Infants are born with the majority of the brain cells that they will have and use for the rest of their lives

From recurring headaches to epilepsy, infants and children may sometimes suffer from a neurological disorder. Proper diagnosis, appropriate treatment and lifestyle modifications are important steps to help a child to feel better.

Childhood neurological disorders can be very concerning. A broad category of conditions caused by multiple factors, neurological disorders affect a child’s growing brain. Some examples of more common neurological disorders are persistent headaches or migraines, developmental and motor problems, stroke, Tourette’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism. Some of these conditions are caused by genetic factors, others by injury or illness and others have causes that are still unclear.1*

One reason childhood neurological disorders are of such concern is that a child’s nervous system, their brain and spinal cord, is still developing. The more common disorders affect several hundreds of thousands of children.2 Fortunately, with proper diagnosis and treatment, many of these conditions can be successfully managed so a child can successfully grow to adulthood.

While the diagnosis and treatment will be specific to each condition, one common factor in addressing these and other conditions is proper nutrition. For example, in the case of cerebral palsy, a condition where the part of the brain that is damaged can lead to impaired motor development. An assessment of the nutritional requirements and the means of ingestion is important, as normal eating may be difficult.3 At Nestlé Health Science; we are concerned with this and many other childhood conditions. We are actively developing nutritional management strategies to address the needs of young patients and improve their quality of life while growing up.

  1. Accessed December 2014.
  2.; . Accessed December 2014.
  3. Accessed December 2014.

*Listed symptoms and conditions are not all-inclusive, actual patients’ experiences may vary.

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The making of connections between the brain cells, called neurons, reaches its most rapid rate in the first few years. Accessed December 2014.

Activities for the brain


The environment experienced by babies and young children, especially during their first few years, is likely to have a strong impact on the way their brains develop for the rest of their lives. Simple things like speaking and reading to a young child can help stimulate the brain’s development.

Diagnosing neurological disorders


Problems with the brain in young children can be especially difficult to diagnose, as it is more difficult for a young child to clearly explain symptoms and feelings that might point to a probable cause of the problem. Fortunately, doctors specialised in paediatric neurology are equipped to explore all of the possible reasons that a child might experience certain symptoms indicative of a neurological disorder.

Nutrition and the brain


The adult brain uses around 20 percent of an average person’s resting metabolic rate, and for children it is even more. The amount of energy their brains use increases from birth until just before puberty, reaching a peak of around 43 percent.1 Therefore, getting sufficient nutrition to power the growing brain’s energy use is important in infancy and childhood.

  1. Accessed December 2014.