Developing the NeuroRelay App: A Neurology Atlas & Clinical Problem-Solving Tool

Elizabeth Johnson, Haley Riley, Audrey Byrd, Marah Smith, Alexander Eddy, Paul Gignac, Haley O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In medical education, the nervous system is often reported to be the most challenging subject by students and practitioners. This entrenched dislike and fear of neuroanatomy has led to a culture of ?neurophobia,? where a reciprocal cycle of learning-aversion leads to poor clinical understanding that ultimately impairs patient care. The primary source of neurophobia is high perceived difficulty, which precipitates low levels of interest and knowledge. Additional contributors include: 1) clinical translation of neuroanatomy, 2) visualization of structures, and 3) appreciation of 3D relationships. In response to these barriers, our medical-student-inclusive research team is developing ?NeuroRelay?: an app that combines a 3D neuroanatomy atlas with dynamic clinical problem-solving exercises. This descriptive study provides an overview of NeuroRelay development and the role of medical students in increasing the accessibility of medical education. NeuroRelay is made possible by recent OSU-CHS led efforts to capture some of the highest-resolution images of the human brain through tissue contrast staining and powerful microCT scanning. Using these techniques, an MRI-like image is produced every 40 to 90 microns (1 micron = 1 millionth of a meter), visualizing the central nervous system in unparalleled detail. From these high-resolution scans, medical students and principal investigators build interactive 3D digital models from microCT and MRI scans that showcase neuroanatomical systems (cortical regions, nuclei, tracts). These models can be viewed in augmented + virtual reality, and animated to demonstrate how signals are transmitted throughout the nervous system. NeuroRelay will also be programmed to identify sites of nervous system injury (?lesions?) and engage learning and retention through rapid-recall quizzes. We anticipate that this student-inclusive initiative will enhance spatial anatomical knowledge and more directly target students? needs during learning. Ultimately, we hope that better and bespoke learning tools can address neurology learning aversion, empowering more students to consider neurology specializations.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - 14 May 2021


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