Add "Do you play video games?" to the list of questions you might want to ask your surgeon.
The Archives of Surgery published a study that shows a strong relationship between video game skills and a surgeon's abilities with laparoscopic procedures. Reuters reports the study's findings show out of the 33 Beth Israel surgeons surveyed, the nine doctors who played video games at least 3 hours a week made "37 percent fewer errors, performed 27 percent faster, and scored 42 percent better in the test of surgical skills than the 15 surgeons who had never played video games before."
Laparoscopic surgeries are the ones where a viewing tube (a laparoscope) is inserted into the body and the surgery is performed with doctors viewing what's happening inside the body via a screen. In words that sound like the ring of cash registers, one of the study authors, Dr. James Rosner of Beth Israel, said, "Video games may be a practical teaching tool to help train surgeons," because gaming can improve "fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, visual attention, depth perception and computer competency."
The study included laparoscopic surgery drills and playing Super Monkey Ball 2, Star Wars Racer Revenge and Silent Scope. (We'd like to see an update with the Wii's Trauma Center thrown into the mix.) However, another author, Iowa State Professor Douglas Gentile says, "Parents should not see this study as beneficial if their child is playing video games for over an hour a day. Spending that much time playing video games is not going to help their child's chances of getting into medical school."