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Expert Instructors in Brain Surgery Training Outperform Artificial Intelligence Tutoring

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During a simulated brain tumor removal, machine learning algorithms improved technical performance and learning outcomes. The COVID-19 epidemic has given medical training with both obstacles and opportunity. In a variety of disciplines, remote learning has become increasingly significant. According to a new study, an artificial intelligence (AI) tutoring system can beat skilled human instructors in a remote setting.

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Seventy medical students were recruited by the Neurosurgical Simulation and Artificial Intelligence Learning Centre at The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) to undertake virtual brain tumor removals on a neurosurgical simulator. Students were randomly allocated to either an AI tutor or a remote expert instructor for training and feedback, with a third control group getting no instruction.

While a deep learning Intelligent Continuous Expertise Monitoring System (ICEMS) and a panel of experts assessed student performance, an AI-powered tutor called the Virtual Operative Assistant (VOA) used a machine-learning algorithm to teach safe and efficient surgical technique and provide personalized feedback.

Remote instructors observed a live feed of the surgical simulations and provided feedback based on the student’s performance in the other group.

Student Training on Neurosurgical Simulator

Students who received VOA teaching and feedback learned surgical skills 2.6 times faster and performed 36 percent better than those who received training and feedback from remote instructors, according to the study. While researchers expected VOA students to experience more stress and negative emotion, they discovered no statistically significant difference between the two groups.

Both during and after brain surgery, surgical competence plays a crucial influence in patient outcomes. VOA could be a useful tool for boosting neurosurgeon performance and patient safety while lowering the workload of human instructors.

Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, the study’s principal author, adds that “artificially intelligent teachers like the VOA may become a vital instrument in the training of the next generation of neurosurgeons.” “The VOA substantially increased knowledge while promoting a positive learning atmosphere. Ongoing research is looking into how in-person teachers and AI-powered intelligent tutors may work together to increase neurosurgical skill development.”

“Intelligent tutoring systems can leverage a variety of simulation platforms to provide practically endless chances for repetitive practice without the limits imposed by the availability of supervision,” says Ali Fazlollahi, the study’s first author. “With continuing research, greater development, and diffusion of intelligent tutoring systems, we can be better equipped for ever-evolving future challenges.”

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