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Development and Assessment of a New 3D Neuroanatomy Teaching Tool for MRI Training
Mathematics Faculty Scholarship
  • Zachary Drapkin
  • Kristen Lindgren
  • Michael J. Lopez, Skidmore College
  • Maureen Estevez
Document Type
Publication Date
  • neuroanatomy education,
  • medical education,
  • brain,
  • magnetic resonance imaging,
  • three-dimensional,
  • two-dimensional sections,
  • brain imaging,
  • computer-based instructions
A computerized three-dimensional (3D) neuroanatomy teaching tool was developed for training medical students to identify subcortical structures on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) series of the human brain. This program allows the user to transition rapidly between two-dimensional (2D) MRI slices, 3D object composites, and a combined model in which 3D objects are overlaid onto the 2D MRI slices, all while rotating the brain in any direction and advancing through coronal, sagittal, or axial planes. The efficacy of this tool was assessed by comparing scores from an MRI identification quiz and survey in two groups of first-year medical students. The first group was taught using this new 3D teaching tool, and the second group was taught the same content for the same amount of time but with traditional methods, including 2D images of brain MRI slices and 3D models from widely used textbooks and online sources. Students from the experimental group performed marginally better than the control group on overall test score (P = 0.07) and significantly better on test scores extracted from questions involving C-shaped internal brain structures (P < 0.01). Experimental participants also expressed higher confidence in their abilities to visualize the 3D structure of the brain (P = 0.02) after using this tool. Furthermore, when surveyed, 100% of the students in the experimental group recommended this tool for future students. These results suggest that this neuroanatomy teaching tool is an effective way to train medical students to read an MRI of the brain and is particularly effective for teaching C-shaped internal brain structures.
Published In
Anatomical Sciences Education
Citation Information
Zachary Drapkin, Kristen Lindgren, Michael J. Lopez, Maureen Estevez, “Development and assessment of a new 3D neuroanatomy teaching tool for MRI training,” Anatomical Sciences Education, 2015