We're big believers in the good of gaming. Gamers have demonstrated that collective reasoning enables them to crack the code of an Aids-like virus, and display incredible hand-eye coordination. Now, scientists gave game-playing students virtual surgery tools and measured their skills against resident doctors.
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston study used machines that replicate surgical procedures — suturing, passing off needles and other tasks. The participants' competency was based on such things as how much tension was placed on the instruments and hand eye coordination.
In addition to the gamer group doing better, there was an interesting finding among their subset. This group had been composed of high school students who played two hours a day and college students who played four. It turns out the high school students did the best.
Before we all start envisioning teenagers scrubbing in, the research study also performed comparative tests on the participants. They were asked to perform simulations without the robotic aids that require a different set of cognitive skills to complete the tasks. Score this one for the residents.
What does this all mean? Well, it may not apply to today's generation of surgeons, but it does suggest that having a gaming background could help the next generation of surgeons. Ultimately, the researchers say the report shows how medical institutions should shape how future surgeons are trained.
So when Mom tells you to put down the controller you can remind her you could be a surgeon one day with all those mad skills you posses. That's a hard argument to top.