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Introduction: Veterinary and medical students perceive neurology as a difficult, even fearful subject, a phenomonen called “neurophobia” (Abulaban et al. Neurosciences Riyadh 2015; 20 37–40). To successfully acquire clinical skills and establish knowledge in neurosciences, anatomical fundamentals are essential. Our aim was to design a new elective course for preclinical veterinary students combining neuroanatomy and clinical neurology. Material and Methods: Basic concept of the course was the didactic-systematic teaching of neurological symptoms based on functional and topographic anatomy. In close collaboration with clinical partners, disorders such as laryngeal hemiplegia, lumbosacral stenosis or bladder dysfunction were selected. Teaching strategy was group work. Each group consisting of 3–5 students had to compile a protocol and perform dissections in a self-responsible way. Providing high expertise, neuroanatomy and clinical neurology specialists supported each lesson of the course. To share results a poster session was implemented as tool to provide a professional communication tutorial. Students 0 perception of the course was evaluated using questionnaires.
Results: All groups prepared precise dissection protocols. Preparations were carried out with high level of emphasis on relevant anatomical structures, key to elucidate neurological signs of respective disease. During presentation students confirmed that acquired knowledge on anatomical background is needed to understand relevant parts of the neurological examination. Evaluation of the course was excellent. Students expressed their appreciation of a greater learning effect by dissecting relevant structures involved in certain disease processes. Group discussions about important anatomical structures and relation to the disease were evaluated particularly rewarding.
Conclusion: For students the course provided an increase of understanding that the first step in solving a clinical neurological problem is its exact anatomical localization. Interlinking of anatomical and clinical aspects of neurological diseases offers an in-depth learning experience of functional neuroanatomy and provides a key tool to manage the challenging field of clinical neurology.