Study: Med students who play video games excel in training

Friday April 12, 2013

When we think about the type of person we would want to perform a surgery on us, we probably think about someone who is smart and focused. Maybe they read a lot and have a serious, no-nonsense personality. They definitely aren’t the type of person to spend an evening playing video games.

If you agreed with this, you may want to think again. Interestingly, recent research showed that medical students and residents who play video games regularly are actually less likely to commit a medical error in training than those who do not play video games. The researchers said that the controllers used in video games are actually very similar to those used in robotic surgeries, procedures that rely on computer imaging and advanced laparoscopic surgeries. If you’re not convinced, take a look at the numbers.

When comparing the scores of students who played more than three hours of video games a week with those who do not play video games, the gamers came out on top. Gamers did 42 percent better on suturing exercises and laparoscopic surgery, they were 27 percent faster than those who never played video games, and they made 37 percent fewer errors.

Now that research shows that video games can be helpful for budding surgeons, perhaps Connecticut hospitals will consider this when determining training regimens. And if you go in for a surgery and hear your doctor talking about a night of video-gaming you can feel more assured knowing that he or she likely has a steady hand and a keen eye.

Source: WCVB, “Can Video Games Help Train Surgeons?” Tracy Hampton, April 4, 2013

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