The continued battle of the “games are good” “games are bad” war plays on with a recent article in Discover Magazine that examines the growing body of research suggesting that video games exercise the mind similar to the way physical activity exercises the body. This started his thinking that perhaps his apparent gift among many of his peers was because he was a gamer. Surgeon Butch Rosser, directory of minimally invasive surgery at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, read a reporter’s comments about one of his procedures that referred to him as a Nintendo surgeon.
Rosser set out to see if there was a correlation by using a standardized laparoscopic training exercise called “Top Gun” to test laparoscopic surgeons that had never played a video game and those that were gamers. “The results were really astounding,” he says. “First of all, if you played video game [at any time] in the past, it was found that you were significantly faster and, more importantly, you created fewer errors than people who had no previous video game experience. Then when we looked at whether you were a current video gamer, we found that if you played video games currently, you were over 30 percent better — faster, and created fewer errors than someone who did not play video games at all.
Alan Castel [http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/%7Eacastel/], psychology professor at Washington University of St. Louis [http://www.wustl.edu/], performed another study where people from different groups are given a series of standard visual tests looking for a particular object (e.g. a letter) among a group of other objects on a computer monitor. “Video game players had faster reaction times on the order of 100 milliseconds, which might not sound like a lot but in this domain it’s quite a strong finding,” says Castel. “And you can imagine, when driving, a difference of 100 milliseconds could really help you avoid accidents.
Laparoscopic surgery, also known as keyhole surgery or band-aid surgery, involves manipulating controls/joysticks to control a fiber optic camera and surgical tools to perform minimally invasive surgery with only tiny incisions in the person’s body. Laparoscopic surgery has been around for many years now, but doctors have only recently begun to notice a stirring correlation between the top surgeons and video gamers