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Play Wii, Become a Better Surgeon

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the at-least-on-virtual-patients dept.

Education 55

drew30319 writes "NPR reports that a team of researchers at the University of Rome required a group of surgical residents to play video games on a Nintendo Wii for an hour a day, five days a week, for four weeks resulting in 'statistically better' performance than a control group for laparoscopic skills. The study includes some interesting stats (e.g. while the control group showed a 10% improvement in accuracy, the Wii-playing group's accuracy improved by 83%). The study's authors add that '[t]he Nintendo Wii may be adopted in lower-budget Institutions or at home by younger surgeons to optimize their training on simulators before performing real procedures.'"

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55 comments

So (1)

azalin (67640) | about a year ago | (#43043701)

So it looks like all those hack an slash titles where good for something after all...

Re:So (4, Funny)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#43043739)

They were probably playing Trauma Center...

Re:So (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043823)

They are playing regular games with 3D coordination requirements like shooting balloons from planes and so on.

Playing games was shown to enhance visual acuity and coordination some time ago, but this study shows it improves performance in Virtual Laparoscopy training stats.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044379)

Yeah this is an interesting result if true. Normally you just get better at what you practice and there's not that much spillover benefit to other tasks.

Re:So (1)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about a year ago | (#43051163)

But they are practicing exactly what they're getting better at.

Playing a Wii game involves not just hand-eye coordination, but hand-eye-display coordination. You have to learn not just to move your hand, but to anticipate the effect that moving your hand will have on the objects on the display. Laproscopic surgery requires the exact same type of coordination.

Re:So (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044221)

I'm sorry to say that when the Surgeon Simulator 2013 [bossastudios.com] flash game came out, I spent about half an hour looking for a video of a real surgeon playing it or giving a review.

Stupidity (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43043737)

Wouldn't they improve even more by practicing with real laparoscopes?

Re:Stupidity (2)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#43043761)

Wouldn't they improve even more by practicing with real laparoscopes?

That would require real patients or a dummy/model to practice on. The latter are surprisingly expensive.

I'm surprised that no one has produced a medical application to improve such skills using Wii Remote or Kinect type technology. I grant that the title would probably cost substantially more than your typical console game, but would be cost effective in reduction of medical cockups and improving training.

Re:Stupidity (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43043787)

Accurate simulation means solving lots of nasty soft-body physics calculations. Humans are squishy inside. Doable, but also quite challenging.

Re:Stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044523)

There's always Surgeon Simulator 2013 [bossastudios.com]!

Re:Stupidity (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#43044741)

That one is for patients, and the robotic USB scalpels are quite expensive. Also, the game isn't very popular, the player's participation is sort of passive. You must have been thinking about Patient Simulator 2013.

Re:Stupidity (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#43043793)

That would require real patients or a dummy/model to practice on. The latter are surprisingly expensive.

But it could be that five minutes of training on a dummy is worth five weeks of playing on the Wii. I can't tell from the article (because I only skimmed it) whether or not both groups were also undergoing any other kind of training at the same time, but the implication seems to be that they weren't. The numbers sound good, but I wonder if some follow up is required.

Re:Stupidity (3, Informative)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#43043815)

There are laparotrainer kits for whoever is serious. But if you can train related motor skills by using a cheap ass toy you might as well do that initially and then refine the technique on the more expensive kits.

And the kits are not a human-representative dummy really, you just do various tasks with the laparoscope.

Re:Stupidity (1)

xclr8r (658786) | about a year ago | (#43044265)

Maybe it's not about the specific task. Maybe strengtheneing the gross supporting muscle groups/visual acuity offers additional accuracy to the finer smaller muscles or perception that are involved. e.g. Karate Kid - "Wax on Wax off Danielson!

Re:Stupidity (1)

a_hanso (1891616) | about a year ago | (#43043801)

That would require real patients or a dummy/model to practice on. The latter are surprisingly expensive.

