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Descriptive neuroradiology: beyond the hummingbird
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  • Published on:
    Response to: Beyond the hummingbird - Deer Drs...
    • Brian T Gibney, Radiologist Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
    • Other Contributors:
      • Ciaran E Redmond, Radiologist

    Dear Editor,

    We read with great interest the recent article by Drs Page & Gaillard describing neuroradiology signs and their variable utility [1].

    We recently attempted to bring science to the art of descriptive radiological signs by conducting a randomized controlled trial to assess the utility of these signs for medical student radiology education [2]. We found that ‘Metaphoric Signs’ (linking radiology resemblance to an object or concept which is not actually present in an image) increased descriptive and diagnostic ability as well as students’ lesson enjoyment, when compared to teaching with normal anatomy comparators.

    The importance of diagnostic accuracy of commonly used signs was similarly emphasised in our discussion. In addition to being diagnostically accurate, the success of a metaphoric sign also relies on how well it resonates with each individual learner, based on their perception of the real-world similarity alluded to in the radiology image and their prior experiences[3,4]. This is aptly exemplified by Author FG’s stronger association of the pontine appearance in osmotic demyelination with a blockbuster sci-fi trilogy than classical mythology.

    An interesting observation in our study was that several students used incorrect wording for the name of the signs yet identified the correct diagnosis. Students who correctly diagnosed agenesis of the corpus callosum from a coronal MRI image containing the ‘Moose head sign’ [5] varia...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.

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