Surgeons who spent many hours playing video games as children make fewer mistakes at the operating table, according to a surgeon who has researched the issue.
"I use the same hand-eye coordination to play video games as I use for surgery," said James Rosser, M.D., who demonstrated the results of his study earlier this month at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York.
Rosser, 49, said the skill needed for laparoscopic surgery-using a tiny camera and instruments controlled by joysticks outside the body-is "like tying your shoelaces with 3-foot-long chopsticks."
Rosser's study on whether good video-game skills translate into surgical prowess was based on testing 33 fellow doctors-12 attending physicians and 21 medical school residents-who participated from May to August 2003. Each doctor completed three video-game tasks that tested such factors as hand-eye coordination, motor skills and reaction time.
Doctors who had spent at least three hours a week playing games make 37% fewer mistakes in laparoscopy and perform the task 27% faster than their counterparts who didn't play video games, according to researchers with Beth Israel and the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University.