Monday, February 19, 2007

New Study Indicates Video Games and Surgeons a Good Mix

In an interesting and quirky study, researchers have found that Surgeons who play video games are more skilled and dexterous at performing a specific type of surgery. The study will be published in the February issue of Archives of Surgery and confirms previous reports that playing video games helps hand eye coordination and precision skills. The study focused on the fine laparoscopic surgery.

Perhaps most surprising was that the scores on the test showed video games improved a surgeon's skills more than both training or experience. I think this has been thrown around a lot in recent years that video games do help but, despite the medical field being "cutting edge", gaps still exist, specifically in training and changing tactics. I think this shows that perhaps some sort of new curriculum should be added like a "virtual operation" of sorts where the surgeon must perform surgeries that are harder than real life ones in order to boost their skills.

Of course, researchers may be able to analyze this even further by looking at the types of games the surgeons have played and how that relates, if at all, to the increased scores. Detailed analysis may lead to a recommended set of games for surgeons to play to keep their skills sharp. Here are some raw numbers from the study:
"Out of 33 surgeons from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York that participated in the study, the nine doctors who had at some point played video games at least three hours per week made 37 percent fewer errors, performed 27 percent faster, and scored 42 percent better in the test of surgical skills than the 15 surgeons who had never played video games before."
This is one of the few studies that has actually focused on the good behaviors video games can influence and supports previous research on the topic.

[via CNN]

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