Introduction Neurophobia – ‘a fear of the neural sciences and clinical neurology’1 is an established phenomenon amongst medical students and physicians.1–3 Conclusions from previous studies indicate a need for more neurology teaching,2 3 with basic neuroscience felt to be extremely useful.2 This study examines whether a concise, focused tutorial integrating basic neuroscience with clinical neurology helps overcome neurophobia.
Methods Students from the University of Bristol (n=56) were surveyed using quantitative and qualitative questions pre/post/1 month after a 15 minute tutorial on neurological examination, integrating the relevant anatomy and physiology with clinical findings.
Results Analysis was performed using Wilcoxon signed ranks and Freidman testing. Comparing pre and post surveys there was a statistically significant improvement (p<0.05) in knowledge, confidence and understanding of clinical signs. Importantly this increased confidence persisted when students were re-surveyed 1 month later. Responses to difficulties faced when learning neurology include the following themes (1) complex/overwhelming subject, (2) lack of teaching, (3) inability to correlate neuroanatomy with clinical presentation.
Conclusion When teaching students (or even clinicians) with “neurophobia”, always commence with a review of basic neuroscience as a foundation on which to build an understanding of neurological function in health and disease.