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Numb and Number: A Practical Approach to Periperhal Neuropathy: Product of the Year at the 2011 Reynolds Grantees Meeting (1st Place)

Peripheral neuropathy is a common complication of systemic diseases such as diabetes mellitus. Although the exact cause remains unknown, peripheral neuropathy can cause significant health concerns and decrease the quality of life for those with this condition. Although a prevalent problem in the clinical setting, instruction in this debilitating process is quite poor or even lacking. Drs. Vivyenne Roche, Mike Singer and Lindsay Oksenberg from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have certainly filled a curricular gap with their POGOe product: Numb and Number: A Practical Approach to Peripheral Neuropathy. Attendees of the Reynolds Grantees’ Meeting with over 40 medical schools represented have acknowledged this and have rightly chosen it as the 2011 Product of the Year.

Numb and Number: A Practical Approach to Peripheral Neuropathy is a self-directed interactive instructional web-based module, which comprehensively reviews the approach to peripheral nerve disorders. As described by its authors, it will tune up your anatomy skills (including the brachial plexus and lumbosacral plexus) and is presented within a clinical framework. It includes key aspects of history-taking, a step-wise clinical exam, etiologies, evaluation, management, a quiz, references and even the Texas Plexus Game to test your new skills.

The flash-based module is divided into sections: 1) an instructional module focusing on data gathering (history and physical exam), a detailed review of the upper and lower limb plexuses, common etiologies and management utilizing both non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic approaches; 2) a 5-item multiple choice type pre- and post-test; 3) a game/quiz (Texas Plexus Game) that tests one’s knowledge of the brachial and lumbosacral plexuses and their associated dysfunctions by rolling over their diagrammatic representations; 4) a summary pocket card; 5) further readings and references.

Highlights include a brief tutorial at the start of the module that introduces the user to specific navigation tools. The flash-animation and illustrations are of high quality. The navigation buttons allow you to control the instructional pace of the module giving the user the ability to advance or review materials. The post-test allows the users to review their submitted answers and see what they got correct. However, it does not give the rationale for the incorrect choices. One other limitation is the audio quality, which can sound muffled and difficult to understand. This improves with increasing the volume or using headphones. However, if one sets the volume while listening, it seems to reset to default volume setting as soon as you hit ‘Continue’ thus forcing the user to readjust the volume control each time. The pocket card would be more useful if it also included the important nerve distributions emphasized thoroughly in the module.

These are definitely minor quibbles on this well-designed and conceived POGOe product. Try this 2011 Product of the Year at! It’s FREE!