Gamers surpass docs at performing virtual surgery

NEW YORK (AP) - (RNN) - Kids everywhere might have a new comeback when their parents tell them they can't play video games until they finish their homework.

"Mom, I'm practicing for medical school."

Although most people might think video games are a pointless pastime, a new study by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston discovered that high school and college students that regularly play video games were better at performing "virtual surgery" than actual physicians.

Researchers looked at high school sophomores who played two hours of video games each day and college students who played four hours to gather their data.

They compared the students' performance on a surgery simulator to a group of medical residents from the University of Texas.

The result? High school and college gamers beat out the docs.

"They did pretty much the same, but slightly better than our physicians in training," said UTMB Director of Texas Robotic Gynecology Dr. Sami Kilic in a statement. "And some of those physicians in training have already participated in actual cases."

High school students performed the best using robotic simulators, with the college gamers riding their coattails. The physicians placed last.

The groups were ranked by measuring 20 different factors used in both robotic surgery and video games, including hand-eye coordination and using the right amount of tension on controls.

Scientists also had the research groups do simulations without the robot-like system in order to test cognitive skills that involve a more hands-on approach.

This time, the physicians came out on top.

According to researchers, the study sought to look at how the next generation of doctors "might optimally prepare themselves to be the surgeons of the future."

Researchers added that most practicing physicians were not originally trained to perform surgery using robotic tools because it is a relatively new technique.

The study was presented during an event for the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists.

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