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Gaming Surgeons Have Steadier Hands

Seek a surgeon that likes to play videogames and odds are the doctor is less likely to make a mistake. The Associated Press reports that in a recent study, researchers found that doctors who spend at least three hours a week playing videogames made about 37% fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the tasks 27% faster than their counterparts who did not play videogames.

Dr. James Burch Rosser, 49, demonstrated the results of his study at Beth Israel Medical Center on April 6, 2004. I use the same hand-eye coordination to play videogames as I use for surgery, he said.

During laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon operates a tiny camera and instruments controlled by joysticks outside of the body. Surgeons watch an external video screen as they manipulate the mini-video camera inserted into the patient and surgical tools by remote control. Surgeons practice their techniques through video simulations.

Rosser demonstrated he uses the same skill playing a SUPER MONKEY BALL game that he needs to, go into a body and sew two pieces of intestine together.

Researchers with Beth Israel and the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa University conducted the study on whether good videogame skills translate into surgical prowess. The study tested 33 fellow doctors 12 attending physicians and 21 medical schools residents who participated from May to August 2003.

With a videogame, you can definitely develop timing and a sense of touch, as well as a intuitive feel for manipulating devices, said Kurt Squire, a University of Wisconsin research of videogame effects on learning.

Rosser has created a course called Top Gun, in which surgical trainees warm up their con coordination, agility and accuracy with a videogame before entering surgery.