Video Games Improve Performance for Surgeons

video games increases surgeon performance

Recently Reuters reported on research highlighting how “video games can improve fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, visual attention, depth perception and computer competency”. Article excerpt:

Video game skills translated into higher scores on a day-and-half-long surgical skills test, and the correlation was much higher than the surgeon’s length of training or prior experience in laparoscopic surgery, the study said. Out of 33 surgeons from Beth Israel Medical Center in New York that participated in the study, the nine doctors who had at some point played video games at least three hours per week made 37 percent fewer errors, performed 27 percent faster, and scored 42 percent better in the test of surgical skills than the 15 surgeons who had never played video games before. “It was surprising that past commercial video game play was such a strong predictor of advanced surgical skills,” said Iowa State University psychology professor Douglas Gentile, one of the study’s authors.



“Video games may be a practical teaching tool to help train surgeons,” senior author Dr. James Rosser of Beth Israel said. It supports previous research that video games can improve “fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, visual attention, depth perception and computer competency,” the study said. “Video games may be a practical teaching tool to help train surgeons,” senior author Dr. James Rosser of Beth Israel said.

Read the full story on Reuters!


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Serious Fun: Video Gamer Group Simulates Military Engagements

simulated military

Check out this recent Polygon article by Charlie Hall entitled “Why We Fight: Inside Shack Tactical, The Elite Military Simulation Group” about an online clan of gamers that by the name of Shack Tactical and play ARMA III. One of the players, “Gluck” is a real life veteran who has 116,00 youtube followers that have watched his simulated military engagements more than 18,000,000 times.

Excerpt from the Polygon Article: 

Flying low above a pine forest, the two U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopters suddenly broke formation. From my seat at the open door, the view tipped straight down for a moment before we leveled off. In the distance, backlit by a sky purpling with the dawn, I could see Alpha squad beginning to descend, their rotors kicking up a huge cloud of dust.

Our pilot pulled us into a shallow valley and I lost sight of both the other chopper and the sunrise. In the darkness I began to notice that my palms were sweating.

I’d played Arma, the complex military simulation series, before. I had plenty of experience in how to use the various small arms in the game, how to aim and reload and adjust them for range. I’d spent hundreds of hours learning to navigate across its environments on foot; through jungles with a map, over deserts by compass and once, while at sea, by using only the stars. Over the years I’d struggled with, and mastered, its bizarre user interface.

I was in Shack Tactical now, an elite Arma gaming group, embedded with them as a new recruit. To keep the experience pure I withheld my true identity as a writer. I was there to document a kind of role playing experience that can’t be found anywhere else, and I didn’t need someone showing off or holding back because I was there to observe them.

The way ShackTac plays is different from the military. Those differences have a lot to do with the weapons they choose to fight with (usually Cold War era, analogue weapons), but also the missions they create and play (like traditional meeting engagements, but also highly thematic scenarios like hostage rescues that require acting skills). There are rules and hierarchies; all of the players in ShackTac have a rank — from pFNG (pre-Fucking New Guy) to NCO (Non Commissioned Officer). But unlike the military, ShackTac doesn’t have fixed units — players can fight alongside whoever they like from night to night. Certain roles, however, are off limits to all but senior members. Pilot slots are reserved for only the most skilled players in the group.

But what makes ShackTac truly unique are the length of their games. Whether fighting against computer-controlled opponents or other members of the group, games are grueling, hours-long affairs. Sessions can last five hours or more, and each individual mission often ends only when the last member of ShackTac has died.

McFarlin fulfills an intangible role at ShackTac, and not just because he’s an officer in the U.S. Army. While he once had a dangerous firefight in Iraq, he’s had hundreds in Arma over the years. And because of that he’s a great in-game leader. He’s the the kind of player you want in your foxhole late on a Saturday night.

The group’s popularity is a big reason why Gluck now works with the company that makes Arma, Bohemia Interactive, as a consultant and video designer. He’s the author of an extensive series of freely available written and video tutorials for Arma products, all of which grew out of his experiences leading ShackTac. Called the Tips, Tactics and Procedures Manual, much of that content was bundled together to create the authoritative guidebook sold alongside Arma 3.

