Wednesday, April 07, 2004

PSII/XBox See Rise In Sales Thanks To Surgeons

As reported here, a study appears to have shown that "doctors who spent at least three hours a week playing video games made about 37 percent fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27 percent faster than their counterparts who did not play video games."

Of course they made fewer mistakes, those surgeons were in the on-call room playing video games instead of performing surgeries. Seriously though, does this really surprise anyone who has played video games before? Since I grew up on Atari, Nintendo, Sega, etc. this hardly seems newsworthy, unless the end result is to introduce a "Video Gaming Class" during medical school for aspiring surgeons.

The study on whether good video game skills translate into surgical prowess was done by researchers with Beth Israel and the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University. It was based on testing 33 fellow doctors (sic) 12 attending physicians and 21 medical school residents who participated from May to August 2003.

Each doctor completed three video game tasks that tested such factors as motor skills, reaction time and hand-eye coordination.

I will admit that I have not looked this up on Pubmed (nor will I), and am going by this article, but those numbers aren't exactly robust. Very small sample size. Not to mention (here's the funny part to me), 36.36% of the participants were attendings, which implies they are in fact better at performing these surgeries than their residents. As I stated though, I haven't dug into the actual stats and teased out who did better (attendings or students), etc. I'm merely pointing out some obvious questions.

Conclusion: playing video games helps hand/eye coordination. We needed a study for this?! Seriously, this ranks up there with studies showing people feel better after having sex and reading helps vocabulary.