What if one 3D prints the models? If we want to animate the dummy, heck, let's go ahead and 4D print it [slashdot.org].

Re:Stupidity (1)

tehcyder (746570) | about a year ago | (#43045695)

That would require real patients or a dummy/model to practice on. The latter are surprisingly expensive.

And the former are unsurprisingly unwilling to act as guinea pigs.

Re:Stupidity (1)

Svippy (876087) | about a year ago | (#43043979)

Wouldn't they improve even more by practicing with real laparoscopes?

Maybe they are so expensive, that they cannot afford enough to let all the surgical residents practice one hour a day, five days a week. That and the fact, that they are probably also a lot more fragile.

I wonder if the reverse is true (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#43043751)

... should professional gamers perform laprascopy operations?

Re:I wonder if the reverse is true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043785)

True professional games buy illegal immigrants to train by performing laparoscopy operations on them.

Can't say I'm surprised. (1)

Phoenix (2762) | about a year ago | (#43043799)

This is similar to all those people who show quicker learning times for learning how to fly after playing Microsoft Flight Simulator. There are a number of studies being done in the Air Force where high-end machines equipped with MSFS and a planes that match the ones that are used for actual in-air and simulator practice and they're noticing that the students that spend the time "gaming" are quicker to learn cockpit instrumentation locations, how to read the instruments and how to operate the controls.

It's a leg up over someone who goes in never having any sort of practice before entering flight school.

So it's not surprising. Some of those Wii party games require a pretty precise set of motions to achieve the game objectives. Which is again very similar to what they have to do once they get their hands on the laproscope controls and the additional practice gives them a leg up on someone going in bline with no practice on remote, precision movements.

They ought to start thinking on how to incorporate such game-like training into any training program that would benefit from such practice.

"Practicing hand/eye coord. makes you good at..." (3, Interesting)

fantomas (94850) | about a year ago | (#43043809)

So, spending 5 hours a day practicing precision hand/eye coordination tasks... makes you better at work which requires precision hand/eye coordination tasks...

I suppose my question would be - how does playing a Wii game compare to another task which involves hand/eye coordination? e.g. sewing cross stitch, soldering electronic components, playing tennis ?

Would universities be better requiring medical students to play tennis each day or take up cross stitch than playing Wii? or doing work experience controlling those cameras that mole through sewerage pipes?

Re:"Practicing hand/eye coord. makes you good at.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043917)

The news is that parents who want their children to become successful surgeons shouldn't look at gaming as a distraction form the real goal.

Re:"Practicing hand/eye coord. makes you good at.. (3, Funny)

bitt3n (941736) | about a year ago | (#43044161)

Would universities be better requiring medical students to play tennis each day or take up cross stitch than playing Wii?

As a conscientious surgeon dedicated to excellency in my chosen vocation, I'm willing to do absolutely anything to improve the lives of my patients, except knit or take exercise.

Re:"Practicing hand/eye coord. makes you good at.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044471)

So, spending 5 hours a day practicing precision hand/eye coordination tasks... makes you better at work which requires precision hand/eye coordination tasks...

I suppose my question would be - how does playing a Wii game compare to another task which involves hand/eye coordination?

Perhaps the more relevant question would be who's the moron who justified this study of the painfully obvious...as you so deftly pointed out initially.

Why am I even asking this...that answer is likely even more obvious. Nintendo would certainly have quite a bit to gain here. Nothing like turning a $20 Wii controller into a $1700 "certified medical training instrument".

Re:"Practicing hand/eye coord. makes you good at.. (2)

SinGunner (911891) | about a year ago | (#43046549)

You're an idiot. Laproscopy (the technique in question) is essentially telepresence surgery. You hold small tools with a camera attached to a long, maneuverable tube. Your tools are also attached to long tubes, and you're basically watching yourself do the surgery on TV. The wii is also telepresence. You hold controls and your character on screen reacts. Laproscopy uses almost exclusively your eyes and fine motor control in the hands. The wii is obviously an ideal corollary in the video game world.

