Tag Archives: neurology

Happy New Year 2018! January newsletter uploaded.

Raised intracranial pressure this month, nappy rash, complex febrile seizures, tingling side effects of recreational nitrous oxide use and Vitamin D – again….

Please do leave comments below.


September 2107 PDF ready to go

A bit more on babies’ stooling habits this month, NICE’s update on the epilepsies and glycosuria.  Also the annual round up of useful blogs to get newcomers off to a good start in their paediatric practice.  Please do leave comments below:

June 2017 PDF

Haematuria this month with links to an algorithmic Australian guideline on how to manage it in children, assessing paediatric hypertension, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and the last for the time being in the “decoding the FBC” series – MCHC.

Please do leave comments below:

May newsletter – uploaded a little after the bank holiday…

May 2017 brings Tourette’s syndrome, child sexual exploitation, a paper on predicting serious bacterial infection and links to resources on recognising it.  Do leave comments below:

Parent Infant Mental Health

With thanks to Geoff Ferguson, Director of the Parent Infant Centre (www.infantmentalhealth.com) for the following explanation of the Acquarone scales:

The Acquarone Detection Scales for Early Relationships are observational scales that provide a powerful tool for assessing an infant’s capacity to form relationships and a mother’s ability to respond to her infant. The scales have been developed during several decades of clinical practice by Dr Stella Acquarone, who is also the author of several books on infant development and parent infant psychotherapy and Principal of the Parent Infant Clinic.   The Parent Infant Clinic is a private service but does have some subsidised places for families with limited financial resources.

There are two scales, a 25 item scale for observations of the infant and a 13 item scale for observations of the mother. In each case observations are divided into four domains: interpersonal, sensorial, motor and affect. Within each domain observers are asked to note the frequency of certain behaviours. For example, when observing ‘calling’ the observer is looking for ‘facial expressions, noises or gestures that seek to produce an affectionate response from the partner’.

A concern about the infant or the mother might be raised if a particular behaviour was never observed, perhaps showing a difficulty in relating, or was constantly observed, perhaps showing a defensive repetitiveness. The scales can be used to establish a thorough observational benchmark against which later changes can be compared.

Click here to see an example.


November 2015 newsletter

November 2015: diagnosing asthma this month, a synopsis of vitamin D deficiency as we go into the winter, a helpful cartoon around mental well-being and hypermobility demystified.  All comments gratefully received!

July 2015 being uploaded on a Sunday in honour of the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt

Chest pain this month – which is very rarely cardiac in the paediatric population, early recognition of various childhood cancers, links to some drug and alcohol support groups, paediatric drooling.  Do leave comments.

September 2014 newsletter published

Warts this month, steroids in Bell’s palsy, a recap of the year for the new trainees and some more edicts from NICE on what not to do. A couple of links to good CPD opportunities too. Do leave comments below.

Bell’s palsy – time for a rethink re steroids for children?

Steroids vs Steroids & Antivirals for Bell ’s Palsy

by Dr Tom Waterfield

Bell’s palsy is an idiopathic facial nerve palsy first described by Sir Charles Bell in 1830. It typically presents with a sudden onset of unilateral facial palsy. It presents as a unilateral lower motor neurone weakness ie. the forehead is also involved (if the forehead is not involved, this is an upper motor neurone weakness with a different aetiology and needs prompt referral for further investigation). The prognosis in true Bell’s is typically good with up to 90% of children recovering by 3 months of age1. The mainstay of management in children is supportive (artificial tears/patching). The convention – at least in adults – is for the early (within 72 hours of onset) use of oral prednisolone at a dose of 2mg/kg (max 60-80mg) for 5 days followed by a 5 day tapering dose2. The evidence base for this comes from large randomised controlled studies in adults3,4.

Evidence for the use of steroids alone

Two large double blind randomised control studies looking at over 1300 patients demonstrated that early use of Prednisolone orally significantly improved symptoms at 3 months (p<0.001) with a NNT of around 53,4. There are no similar studies in children and it is worth considering that children typically have a better prognosis than adults. Whilst prednisolone orally would be appropriate and safe for most children there may be instances where the risks of oral steroids could be considered too great to justify their use i.e. in a poorly controlled diabetic patient (which is a group in whom Bell’s palsy is more prevalent).

Evidence for the use of combined steroids and antivirals

In the last decade there has been an ongoing debate around the use of oral antiviral agents such as Aciclovir in the management of Bell’s Palsy. It is widely believed that Bell’s Palsy is due to an underlying Herpes Simplex infection and PCR studies have demonstrated concurrent HSV infection at the facial nerve in adult patients with Bell’s Palsy5. Despite this, good quality, large scale studies looking at the efficacy of oral antiviral agents have failed to demonstrate a benefit3,4.


The current evidence base for the medical management of Bell’s palsy comes predominantly from adult data3,4. Children typically have a milder illness with a quicker recovery than adults irrespective of the treatment chosen1. UpToDate would have us believe that the mainstay of medical management is the use of oral steroids at a dose of 2mg/kg(max 60-80mg) for 5 days followed by a 5 day taper. Additional antiviral treatment appears to be unnecessary with large-scale, high quality studies not showing a benefit. Smaller, lower quality studies have suggested additional antivirals may be useful and these could be considered on a case by case basis6,7. For example in a severe case (complete paralysis) with clinical evidence of concurrent Herpes Simplex infection it may be worth considering additional antiviral medication such as oral Aciclovir.



  1. Peitersen E. Bell’s palsy: the spontaneous course of 2,500 peripheral facial nerve palsies of different etiologies. ActaOtolaryngol Suppl. 2002.
  2. https://www.aan.com/Guidelines/Home/GetGuidelineContent/574 (Last accessed 19/08/2014 at 12:03)
  3. Sullivan FM, Swan IR, Donnan PT et al. Early treatment with prednisolone or acyclovir in Bell’s palsy. N Engl J Med. 2007;357(16):1598.
  4. Yeo SG, Lee YC, Park DC, Cha CI. Acyclovir and steroid versus steroid alone in the treatment of Bell’s palsy. Am J. Otolaryngol 2008;29:163–168.
  5. Schirm J, Mulkens PS. Bell’s palsy and herpes simplex virus. APMIS. 1997;105(11):815.
  6. Minnerop M, Herbst M, Fimmers R, Kaabar P et al. Bell’s palsy: combined treatment of famciclovir and prednisone is superior to prednisone alone. Neurol. 2008 Nov;255(11):1726-30.
  7. Lee HY, Byun JY, Park MS, Yeo SG.Steroid-antiviral treatment improves the recovery rate in patients with severe Bell’s palsy.Am J Med. 2013 Apr;126(4):336-41.

August 2014

August is full of cyclical vomiting, insect bites, asthma plans and NICE “do not do” recommendations.  Do leave comments….