Neurology Center at CHOC Has Moved to New Location

We are now serving our neurology patients in a beautiful new location! The address is: CHOC Children’s Neuroscience Center (formerly CHOC Children’s Neurology Clinic), 505 S. Main Street, Suite 350, in Orange.

The new location features 15 exam rooms with large monitors for viewing test results; several team conference areas; a patient and family-friendly reception area with learning and gaming centers; and wider hallways and a plate- push front door in consideration of our patients and families using wheelchairs. The expanded space allows for future growth, including the upcoming launch of our tuberous sclerosis program.

Please note our hours of operation and phone numbers remain unchanged.

To schedule an appointment, please call the Patient Access Center (PAC) at 1-888-770-2462. Should you have any questions or concerns, please call 714-509-7601.

For a campus map, click here for English and Spanish. Please note the CHOC Children’s Neuroscience Center is located in the CHOC Commerce Tower (#13 on the map legend, with parking directly adjacent to the building.)

We look forward to seeing you in our new location.

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Migranes: Not Just an Adult Ailment

Think only grown-ups get migraines? Think again. This painful neurological condition is also common among children.

In fact, one in 20 children – or about 8 million children nationwide – experience migraine headaches. While migraines may be very painful, the good news is that kids can take steps to help prevent the ache.

Dr. Sharief Taraman, a CHOC Children’s neurologist, explains a migraine’s symptoms and causes, treatment methods, and what patients and their families can do to minimize migraines.

Head pain, other symptoms
Migraines are a specific type of headache, Dr. Taraman says. Sufferers endure throbbing, pulsating or pounding pain, either on one side of the head or both. Migraines may also impose a host of other symptom:

• Abdominal discomfort
• Nausea and/or vomiting
• Light sensitivity
• Noise sensitivity
• Dizziness or lightheadedness

But even with these symptoms, it might not always be clear that a child is suffering from a migraine because symptoms are often disconnected in children, Dr. Taraman says. For example, a child might have a stomachache but no headache, or perhaps light sensitivity but no nausea.

Children also might have difficulty expressing what exactly is bothering them, he explains. Parents should work with children to help them describe their symptoms and keep a close eye on behaviors. For example, a child might seek out a dark, quiet room but not specifically complain that lights or noises are bothering them.

The trigger factor

Migraines start when blood vessels in the brain constrict. This limits the amount of blood and oxygen flowing into the brain, which causes other blood vessels to expand. These dilating blood vessels become inflamed and result in a pounding headache or the other associated symptoms.

Certain environmental factors can often trigger migraines and the causes can differ among sufferers.

Triggers vary, but they can be linked to diet, hormones or even too much screen time, Dr. Taraman says. Common edible migraine culprits include chocolate, cheeses, and foods treated with nitrates, like lunch meat and pepperoni.

Dr. Taraman recommends that children keep a diary to help uncover migraine triggers. Document when migraines occur and what the child ate, did or experienced in the days prior. Be sure to build in some extra time: Often a certain food or behavior might lead to a migraine the next day.

Migraine diagnosis, treatment
There’s no blood test that can diagnose migraines and imaging is seldom needed, Dr. Taraman says. Instead, physicians rely on a physical examination and family history.

“Family history is huge,” he says. “Migraines run in families.”

Once a child knows he or she is experiencing migraines, over-the-counter pain relievers can help dull the ache. However, Dr. Taraman reminds parents to follow directions and avoid overuse.

Overusing over-the-counter pain relievers, more than twice a month, can result in “rebound headaches,” or head pain that develops even more intensely after medication wears off.

Finding a dark, quiet place to rest can help a child battle a migraine, as can warm or cold compresses, Dr. Taraman says. However, each person responds to temperature differently, so families can experiment with warmth or cold to see what method works best for their child, he advises.

Parents of chronic migraine sufferers should alert their child’s teacher and school nurse to the condition. The school, parents and child can work together to ensure that the student can leave class if necessary and find a quiet place to rest until the pain subsides.

Finally, if a headache is ever accompanied by weakness or numbness in one side of the body or slurred speech, parents should take the child to the emergency department immediately, Dr. Taraman cautions. This could be a symptom of stroke, which do occur in children.

‘Headache hygiene’ aids prevention
Because environmental factors can trigger migraines, kids can take measures to help keep migraines at bay, Dr. Taraman says. After keeping a diary and determining trigger foods or behaviors, avoiding these red flags can help tremendously.

In addition, general healthy habits can also stave off migraines. These steps are part of good “headache hygiene.”

• Get enough sleep
• Eat a balanced diet
• Stay properly hydrated
• Cope with stress
• Get plenty of exercise

Learn more about CHOC Children’s Neuroscience Institute.

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Neuroscience: Then and Now

When I fell out of that tree in 1964, special doctors called neurologists made sure everything was just fine with my brain.

A patient undergoes epilepsy monitoring at CHOC at Mission Hospital.

Since then, I’ve enjoyed watching how things have changed in the field of neuroscience, especially when it comes to epilepsy treatment.

Epilepsy is a relatively common condition that causes the body to produce seizures. In the 1960s, children with epilepsy relied solely on medication to limit seizures.

Today, we have a variety of treatment options. Children may still rely on medication, but also great advancements have come in epilepsy surgery. Other options include a special diet or a technique called Vagus Nerve Stimulation that sends small pulses of energy to the brain from a large nerve in the neck.

We also have new technology and techniques to learn more about a patient’s seizures. Epilepsy monitoring units help patients undergo intensive neuro-diagnostic monitoring around the clock to pinpoint where and why a patient experiences a seizure.

No matter the treatment method, kids with epilepsy are in great hands and have bright futures thanks to CHOC and its Neuroscience Institute.


CHOC Children’s Neuroscience Institute specializes in bringing hope to patients and their families living with complex neurological disorders. The largest and most comprehensive neuroscience center in the region, the institute has clinical and support staff who are specifically trained in the care of children. The institute offers an extensive baclofen pump program; serves as the only regional, dedicated pediatric neuroscience inpatient unit; and is one a handful of epilepsy programs in the country that provides continuous care for infants through adolescents.

Learn more about CHOC’s Neuroscience Institute.