Teenage gamers better at virtual surgery than medical residents

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Have you ever been told by your mom to put down the video games or that playing video games would rot your brain? Gamers may have heard those lines in their childhood, and probably still hear it to this very day, except that their significant other or spouse now say them. This video featured a study that concluded that teenage gamers did better than medical residents in virtual surgery.

“We wanted to see their results compared to our physicians and they did slightly better than our physicians in training,” said Dr. Sami Kilic, Director of Texas Robotic Gynecology for the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston. “And some of those physicians in training have already participated in actual cases. It tells me that [the] knowledge and skills gained from computer games [is easily] implemented into the robotic surgeries.” Each group was asked to perform a series of tasks with the device that replicated surgeries. All totaled, 32 skill sets were tested, ranging from hand-eye coordination to pressure on the controls.

The study used a machine that replicated surgeries—suture this, pass off that needle, etc. It then measured the users’ competency based on how well they did the tasks, including the tension they put on their instruments and their overall hand-eye coordination. The high school students did best, followed by the college group, followed by the UTMB residents.

However, that doesn’t mean that teenage gamers are really better than medical residents in their field—researchers also had the groups perform simulations without the gaming-type robotic aid used in the first test, and the teenage gamers were handily beaten by the medical residents.

Next time your mom, significant other or spouse tells you to turn off the video games, show them this study—they’ll probably think otherwise, and possibly get you that game you’ve been wanting this holiday season.