Survey: Games make surgeons better

Medical study finds that laparoscopic surgeons who hone their skills on consoles operate faster and with fewer mistakes.

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Anybody who's ever gripped a game controller knows that games improve hand-eye coordination. And anyone who's ever gone under a surgeon's knife has certainly hoped that their doctor's skills in that area are also tip-top.

However, it was only recently that researchers decided to see if there was any connection between the two.

A recent study by found that laparoscopic surgeons who played games for three hours or more a week made 37 percent fewer mistakes than nongaming doctors. The study, conducted by Boston's Beth Israel Medical Center and Iowa State University's National Institute on Media and the Family, also found the game-playing surgeons were also 27 percent faster than their counterparts. The study sampled 33 doctors and medical-school residents from May 2003 to August 2003.

Commonly used in orthopedic procedures, like knee surgery, laparoscopic surgery consists of slipping a fiber optic camera and surgical tools through small slits in the skin. The tools are then manipulated by a surgeon who uses remote controls and watches a video monitor, much like gamers direct action on their TVs. "I use the same hand-eye coordination to play video games as I use for surgery," researcher Dr. James "Butch" Rosser told the Associated Press.

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