Twelve tips for teaching neuroanatomy, from the medical students' perspective

Med Teach. 2023 May;45(5):466-474. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2022.2098097. Epub 2022 Jul 22.


Neuroanatomy is a complex and fascinating subject that is often a daunting prospect for medical students. In fact, the fear of learning neuroanatomy has gained its own name - "neurophobia." This widespread phenomenon among medical students poses a challenge to medical teachers and educators. To tackle "neurophobia" by summarising tips for dynamic and engaging neuroanatomy teaching formulated based on our experiences as medical students and evidence-based techniques.Focusing on the anatomical, physiological, and clinical aspects of neurology and their integration, here we present 12 tips which are [1] Teach the basic structure before fine details, [2] Supplement teaching with annotated diagrams, [3] Use dissections for haptic learning, [4] Teach form and function together, [5] Group anatomy into systems, [6] Familiarise students with neuroimaging, [7] Teach from clinical cases, [8] Let the patient become the teacher, [9] Build from first principles, [10] Try working in reverse, [11] Let the student become the teacher, [12] Let the student become the examiner. These 12 tips can be used by teachers and students alike to provide a high-yield learning experience.

Keywords: Neuroanatomy; medical education; near-peer teaching; neurology; neurophobia; neurosurgery.

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate* / methods
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Neuroanatomy / education
  • Students, Medical*
  • Teaching