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Games Entertainment

Surgeons Use Gaming to Improve Skills 36

The New York Times (registration required) has an analysis of several surgeons at Beth Israel Medical Center who utilize video games to improve their operating room hand-eye coordination. From the article: "The complex manual dexterity required to be a stellar video gamer and minimally invasive surgeon are strikingly similar, said Dr. Rosser, chief of minimally invasive surgery and director of the hospital's Advanced Medical Technology Institute."
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Surgeons Use Gaming to Improve Skills

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  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by general_re ( 8883 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @05:31PM (#11796435) Homepage
    So if your chart says "pwned!!!1!!1", that's a good thing?
    • Yeah. On the other hand, if it says "mad lagz0rz" or "I SHOOT THEM AND THEY DON'T DIE!!!" (anyone playing SOCOM II would know) you'd better prepare a lawsuit.
    • http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&lr=&safe=off &client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q =+site:www.don.laabs.com+life+and+death+pc I loved the first life and death as a kid. Never got anywhere close to successful as a surgeon, but I did like carving pictures in peoples stomachs.
  • And they say Halo 2 is bad for me. Well who's laughing now? I have a medical stamp of approval!1!eleven!
  • ...or at least many similar stories about laparoscopic sugery and how video games improve the needed skillz*ahem*skills. There's a lot of precision involved in both surgeries and games, and I've seen many people suck at games (not that I'm any better) because they can't do things precisely. (You know, like aiming.*) I'm not surprised in this article's case.

    *although lots of online games lag so much one wonders who or what, if anything, to aim at for that lovely moment of pwnage.

  • ... Oh, come on, you all know the Operation commercial theme song!
  • by Fitzghon ( 578350 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:03PM (#11796780)
    ...that they haven't been playing too much Doom 3.
    DOCTOR (regarding the screen): Well, it is very dark.... And, OH MY GOD A ZOMBIE!!!! AAHHAAHH!!!111!!!1!! DIE MOTHERF*CKER!!!! oh, oops... (nervous laugh) don't worry, you can survive with only one kidney...
  • by supersuckers ( 841107 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:04PM (#11796790) Homepage
    here [wired.com]and
    here [slashdot.org]
  • quick! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Korgrath ( 714211 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:25PM (#11796998) Homepage
    "oh no! he's going into cardiac arrest! We must save him!" up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, SELECT, START. *random chime* "Phew! good work everyone!"
  • have been telling their parents this for years... I remember trying to pull that on them when I was still in high school
  • by Bongo Bill ( 853669 ) on Sunday February 27, 2005 @06:54PM (#11797283) Homepage
    The Air Force has known about the tendency for video games to improve reflexes and the ability to make quick judgments for years, now. Of course, it only works when the video games are hard.
  • With n00b surgeons standing around supporting one or two CS or doom or quake champs of the city, busy stitching arteries together, with red bulls in their bloodstreams.

    Getting to a tumor can be called CTF.
  • Nothing new... (Score:2, Insightful)

    I"ve seen this kind of thing before, actually. Basically it was about how some kind of brain surgery that uses tiny robots to do the work, and how the surgeons were using video games as practice, so to speak.

    The fact that video games improve hand-eye coordination and reaction time isn't anything new, its just that there haven't been a lot of applications for it.

    Well, besides the military at least.

    Most jobs rely on careful, methodical actions and thinking, rather than quick reflexes. So twitch games do

  • by cgenman ( 325138 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @12:14AM (#11799777) Homepage
    It's spelled "Skillz"

  • I wonder if the doctors get to use their favourite game controller for the surgeries...

    I'm so used to the PS2 controller, that I suck at any game played with the Xbox controller(s).

    I can't even play GTA3 and VC on the PC because I'm so used to playing it on the PS2.

    And I tried those adapters to plug a Ps2 controller in a PC, but GTAVC for PC doesnt allow some controls (including some helicopter commands) to be remapped...
  • It is interesting that this comes as any surprise because we have known forever that things of that nature improve hand-eye cooridination and reaction. Simulators are rarely even close to the real thing yet we use them. Not just because they train actions, but because they build up a pattern of reaction and expectation. In the same way, video games build motor-specific muscles and synapses that any reaction or hand-eye based activity can benefit from. True playing madden football isn't going to teach y
  • ...someone will program an emulator for Slashdot. Then the editors will be able play all their favorite old stories without duping them. [slashdot.org]
  • if you get caught gaming when you are supposed to be working, don't expect your boss to believe you are in fact improving your work-related skills.

    I know mine didn't believe it. So now I am improving my 1nva51v3 sur93ry sk1llz full-time. :(

  • by FirienFirien ( 857374 ) on Monday February 28, 2005 @09:07AM (#11801594) Homepage
    I read an article somewhere reputable (no idea where, it was about 7 or 8 years ago now) about computer gamers and enhanced skills. The factors involved were

    Coordination - better than average fine motor control skills (small-scale precision), but average large motor control (eg swinging the entire arm to a point on the wall)
    Tracking - gamers can track on average around 8 items in their field of view simultaneously, more than the general average of 5-6
    Concentration - staying focused on a task without distraction for (sometimes significantly) longer times than average.

    The study had worked with brain scans to test alpha and beta brain activity levels - alpha waves are indicative of more automatic control, beta waves are more complex. A link had been found with the skills listed above being seen in computer gamers; the gamers were far faster than average at settling from beta to alpha waves when introduced to an activity.

    The article finished off by mentioning the groups most likely to display alpha patterns - Transcendent aspirants (eg Buddhist zen masters), Sportspeople who get to The Zone (intense physical activity, all pain is completely suppressed - very useful), and high-activity computer gamers.

  • I for one.. do not want to be the one who gets the surgeon who says "Game Over" when there's no more to be done...


  • Before I start the operation, do you by chance have an extra life?
  • by tommyth ( 848039 )
    I knew doctors were smart, but to convince the higher-ups that playing video games on company time improves their skills, I am amazed.

    Of course I'm joking, I have excellent hand-eye coordination from years of video games. It's the arm-eye, leg-eye, foot-eye and pretty much every other body part-eye coordination that leaves much to be desired.
    • by BTWR ( 540147 )
      I am one of Dr. Rosser's medical students who has helped him with his video game studies. Dr. Rosser is an excellent surgeon who does do a lot of these "think different" types of medical research (along with research in "traditional medicine"). I've written or helped write a number of powerpoints/abstracts/papers that he has presented to medical conventions and scientific meetings. As you correctly alluded to, I have seen myself that his video game papers and findings can often be initially viewed as not
      • I'm not exactly sure why you replied to my comment, but I did say that gaming has given me very good hand eye (or finger-eye, I suppose) coordination. I just think it's awesome that they get to game at work. Now if only I could convince my boss that games help improve my typing skills...

        Anyway, are the $100,000 simulators you speak of simulate surgery? Because as much as I'd want my surgeon (sp?) to have good coordination and finger movement skills, I think also having simulated surgery training would be
        • by BTWR ( 540147 )
          At first I replied to quickly say how you were right that doctors in general do not take this research very well.

          To answer your first question - yes, the simulators DO simulate surgery. But they are not very good in simulating actual surgery conditions. Ever been to a dave and busters or Jillians? Ever use that arcade game "Goal!" where you kick an actual soccer ball and it shows up on screen? While in theory it simulates a kick, i highly doubt it would allow a professional to improve his or her skills

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