Virtual and stereoscopic anatomy: when virtual reality meets medical education

Jose Weber Vieira de Faria Department of Neurosurgery, Federal University of Uberlândia, Uberlândia; and

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Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira Department of Neurosurgery and

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Leonardo de Moura Sousa Júnior Division of Neurological Surgery, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

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Jose Pinhata Otoch Department of Neurosurgery and

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Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo Department of Neurosurgery and

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OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to construct, implement, and evaluate an interactive and stereoscopic resource for teaching neuroanatomy, accessible from personal computers.

METHODS

Forty fresh brains (80 hemispheres) were dissected. Images of areas of interest were captured using a manual turntable and processed and stored in a 5337-image database. Pedagogic evaluation was performed in 84 graduate medical students, divided into 3 groups: 1 (conventional method), 2 (interactive nonstereoscopic), and 3 (interactive and stereoscopic). The method was evaluated through a written theory test and a lab practicum.

RESULTS

Groups 2 and 3 showed the highest mean scores in pedagogic evaluations and differed significantly from Group 1 (p < 0.05). Group 2 did not differ statistically from Group 3 (p > 0.05). Size effects, measured as differences in scores before and after lectures, indicate the effectiveness of the method. ANOVA results showed significant difference (p < 0.05) between groups, and the Tukey test showed statistical differences between Group 1 and the other 2 groups (p < 0.05). No statistical differences between Groups 2 and 3 were found in the practicum. However, there were significant differences when Groups 2 and 3 were compared with Group 1 (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS

The authors conclude that this method promoted further improvement in knowledge for students and fostered significantly higher learning when compared with traditional teaching resources.

ABBREVIATIONS

QT = QuickTime; QTVR = QT virtual reality.
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