Bone health in children with neuromuscular disorders

I completed my basic and specialty training in Paediatrics from India after which I moved to UK to pursue a career in Paediatric Neurology. After 2 years of Paediatric Neurology training in UK, I came to Australia for Epilepsy Fellowship and decided to stay here. Fortunately, I wasn’t deported! and managed to complete my fellowship at CHW. Currently, I am working as a Paediatric Neurologist at CHW with special interest in Complex Epilepsy and Epilepsy surgery.

I intend to complete the Masters project this year after which I would like to pursue research in the field of childhood epilepsy.

Interview by Russell Dale


Please provide an overview of your Masters project and why it is important

I started my project whilst doing Neurogenetics fellowship. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that our study group is at high risk of osteoporosis and pathological fractures but there is a dearth of literature on prevention of fractures in this population. My project is evaluating various bone markers to determine the risk factors for fracture in these patients and develop guidelines for the management of bone health in these patients.


What is the main skill you have learnt in your Masters so far?

Statistics and statistics. I have also gained experience in developing research plan and various research methodologies.


You are now a full time Staff specialist- Always difficult finding time for research. How do you manage it?

It has been tough and difficult to juggle between the two. Since clinical work takes a priority, the research has been going slow. However, my supervisor/s and yourself have been very supportive and accommodating. Hopefully, with the setting of a time table, I would stick to the deadlines. I have been kindly granted some time off by the departmental head as well to complete the project.


Is doing a research degree what you expected?

No, I have always considered myself a clinician and research was not on the agenda. However, with time, I have realized that research is part and parcel of being a good clinician and with involvement in couple of clinical trials; I wanted to pursue a research degree. The other minor reason for pursuing research degree was to enhance my CV.


You have trained in UK and in Australia. What are the differences and similarities? Do you think everyone should train abroad?

I think there are lots of similarities, but some differences as well. From a training perspective when I came to Australia in 2009 when there was no structured training program or a Paediatric neurology curriculum for Australian trainees (There is one now). However, in terms of experience and learning, I would certainly favour CHW and Australia. Neurophysiology training is part of your training but this is not in UK, at least wasn’t the case in London.

Yes, I agree that everyone should do part of their training abroad. This diversifies their experience and gives them a broader perspective on management of neurological conditions in different parts of the world. The trainee can also build their skills in a particular field by working at a center which has an expertise in the area.


If a friend from St. Elsewhere was visiting and you wanted to impress them, where would you take them in Sydney?

BILLUS in Harris Park!! (curry house …)