With a dual fellowship in Movement disorders and dementia, Dr. Jaslovleen Kaur is the first one in Punjab and adjoining states to be the one with certified training in this field. She aims to spread awareness and provide specialist and latest in the field of neurology. In conversation with Urban Melange, she talks about her journey and the current developments in the healthcare sector in India.
Q. Tell us about your journey till now. What inspired you to choose neurology as your field of specialization?
When I was in school, like any other 90’s kid, we had these two options of medical and engineering fields to choose from. I was interested in science and by default that meant that I was to become a doctor. And once I got admission in MBBS at Christian Medical College in Ludhiana, one thing led to another. Soon after I finished my post-graduation in Medicine, I felt that there was something more to be done. I chose neurology because it was a very challenging subject with difficult diagnostic dilemmas. And when I started my training at Dayanand Medical College Ludhiana, my mentor Dr. Gagandeep Singh introduced me to the “Sherlock Holmes technique” of diagnosing in neurology. As per him, every patient has a story with a riddle to solve and once that’s solved, you need to treat them with the best of your knowledge. He is a perfectionist and taught us to be the same. I feel blessed to be trained by such a great teacher.
Q. You are a specialist in Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia, what are the biggest myths and misconceptions that Indians have when it comes to these issues?
With little knowledge about diseases like Parkinsons and Dementias, people often try to learn from Google, WhatsApp and other social media websites. The common myths are that “shaking of hands” is the only symptom of Parkinsons and “loss of memory” means dementia.
Firstly about Parkinsons disease, the common symptoms to observe are slowness in activities, stiffness in arms or legs, walking difficulty, balancing problems and shaking of hands or legs. In advanced stages of Parkinsons, patients may also develop memory loss.
Secondly about dementias, remember that there are often subtle changes to be noted. It can start with forgetfulness about keeping important documents, changes in behaviour – becoming very quiet or very aggressive, repetition of things, speech or expression difficulty, and finally there can be hallucinations and delusions as well.
Lastly, people also have misconception about the treatment options available in India. But I can assure you that the treatment options available with us are now at par with any other place in the world.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge till now?
My biggest challenge has been to make the general public aware of the fact that neurological disorders in elderly, need treatment in the early stages to slow down the progression.
The human brain goes through changes in such diseases in a way that it often changes the patient’s personality. But it is very sad to see that people often neglect diseases like Parkinsons disease and Dementias, because they have this misconception that these diseases are part of the ageing process and nothing much can be done to treat them.
For this I often tell my patients the “Story of Ageing”. When we age, our body goes through many changes which includes wrinkling of skin, greying of hair, wearing off joints and many heart diseases as well. And it is very common to get joint replacements, heart treatments like stenting or surgery, and sometimes many would also like to get their hair coloured and treatments for skin. It’s all about improving the quality of life. So, in case of brain, which controls the whole body, why do we fail to understand that it needs care and due treatment as well.
Q. Tell us about the achievement that you are most proud of?
I am thankful to my teachers and my family for supporting me in achieving higher training in my field. After I finished my DM neurology, I was fascinated by movement disorders and dementias. So, I went for fellowship at National Hospital for Neurology, Queensquare in London, UK where I took special training in movement disorders and dementias. I was also able to learn the latest in this field from the best of the teachers. I was the first neurologist to start electromyography assisted botulinum toxin injections for conditions like cervical dystonia, writer’s cramp, hand tremors, headache disorders, etc. in private sector in Punjab. I was also able to start Apomorphine Pump injections for Parkinsons disease for the very first time in Punjab.
Presently I am pursuing another fellowship training at National Neuroscience Hospital, Singapore (till Jan 2023) and I wish to contribute more to this field by providing my services to patients in Punjab and adjoining areas once I return back.
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