71| Neuropsych Bite: Pediatric Transverse Myelitis – A Conversation With Dr. Lana Harder

Transverse myelitis is a disorder of spinal cord inflammation and demyelination. Although more common in adults, it does occur in children.  In the past, people believed that transverse myelitis was not associated with cognitive symptoms, given that it exclusively impacts the spinal cord (not the brain).  However, recent evidence suggests that performance on cognitive testing can be negatively impacted in some children with transverse myelitis.  To learn more about this condition in children, John and Ryan speak with Lana Harder, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, who is a founding member and current Co-Director of the Children’s Medical Center Pediatric Demyelinating Disease Clinic.

A pdf of the transcript for this episode is available here.

Topics Covered

  • Transverse myelitis pathophysiology, prevalence, and course
  • Differential diagnosis with other demyelinating disorders in children
  • Common physical symptoms and medical treatments
  • Possible cognitive symptoms
  • Tips for conducting neuropsychological evaluations in children with this condition

About Lana

Dr. Lana Harder is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist and pediatric neuropsychologist.  She is the Manager of Neuropsychology Service and Neuropsychology Training Director at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.  She holds dual faculty appointments as Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at University of Texas Southwestern.  Additionally, she was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) and the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN).  She is also a Clinical Neuropsychology Ambassador to the American Board of Professional Psychology Early Career Psychologist Task Force.

Selected References

Harder, L. L., Holland, A. A., Frohman, E., Graves, D., & Greenberg, B. M. (2012). Cognitive functioning in pediatric transverse myelitis. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 19(7), 947-952.

Tan, A., Hague, C., Greenberg, B. M., & Harder, L. (2018). Neuropsychological outcomes of pediatric demyelinating diseases: a review. Child Neuropsychology, 24(5), 575-597.