A group of researchers from several US institutions have developed a method for testing the medical competence of surgeons using brain imaging technology.
Surgical skill assessment is very difficult. Until now, expert surgeons are doing this, observing the actions of their wards during the operation, as well as during tests on simulators.
Previous research has shown that the brain behaves in a certain way during activities that require complex motor skills. In particular, certain characteristics were recorded that relate motor dysfunction, level of cognitive function, motor action, perception and multitasking.
These specific characteristics of the brain can be used in the opposite direction - to compare the obtained parameters with the parameters of highly qualified doctors.
The experiment involved an expert surgeon, aspiring undergraduate surgeons, medical students practicing in institutes, and unprepared medical students. Each volunteer, after being connected to the fNIRS system, was asked to perform an operation on a simulator.
As a result, the expert surgeons were found to have better motor skills than the other groups - which, of course, was predictable. But scientists have also recorded a clear increase in professional skills among students as they learn. In conclusion, the team of scientists came to the following conclusion: the system for assessing the professional skills of surgeons they created turned out to be more effective than the generally accepted method.