Surgeons outperform normative controls on neuropsychologic tests, but age-related decay of skills persists

Zackary Boom-Saad, Scott A. Langenecker, Linas A. Bieliauskas, Christopher J. Graver, Jillian R. O'Neill, Angela F. Caveney, Lazar J. Greenfield, Rebecca M. Minter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The present study was undertaken to determine if psychomotor and visual-spatial abilities improve as a result of surgical training or are enhanced at baseline in those individuals choosing a surgical career. Methods: Medical students entering a surgical field and practicing surgeons performed a series of neuropsychologic tests. Performance was compared between surgeon groups, as well as with normative aged-matched controls. Results: An age-related decline was noted in the performance of all exercises, with the medical student group outperforming the midcareer surgeons, who in turn outperformed the senior surgeons. Interestingly, however, all 3 groups significantly outperformed their normative control groups on some or all tasks. Conclusions: Improved visual memory and psychomotor performance compared with normative controls appears to be present at baseline rather than resulting from surgical training. Decline in performance with age is observed, however, and this should be considered when an older surgeon is learning new visually complex procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-209
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Volume195
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2008

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Keywords

  • Aging
  • Attention
  • Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB)
  • Medical students
  • Psychomotor performance
  • Surgeons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

Cite this

Boom-Saad, Z., Langenecker, S. A., Bieliauskas, L. A., Graver, C. J., O'Neill, J. R., Caveney, A. F., ... Minter, R. M. (2008). Surgeons outperform normative controls on neuropsychologic tests, but age-related decay of skills persists. American Journal of Surgery, 195(2), 205-209. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2007.11.002