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Games help surgeons perform

42 percent better, says study.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

A recent study by big-brains in New York has shown that surgeons with a videogaming background will outperform others in areas like keyhole and laparoscopic surgery, which involve skilfully guiding alien-like tools through a small incision in a real person's abdomen, using only a television screen for navigation.

"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 videogames 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 videogames before," CNN reported.

Previous research has pointed to improved motor skills, hand-eye coordination, visual attention and depth of perception from playing computer games, but the strong correlation in the results from this day-and-a-half surgical test still surprised the study's authors.

"It was surprising that past commercial videogame play was such a strong predictor of advanced surgical skills," one boffin confressed.

Another concluded, "videogames may be a practical teaching tool to help train surgeons."

That's dangerous talk for eager parents known for previous atrocities like putting their children in beauty pageants, who may see this as a fast-track and sure-fire way into medical school for their offspring. Woah there, say the study's authors.

"Parents should not see this study as beneficial if their child is playing videogames for over an hour a day," a brain-box added. "Spending that much time playing videogames is not going to help their child's chances of getting into medical school."

Still, that's no reason not to have a look at surgical simulation Trauma Center on Wii, which we thought was very good indeed. You can medically advance your way to our review elsewhere on the site.

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