Sunday, December 18, 2011

Online Health Expert Medical News Report: Functional MRI Brain Scans Yield Clues to Physician Decision Making.

Online Health Expert Medical News Flash: According to an Interesting study published in the journal PLoS One done on 35 experienced Physicians using 64 virtual case studies during training and 64 virtual patients in the testing phase and Functional MRI scans of their brains to elucidate their decision making process, the research team led by Dr. Jonathan Downar, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine in Ontario, Canada showed that Doctors who learned mainly from their successes showed low performance and a tended to make sub-optimal decision making compared to their high performing colleagues who learned equally from their mistakes (failures) and successes (positive outcomes). 

High performing Doctors' brains achieve better outcomes by attending to informative failures during training rather than chasing the reward value of successes.

This finding, labeled as confirmation bias and success chasing was shown to hinder associative learning which together produced or solidified the false beliefs in low performing physicians in this study. 

This leads us to believe that disconfirmation learning might be more beneficial in teaching Medical students and Residents so that they will not become success chasers and would be able to learn from their mistakes in the simulated clinical case scenarios and would be worthwhile to incorporate as a part of their training to improve patient outcomes. Further testing needs to be done to find direct evidence to support this type of training and its benefits.

Online Health Expert recommends learning more from one's failures rather than successes alone. It is the key to avoid spurious learning and is true for everyone and not only Doctors.

Further Reading and Sources:

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Thank you for updating your medical knowledge at Online Health Expert


Dr. Harish Malik

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Dr. Harish Malik

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