I don't see how anyone voted the parent interesting when he suggests tennis might help. Even his sewing and soldering suggestions involve direct observation and manipulation, as opposed to the wii's telepresence manipulation.

Re:"Practicing hand/eye coord. makes you good at.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43051807)

So, spending 5 hours a day practicing precision hand/eye coordination tasks... makes you better at work which requires precision hand/eye coordination tasks...

That's right. And no, it's not entirely obvious beforehand. Welcome to the world of Science.

This is a pilot study (4, Informative)

PSVMOrnot (885854) | about a year ago | (#43043813)

As they say in TFPaper, this can only be considered as a pilot study due to the limited size and make up of their particiant group and limits on their methodology. As such to say 'Play wii and become a better surgeon' is a bit premature. You could say "We've found a link between playing Wii and improvement in surgical scores, give us cash so we can find out precisely what it is".

An example of this is that they have no way of telling whether the improvement is due to the Wii training, or due to the possibilty that forcing people who are in high stress occupations to take an hours break a day might improve performance by lowering stress levels. (My thinking here being that doing these training simulations on the wii is sufficiently different to seem like a break to them). They could have done with a second control group who were just playing wii tennis, or reading a book or some such to account for that. Of course, that would require more participants, of which they had a limited number; hence this is only a pilot study.

Re:This is a pilot study - but not the only one (1)

devforhire (2658537) | about a year ago | (#43043927)

Video games have been shown that they can improve the brains ability to distinguish objects in low contrast and to track multiple objects simultaneously in other pilot studies. ( http://www.ted.com/talks/daphne_bavelier_your_brain_on_video_games.html [ted.com] ) I suspect the game time contributed significantly to the positive results, but as the TED talk explains, we still are trying to understand which game aspects are the good and which are the bad.

btw... how does one get involved in a study to play video games? and can I get paid for it?

Re:This is a pilot study - but not the only one (2)

PSVMOrnot (885854) | about a year ago | (#43043949)

I suspect the game time contributed significantly to the positive results, but as the TED talk explains, we still are trying to understand which game aspects are the good and which are the bad.

That is pretty much the point I was making; the paper shows quite nicely that their intervention does help, but they haven't enough data to say why it helps with any great certainty. If they know why then they can focus on that part and possibly make it even more effective, or incorporate that facet into other methods.

btw... how does one get involved in a study to play video games? and can I get paid for it?

Yes, you can get paid for it, and look to your nearest university's psychology department. They tend to advertise current studies in posters around the campus and university job agencies (i.e. those aimed at getting students some part time work).

They won't always be playing computer games; from what I have seen there tends to be a range of topics, including things such as "watch this and press a button when", "eat this chocolate then do this" and a fair bit of "fill in this survey". Some of them include "and then let me MRI scan your brain" for flavour.

This was first commented on in...2004? News? (4, Informative)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#43043845)

Posted 4/7/2004 7:05 AM : http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2004-04-07-surgeons-video-games_x.htm [usatoday.com]

Researchers found that doctors who spent at least three hours a week playing video games made about 37% less mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27% faster than their counterparts who did not play video games.

"I use the same hand-eye coordination to play video games as I use for surgery," said Dr. James "Butch" Rosser, 49, who demonstrated the results of his study Tuesday at Beth Israel Medical Center.

Interesting paper on it here, from 2011

http://mcm.dhhq.health.mil/Libraries/NewsDocuments/Medical_Simulation.sflb.ashx [health.mil]

But that didn't involve a Wii ... (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | about a year ago | (#43044763)

What they now need to do is compare Wii games vs. other controllers, to see if that's a significant factor. And determine which games are best. (eg, Trauma Center: Second Opinion).

