Effectiveness of a modified Continuum curriculum for medical students: A randomized trial

Richard S. Isaacson, Joseph E. Safdieh, Christopher N. Ochner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology® is a well-regarded and widely used continuing medical education tool published by the American Academy of Neurology. The objective of this study was to test the effectiveness of a modified version of the Dementia module of the Continuum curriculum, adapted for medical students rotating on their neurology clerkship, in increasing medical knowledge of dementia. Methods: A multisite longitudinal randomized controlled design was used. Medical students rotating on their Neurology clerkship were recruited from 2 US medical schools. Participants completed 10 multiple-choice questions, 1 fill-in-the-blank, and 1 patient case simulation question to assess medical knowledge of the most prevalent dementias pre- and post-curriculum implementation. All students received their standard dementia curriculum (45-minute live didactic presentation on dementia along with a copy of the slides in handout form). Students were randomized to either the intervention (standard + Continuum curriculum) or control (standard curriculum alone) group. Data collection and outcomes assessment was optimized via an interactive audience response system (pretest) and Web-based survey/database tool (post-test and student satisfaction surveys). Results: From pre- to post-clinical clerkship, medical students completing the Continuum dementia curriculum in addition to standard clerkship curriculum demonstrated significantly greater increases in medical knowledge of dementia, relative to students completing only the standard curriculum. Subscores were significantly higher among Continuum-trained students on questions regarding Alzheimer disease (AD), frontotemporal lobar dementia, Lewy body dementia, AD treatment fill-in-the-blank, and AD patient case simulation. Conclusions: The Continuum: Dementia for Medical Students curriculum provided an inexpensive and readily implementable means for improving medical knowledge of dementia. Improved performance on an AD patient case simulation may be considered a surrogate marker for optimized patient care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 11 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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