When it comes to learning neuroanatomy, there are a number of options available for the iPad. There are 3D visualisation apps like Brain Pro NOVA or alternatively, Pocket Brain. From a radiology perspective, there is NeuroRad and now we add Brainview.
Despite the somewhat concerning fact that the brain in the app icon is the wrong way round, Brainview is a remarkably good app for understanding neuroanatomy.
BrainView is a brain MRI tutor based on MRI automatic segmentation produced by FreeSurfer – a software package developed by investigators at the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging.
Brainview uses its automatic segmentation to produce an automatic atlas of neuroimaging based on T1 MRI images which are available in coronal, sagital and transverse planes.
The user interface is straightforward and simple to use with the app opening up with a large MRI image filling the screen. Manipulating the slices is as simple as moving a slider at the bottom of the screen and naming an antomical structure is as easy as just tapping on it. If you want to know more about a particular structure then you can simply tap on the name and the wikipedia page on that structure will be loaded.
The differentiation of the various structures is very good and the detail of the content is also very high. Zooming in using standard touch gestures reveals a large degree of pixelation though. This app could definitely be improved with an update incorporating higher resolution MRI images so that you don’t lose detail when you zoom in.
If you want help differentiating and identifying various structures, you can turn on segmentation color coding. This allows each area to be easily visible.
There is also a 3D brain mode which can be pulled up with a simple tap of a button. This only displays one hemisphere. However, all the various sections are clearly labeled and color coded.
Another useful feature is the quiz mode, a feature that should be standard in all anatomy apps. This relatively simple implementation tests you over 10 questions and gives you your success rate at the end.
There is also a search function which has a list of all the structures contained in the app. Tapping on a result does not automatically bring you to the result but instead just highlights it. You have to manually scroll through the different views and planes in order to find the structure.
One useful feature missing from this app is some examples of pathology.
- Functional user interface
- Inclusion of detailed MRI images
- Quiz function
- Links to the Wikipedia page for each neuroanatomical structure
- No clinical conditions, just basic neuroanatomy
- Resolution of images could be higher
- Brainview is a detailed neuroanatomy app that contains a wealth of information and functionality which will enable budding neurosurgeons and neurologists to learn the appropriate anatomy. The addition of quiz and search functions are helpful additions to make the most of the included content.
- Junior neurosurgeons/neurologists and medical students
Rating (1 to 5 stars) Overall: 3
- User Interface: 3
- Multimedia Usage: 3
- Price: 4
- Real World Applicability: 2