The role of cognitive training in endourology: A randomized controlled trial

Munuzza Shah, A. Aydin, A. Moran, M.S. Khan, P. Dasgupta, K. Ahmed

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Introduction Cognitive training is an important training modality which allows the user to rehearse a procedure without physically carrying it out. This has led to recent interests to incorporate cognitive training within surgical education but research is currently limited. The use of cognitive training in surgery is not clear-cut and so this study aimed to determine whether, relative to a control condition, the use of cognitive training improves technical surgical skills on a ureteroscopy simulator, and if so whether one cognitive training method is superior. Methods This prospective, comparative study recruited 59 medical students and randomized them to one of three groups: control- simulation training only (n = 20), flashcards cognitive training group (n = 20) or mental imagery cognitive training group (n = 19). All participants completed three tasks at baseline on the URO Mentor simulator followed by the cognitive intervention if randomized to receive it. Participants then returned to perform an assessment task on the simulator. Outcome measures from the URO Mentor performance report was used for analysis and a quantitative survey was given to all participants to assess usefulness of training received. Results This study showed cognitive training to have minimal effects on technical skills of participants. The mental imagery group had fewer laser misfires in the assessment task when compared to both control and flashcards group (p = 0.017, p = 0.036, respectively). The flashcards group rated their preparation to be most useful when compared to control (p = 0.0125). Other parameters analyzed between the groups did not reach statistical significance. Cognitive training was found to be feasible and cost effective when carried out in addition to simulation training. Conclusion This study has shown that the role of cognitive training within acquisition of surgical skills is minimal and that no form of cognitive training was superior to another. Further research needs to be done to evaluate other ways of performing cognitive training.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActas Urológicas Españolas (English Edition)
Early online date21 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


  • Surgical education
  • Cognitive training
  • Mental imagery
  • Surgical simulation
  • Urological simulation
  • Urological training
  • Evaluación quirúrgica
  • Formación cognitiva
  • Imágenes mentales
  • Simulación quirúrgica
  • Simulación urológica
  • Formación urológica


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