microbiome (housed in the body’s gastrointestinal tract) is critical to overall health, and the gut, the immune system’s headquarters, is tightly connected to the brain. Anything that impacts the gut and the immune system can also impact the brain. This is known as the gut-brain-immune axis. When the microbiome is healthy, so is the nervous system; when it is not, a person can have neurological, mood or behavioral symptoms–all things long thought to be “all in the head.”
The opposite is also true: neurons and neurotransmitters in the brain can affect the microbiome. Some researchers now realize that traditional psychiatric illnesses, or mental health disorders, are all also related to the relationship between the gut, the immune system and the brain.
When children do not reach their developmental milestones, or when they exhibit ‘brain-based’ or neurological symptoms, think first about what’s happening in the GI tract, which, in turn, affects the immune system and the brain.
Neurological check list. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about:
- Look at diet. Eat whole foods. Buy organic. Increase protein intake. Remove casein, gluten, soy, chemical preservatives, dyes, GMOs, all sugars, fast foods, and white refined carbohydrates. Reduce salt. Eliminate foods with phenols and salicylates, naturally occurring substances in some “healthy” foods.
- Add good fats such as coconut and olive oil, avocados, wild salmon, organic chicken and turkey, ghee, eggs, etc. The brain is 95% fat and requires dietary fats. Supplement with DHA (Neuromins from Microalgy) and phosphatidyl serine complex
- Heal the GI tract with special diets, such as GAPS and Body Ecology that include fermented foods containing probiotics.
- Work with a health care professional on how to improve cell membrane stability, cell energy, and muscle tone
- Support methylation and other components of detoxification with foods and supplements.
- Calm the nervous system with B complex; calm anxiety with Rescue Remedy, Pantothenic Acid (B5), GABA.
If you have addressed these issues and are still dealing with neurological symptoms:
- Ask your pediatrician to run some laboratory tests that give information about possible food sensitivities and allergies, Test for IgG,IgA,IgE and IgM. Other testing could show deficiencies in vitamins and minerals, bacterial overgrowth and gluten and casein sensitivities.
- Do genetic mutation testing to look for difficulties with detoxification and other biological processes.
- Test for neurotransmitter functioning. Ask your physician about how to improve and balance neurotransmitters.
- See a MAPS physician (Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs)
- Check with your pediatrician about testing for microbes, inflammatory markers, yeast, fungus, mold, viruses, H Pylori, and other pathogens in the gut.
- See a Behavioral Optometrist for developmental vision problems which affect the functioning of the left and right hemisphere of the brain
- Try Neurobiofeedback, Brain Balance Centers, Craniosacral Therapy, OT with Sensory Integration, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, homotoxicology, and homeopathy.