Hugh Pickens writes writes: "NPR reports that surgical residents who were forced to play video games on a Nintendo Wii for an hour a day, five days a week, for four weeks performed significantly better than another group of residents who didn't undergo this grueling video game training. Laparoscopic surgery involves inserting tiny video cameras and instruments into your body so surgeons can operate without having to make a large incision. The approach reduces recovery times for patients, and the risk of infection goes down as well. Laparoscopy can be difficult for surgeons not used to staring at a video monitor during an operation. "You have to move in a three-dimensional space but you have a two-dimensional image on your screen,"says Dr. Gregorio Patrizi. Patrizi and his team had surgical residents play three Wii games — tennis, ping pong and one that involved shooting balloons from an aircraft — choosing these games because they all required strong hand-eye coordination and three-dimensional visualization of a space. Patrizi said these results suggest that the Wii and other motion-sensing gaming consoles like Microsoft's Kinect could be used to supplement surgical training at a very low cost, especially when compared with expensive laparoscopy simulators. How do the residents feel about the study. "We had a lot of fun," says Patrizi. "Research doesn't need to be boring.""
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