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Disparity in frontal lobe connectivity on a complex bimanual motor task aids in classification of operator skill level.

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Title: Disparity in frontal lobe connectivity on a complex bimanual motor task aids in classification of operator skill level.
Authors: Andreu-Perez, J
Leff, DR
Shetty, K
Darzi, A
Yang, GZ
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Objective metrics of technical performance (e.g., dexterity, time, and path length) are insufficient to fully characterize operator skill level, which may be encoded deep within neural function. Unlike reports that capture plasticity across days or weeks, this articles studies long-term plasticity in functional connectivity that occurs over years of professional task practice. Optical neuroimaging data are acquired from professional surgeons of varying experience on a complex bimanual coordination task with the aim of investigating learning-related disparity in frontal lobe functional connectivity that arises as a consequence of motor skill level. The results suggest that prefrontal and premotor seed connectivity is more critical during naïve versus expert performance. Given learning-related differences in connectivity, a least-squares support vector machine with a radial basis function kernel is employed to evaluate skill level using connectivity data. The results demonstrate discrimination of operator skill level with accuracy ≥0.82 and Multiclass Matthews Correlation Coefficient ≥0.70. Furthermore, these indices are improved when local (i.e., within-region) rather than inter-regional (i.e., between-region) frontal connectivity is considered (p = 0.002). The results suggest that it is possible to classify operator skill level with good accuracy from functional connectivity data, upon which objective assessment and neurofeedback may be used to improve operator performance during technical skill training.
Issue Date: 12-Apr-2016
Date of Acceptance: 1-Feb-2016
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/31512
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/brain.2015.0350
ISSN: 2158-0022
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert
Start Page: 375
End Page: 388
Journal / Book Title: Brain Connectivity
Volume: 6
Issue: 5
Copyright Statement: © 2016 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Funder's Grant Number: EP/M000257/1
Keywords: functional connectivity
functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)
motor learning
operator skill level
optical topography
technical skill levels assessment
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Department of Surgery and Cancer
Institute of Global Health Innovation
Faculty of Engineering