I'd also be interested if someone made some sort of simulator/trainer or the laproscopic tools, or if that would make things worse. (as they couldn't 100% recreate the controls in software alone).

Is it the spatial reasoning training (from the 2004 study's Super Monkey Ball), the controls (the recent Wii study), or just simply unwinding and relaxing playing video games the important factor? Or is it a combination?

Can we develop fun, engaging games that improve skills that are useful for other professions? (eg ... can Boom Blox help the demolition industry? can Order Up! help people with multitasking?)

Scoring Champ (5, Funny)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year ago | (#43043915)

"I just wanted you to know before we put you under and I begin the surgery that I was the all-time champ in Super Mario World among my fellow students at Harvard Medical School. Rest assured."

Re:Scoring Champ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044915)

"I just wanted you to know before we put you under and I begin the surgery that I was the all-time champ in Super Mario World among my fellow students at Harvard Medical School. Rest assured."

"I'm not a surgeon, but I hold the all time record for Super Mario World...and I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night..."

News just in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43043987)

People learn quicker when they are having fun.
More at 11.

Of course they will have higher scores.
People learn considerably better when they are actually having fun.
Why would evolution ever have evolved to people learning skills through boring or even stressful activity? Leave that to the BDSM folks.
I know that we do learn from traumatic and stressful events, but those are typically way up in the higher scale, and that "learning" is "don't do that shit again god damn it" which is why they learn pretty much nothing of any use from them, that type of response was only useful in the wild, not now.

Schools that employed this idea and used edutainment games and programs also showed some pretty significant improvements as well.
Whether it is touch-typing games, or Zoombinis.
Plus, Zoombinis was just fantastic. Nobody can hate those zoombinis. I want a pizza now.
Zoombines - Pizza Pass highest difficulty [youtube.com]

What is this "Battle at high altitude"? (3, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#43044085)

If you download the full published research paper [plosone.org] (available free to everyone), you see they mention three games
  • Wii Sports Tennis
  • Wii Sports Resort Table Tennis
  • Battle at high altitude

I can't figure out the identity of the third game, and it doesn't list a publisher. It mentions

Battle at high altitude is set in an archipelago: the player moves his aircraft with 20 balloons attached to the tail and the goal is to stay with as many balloons as possible within 3 minutes or to burst the opponent's balloons. This game requires precision of movements and an excellent 3D visualization rather than other skills.

Has anyone heard of this game before?

Re:What is this "Battle at high altitude"? (4, Informative)

Christopher Fritz (1550669) | about a year ago | (#43044167)

Sounds like the Wii Sports Resort game where you fly over the island in a plane, firing at balloons (Island Flyover). There's also Pilotwings Resort which I believe was based on this, but I haven't played it to be certain.

Re:What is this "Battle at high altitude"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044223)

latter is part of wii sports resort

best

i

Re:What is this "Battle at high altitude"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044419)

I'm not sure where they got the "Battle at high altitude" name from, but it sounds an awful lot like the unlockable airplane dog-fighting minigame from Wii Sports Resort.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZPa2vlKPOY [youtube.com]

Balance Restored ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044115)

Playing video games makes you violent, and a better doctor to help all the victims of video games ?

Re:Balance Restored ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43047953)

You turd. Playing games does not make you violent.

I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044227)

It's another question to ask your surgeon.

Nail in the coffin of education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43044823)

This fits in rather nicely with the slashdot hivemind attitude towards education.

No more expensive medical degrees. All it takes to become a brain surgeon now is a wii and some games!

Hopefully they don't get confused (1)

phorm (591458) | about a year ago | (#43048971)

Doctor: *boom* headshot.
Nurse: Doctor... what did you just do!?
Doctor: Oops!

UT is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43050437)

Reminds me of an article about surgeons playing UT and getting better. Sorry I cant find the article proper.

http://icrontic.com/article/2004-surgeons_train_with_unreal_tournament

Discount Nike shox shoes,Air max shoes sale (0)

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