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Keywords:

  • anatomical sciences education;
  • gross anatomy teaching;
  • neuroanatomy education;
  • neuroscience courses;
  • diffusion tensor imaging-based tractography;
  • DTI;
  • MRI;
  • neurosurgery;
  • neuroradiology

Neuroanatomy is considered to be one of the most difficult anatomical subjects for students. To provide motivation and improve learning outcomes in this area, clinical cases and neurosurgical images from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractographies produced using an intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging apparatus (MRI/DTI) were presented and discussed during integrated second-year neuroanatomy, neuroradiology, and neurosurgery lectures over the 2008–2011 period. Anonymous questionnaires, evaluated according to the Likert scale, demonstrated that students appreciated this teaching procedure. Academic performance (examination grades for neuroanatomy) of the students who attended all integrated lectures of neuroanatomy, was slightly though significantly higher compared to that of students who attended these lectures only occasionally or not at all (P=0.04). Significantly better results were obtained during the national progress test (focusing on morphology) by students who attended the MRI/DTI-assisted lectures, compared to those who did so only in part or not at all, compared to the average student participating in the national test. These results were obtained by students attending the second, third and, in particular, the fourth year (P≤0.0001) courses during the three academic years mentioned earlier. This integrated neuroanatomy model can positively direct students in the direction of their future professional careers without any extra expense to the university. In conclusion, interactive learning tools, such as lectures integrated with intraoperative MRI/DTI images, motivate students to study and enhance their neuroanatomy education. Anat Sci Educ 6: 294–306. © 2013 American Association of Anatomists.