Tuesday, 20 February 2007 08:56

Play video games and become a better surgeon

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A new paper from a team of medical researchers claims that research shows playing video games will help surgeons become more skilled and make fewer mistakes, No this is not April 1 and this is not a hoax.

According to the paper, "The Impact of Video Games on Training Surgeons in the 21st Century", which has appeared in professional medical publication Archives of Surgery this month, anecdotal observations of young surgeons suggest that video game play contributes to performance excellence in laparoscopic surgery.

Therefore the research set out to test the hypotheses that training benefits for surgeons who play video games should be quantifiable and there is a potential link between video game play and laparoscopic surgical skill and suturing.

The research led by Dr James C Rosser from the Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Medical Center, and a team of colleagues tested 33 surgeons including 21 residents and 12 attending physicians with various levels of gaming experience. The results were nothing short of astounding.

Surgeons who had previously played video games more than 3 hours a week had made 37% fewer errors and were 27% faster in completion of surgical procedures than non-gamers, Current video game players made 32% fewer errors and performed 24% faster than their nonplaying colleagues.

The conclusions: Video game skill correlates with laparoscopic surgical skills. Training curricula that include video games may help thin the technical interface between surgeons and screen-mediated applications, such as laparoscopic surgery. Video games may be a practical teaching tool to help train surgeons.

However, before budding young gamers do handsprings and tell parents that playing Monkey Ball 2 will help them become surgeons, it should be noted that a sample size of 33 doctors hardly provides conclusive scientific evidence.

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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