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Education Medicine Wii Games

Play Wii, Become a Better Surgeon 55

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the at-least-on-virtual-patients dept.
drew30319 writes "NPR reports that a team of researchers at the University of Rome required a group of surgical residents to play video games on a Nintendo Wii for an hour a day, five days a week, for four weeks resulting in 'statistically better' performance than a control group for laparoscopic skills. The study includes some interesting stats (e.g. while the control group showed a 10% improvement in accuracy, the Wii-playing group's accuracy improved by 83%). The study's authors add that '[t]he Nintendo Wii may be adopted in lower-budget Institutions or at home by younger surgeons to optimize their training on simulators before performing real procedures.'"
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Play Wii, Become a Better Surgeon

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  • by azalin (67640)
    So it looks like all those hack an slash titles where good for something after all...
    • Re:So (Score:5, Funny)

      by loufoque (1400831) on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:20AM (#43043739)

      They were probably playing Trauma Center...

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They are playing regular games with 3D coordination requirements like shooting balloons from planes and so on.

        Playing games was shown to enhance visual acuity and coordination some time ago, but this study shows it improves performance in Virtual Laparoscopy training stats.

      • Next thing you know, they'll be battling with the stigma and guilt.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:19AM (#43043737) Homepage

    Wouldn't they improve even more by practicing with real laparoscopes?

    • by maroberts (15852)

      Wouldn't they improve even more by practicing with real laparoscopes?

      That would require real patients or a dummy/model to practice on. The latter are surprisingly expensive.

      I'm surprised that no one has produced a medical application to improve such skills using Wii Remote or Kinect type technology. I grant that the title would probably cost substantially more than your typical console game, but would be cost effective in reduction of medical cockups and improving training.

      • Accurate simulation means solving lots of nasty soft-body physics calculations. Humans are squishy inside. Doable, but also quite challenging.

      • That would require real patients or a dummy/model to practice on. The latter are surprisingly expensive.

        But it could be that five minutes of training on a dummy is worth five weeks of playing on the Wii. I can't tell from the article (because I only skimmed it) whether or not both groups were also undergoing any other kind of training at the same time, but the implication seems to be that they weren't. The numbers sound good, but I wonder if some follow up is required.

        • Re:Stupidity (Score:4, Informative)

          by durrr (1316311) on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:46AM (#43043815)

          There are laparotrainer kits for whoever is serious. But if you can train related motor skills by using a cheap ass toy you might as well do that initially and then refine the technique on the more expensive kits.

          And the kits are not a human-representative dummy really, you just do various tasks with the laparoscope.

          • by xclr8r (658786)
            Maybe it's not about the specific task. Maybe strengtheneing the gross supporting muscle groups/visual acuity offers additional accuracy to the finer smaller muscles or perception that are involved. e.g. Karate Kid - "Wax on Wax off Danielson!
      • by a_hanso (1891616)

        That would require real patients or a dummy/model to practice on. The latter are surprisingly expensive.

        What if one 3D prints the models? If we want to animate the dummy, heck, let's go ahead and 4D print it [slashdot.org].

      • by shentino (1139071)

        Monsanto probably has a patent on it.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        That would require real patients or a dummy/model to practice on. The latter are surprisingly expensive.

        And the former are unsurprisingly unwilling to act as guinea pigs.

    • by Svippy (876087)

      Wouldn't they improve even more by practicing with real laparoscopes?

      Maybe they are so expensive, that they cannot afford enough to let all the surgical residents practice one hour a day, five days a week. That and the fact, that they are probably also a lot more fragile.

  • ... should professional gamers perform laprascopy operations?
  • This is similar to all those people who show quicker learning times for learning how to fly after playing Microsoft Flight Simulator. There are a number of studies being done in the Air Force where high-end machines equipped with MSFS and a planes that match the ones that are used for actual in-air and simulator practice and they're noticing that the students that spend the time "gaming" are quicker to learn cockpit instrumentation locations, how to read the instruments and how to operate the controls.

    It's

  • by fantomas (94850) on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:44AM (#43043809)

    So, spending 5 hours a day practicing precision hand/eye coordination tasks... makes you better at work which requires precision hand/eye coordination tasks...

    I suppose my question would be - how does playing a Wii game compare to another task which involves hand/eye coordination? e.g. sewing cross stitch, soldering electronic components, playing tennis ?

    Would universities be better requiring medical students to play tennis each day or take up cross stitch than playing Wii? or doing work experience controlling those cameras that mole through sewerage pipes?

    • by bitt3n (941736) on Friday March 01, 2013 @08:41AM (#43044161)

      Would universities be better requiring medical students to play tennis each day or take up cross stitch than playing Wii?

