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Video games could be used to help train future doctors performing surgery using robotics

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High school students who regularly play video games for approximately two hours a day out-performed medical residents when both groups were tasked with using virtual surgery tools, according to research conducted by scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

In the research conducted, high school sophomores who played video games for two hours a day, college students who played for four hours a day and medical residents who didn't spend much time gaming were told to perform a series of tasks on a machine that replicated surgeries. The machine measured the user's skills in 32 areas, including hand-eye coordination, pressure on the controls and the time it took to complete the task.

The research found that the high school students slightly outperformed both the college students and the trained medical residents, which the director of Texas Robotic Gynecology for UTMB, Dr. Sami Kilic says could lead to further research to determine what could be the ideal amount of time spent gaming in order to reap its benefits.

"Robotic surgery was implemented in this field recently, but most of the physicians were not trained for it," Dr. Kilic said in a video released by UTMB. "We had to come up with an idea of how to train our trainees, so what we did was we purchased a simulator which is pretty much the same as the robot itself."

Dr. Kilic said UTMB's next step is figuring out how to best prepare future doctors for training on the simulators.