Doctors Invent Medical Card Game to Teach Diagnosis

Share Article, designer of games about medicine, releases "Occam's Razor," a card game about medical diagnosis. The game uses cards that represent symptoms of disease to help medical students and nursing students practice their proficiency at diagnosis.

Nerdcore Medical releases today a new medical card game to help nursing students, medical students, and health professionals practice diagnosing patients. "Occam's Razor" features 14 different diseases, from Acute Appendicitis to Septic Arthritis, and draws on two classic philosophical principles: Occam's razor, ("the simplest explanation is to be preferred,") and Hickam's dictum, ("patients can have as many diseases as they please.")

Teachers are increasingly turning to "serious games" to enrich and motivate learning. This includes games about medicine. "There is so much rote memorization in medical school," says Dr. Arun Mathews, co-founder of the company. "When I was a student I was desperate for any alternatives. Research shows that students learn better when they are doing something they enjoy. With Occam's Razor, students can absorb medical knowledge in a much more entertaining fashion. They can also study together, and use the game to compete or show off their hard work."

In Occam's Razor, up to six players try to collect enough symptom cards to support a diagnosis. A patient walks in with a fever, and painful, swollen joints. A lab test shows elevated ESR. Is it Arthritis? (Rheumatoid or Septic?) Is it Gout? Players need to find an additional symptom to narrow it down. The more unique symptoms, the more certain the diagnosis, and the higher the score. The game can also be played in solitaire mode, or adjusted for players with no previous medical knowledge.

Occam's Razor was created by Drs. Arun and Zeeba Mathews, practicing doctors in Texas, and game designer Brandon Patton. It is Nerdcore Medical's second game release. Their first game, "Healing Blade: Infectious Disease Card Battle," sold out quickly at the American Medical Student Association's convention in 2010, and is now available as an iPad app.

Occam's Razor is available online for purchase at

Nerdcore Medical, a disruptive education startup focused on applying game layers to traditional education, makes games and study aids about medicine. Nerdcore Medical aspires to make beautiful, intricate things that are entertaining while also being educational. Nerdcore Medical is based in Midland, Texas.

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Brandon Patton
since: 07/2013
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