      As a conscientious surgeon dedicated to excellency in my chosen vocation, I'm willing to do absolutely anything to improve the lives of my patients, except knit or take exercise.

    • by SinGunner (911891)
      You're an idiot. Laproscopy (the technique in question) is essentially telepresence surgery. You hold small tools with a camera attached to a long, maneuverable tube. Your tools are also attached to long tubes, and you're basically watching yourself do the surgery on TV. The wii is also telepresence. You hold controls and your character on screen reacts. Laproscopy uses almost exclusively your eyes and fine motor control in the hands. The wii is obviously an ideal corollary in the video game world.
  • by PSVMOrnot (885854) on Friday March 01, 2013 @06:46AM (#43043813)

    As they say in TFPaper, this can only be considered as a pilot study due to the limited size and make up of their particiant group and limits on their methodology. As such to say 'Play wii and become a better surgeon' is a bit premature. You could say "We've found a link between playing Wii and improvement in surgical scores, give us cash so we can find out precisely what it is".

    An example of this is that they have no way of telling whether the improvement is due to the Wii training, or due to the possibilty that forcing people who are in high stress occupations to take an hours break a day might improve performance by lowering stress levels. (My thinking here being that doing these training simulations on the wii is sufficiently different to seem like a break to them). They could have done with a second control group who were just playing wii tennis, or reading a book or some such to account for that. Of course, that would require more participants, of which they had a limited number; hence this is only a pilot study.

    • Video games have been shown that they can improve the brains ability to distinguish objects in low contrast and to track multiple objects simultaneously in other pilot studies. ( http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_bavelier_your_brain_on_video_games.html [ted.com] ) I suspect the game time contributed significantly to the positive results, but as the TED talk explains, we still are trying to understand which game aspects are the good and which are the bad.

      btw... how does one get involved in a study to play video games?

      • by PSVMOrnot (885854)

        I suspect the game time contributed significantly to the positive results, but as the TED talk explains, we still are trying to understand which game aspects are the good and which are the bad.

        That is pretty much the point I was making; the paper shows quite nicely that their intervention does help, but they haven't enough data to say why it helps with any great certainty. If they know why then they can focus on that part and possibly make it even more effective, or incorporate that facet into other methods.

        btw... how does one get involved in a study to play video games? and can I get paid for it?

        Yes, you can get paid for it, and look to your nearest university's psychology department. They tend to advertise current studies in posters around the campus and university job agencies (i.e.

  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Friday March 01, 2013 @07:00AM (#43043845)

    Posted 4/7/2004 7:05 AM : http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2004-04-07-surgeons-video-games_x.htm [usatoday.com]

    Researchers found that doctors who spent at least three hours a week playing video games made about 37% less mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27% faster than their counterparts who did not play video games.

    "I use the same hand-eye coordination to play video games as I use for surgery," said Dr. James "Butch" Rosser, 49, who demonstrated the results of his study Tuesday at Beth Israel Medical Center.

    Interesting paper on it here, from 2011

    http://mcm.dhhq.health.mil/Libraries/NewsDocuments/Medical_Simulation.sflb.ashx [health.mil]

    • What they now need to do is compare Wii games vs. other controllers, to see if that's a significant factor. And determine which games are best. (eg, Trauma Center: Second Opinion).

      I'd also be interested if someone made some sort of simulator/trainer or the laproscopic tools, or if that would make things worse. (as they couldn't 100% recreate the controls in software alone).

      Is it the spatial reasoning training (from the 2004 study's Super Monkey Ball), the controls (the recent Wii study), or just simply u

  • by puddingebola (2036796) on Friday March 01, 2013 @07:27AM (#43043915) Journal
    "I just wanted you to know before we put you under and I begin the surgery that I was the all-time champ in Super Mario World among my fellow students at Harvard Medical School. Rest assured."
  • I bet they weren't even double blinded!

  • If you download the full published research paper [plosone.org] (available free to everyone), you see they mention three games
    • Wii Sports Tennis
    • Wii Sports Resort Table Tennis
    • Battle at high altitude

    I can't figure out the identity of the third game, and it doesn't list a publisher. It mentions

    Battle at high altitude is set in an archipelago: the player moves his aircraft with 20 balloons attached to the tail and the goal is to stay with as many balloons as possible within 3 minutes or to burst the opponent's balloons. This game requires precision of movements and an excellent 3D visualization rather than other skills.

    Has anyone heard of this game before?

  • Now just need to port Surgeon Simulator 2013 to the Wii
  • WTF? How about how about Trauma Center [amazon.com]?

  • Doctor: *boom* headshot.
    Nurse: Doctor... what did you just do!?
    Doctor: Oops!

You've been Berkeley'ed!

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