Read the full Polygon Coverage of this Simulated Battle Group here.

Serious Games & Virtual Environment Showcase @ IMSH 2014

Fire Chief Eric B. Bauman, PhD, RN, Paramedic just emailed to remind HealthySim readers about the upcoming video game technology showcase at January’s IMSH 2014 in San Francisco!

serious games winner i-human

(Craig Knocke of I-Human receiving the Best in Show award at the 3rd Annual Serious Games and Virtual Environment Arcade and Showcase for small or entrepreneurial company from Dr. Eric B. Bauman).

Join us at IMSH 2014 for the 4th annual Serious Games and Virtual Environment (VE) Arcade and Showcase. The Serious Games and Virtual Environments Arcade and Showcase provides an environment where users of virtual and game-based technology can collaborate and network with students, clinicians, educators, start-ups, as well as small and large established companies.

If you have a serious game, virtual environment or related innovative technology designed for clinical education we want to see it at the Arcade and Showcase.  Inclusion criteria are primarily based on the ability of the participant to provide hands on interactive experiences for IMSH attendees to engage in. While the interactive experience generally relates to some sort of media or multi-media experience, this is not required. Experiences should occur in a virtual environment or through game-play. 

All presenters are eligible for Best-in-Show awards.  Awards criteria include attending to the creativity, interactivity and or game experience that each “product” provides.  Other facets of evaluation include: Organization, Ease of Use, Level of Fidelity, Customizability, Innovation, and Adaptability.

Submit your abstract and download the Serious Games and VE Arcade and Showcase FAQ today! Follow this group on twitter hashtag: #IMSHArcade.


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Video Games Found Beneficial For The Brain

Kurzweil AI reports on how playing video games will increase spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning, and fine motor skills of the hands. Video games will become an increasing component of medical simulation education. One could even directly argue from these results that ‘play’ through medical simulation has similar results for increased brain performance!

benefits of playing video games

Playing the Super Mario 64 video game causes increased size in brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning as well as fine motor skills, a new study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Charité University Medicine St. Hedwig-Krankenhaus has found.

The positive effects of video gaming may also be useful in therapeutic interventions targeting psychiatric disorders. (Check out PTSD Video game work by USC’s Institute for Creative Technology).

To investigate how video games affect the brain, scientists in Berlin asked 23 adults (mean age: 24) to play the video game “Super Mario 64” on a portable Nintendo XXL console over a period of two months for 30 minutes a day. A control group did not play video games.

video game effects on brain

In comparison to the control group, the video gaming group showed increases of gray matter in the right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum, measured using MRI.

These brain regions are involved in functions such as spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning, and fine motor skills of the hands. These changes were more pronounced the more the participants wanted to play the video game.

“While previous studies have shown differences in brain structure of video gamers, the present study can demonstrate the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase. This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games”, says study leader Simone Kühn, senior scientist at the Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.”

Read the entire Kurzweil Article on Video Game Brain Benefits here.

 

Simulation Video Games Will Change the World

clinispace

Simulation video games continue to demonstrate the benefit of “play” when it comes to learning or experiencing the world around us. Whether you want to drive an 18-wheel truck, a 40-ton locomotive, fly a 747 jumbo jet, run a hospital, evolve a biological bacteria, or even build a city – there is an endless stream of video games to do all that and more.

Knowing that technology will continue to dramatically change the classroom, I believe it is only a matter of time before video games are utilized in many to most educational centers for career training. While most simulation games are currently based on vehicular manipulation – software like CliniSpace allow for learners to practice engaging with healthcare environments through team communication and management scenarios.

Obviously the level of reality ranges as much as the types of games available. Below the satire-based “Surgey Simulator 2013” offers an updated and even sillier form of the board game classic “Operation”.  In one of several ridiculous missions your goal is to do a brain transplant in a moving ambulance.

But contrast the above with the video below: a ten minute tutorial covering only part 1 of the military jet A10 startup procedures from the video game “Digital Combat Simulator”:

In the future, it will be faster and more affordable to add simulation to “on the job training” to reduce time necessary in more costly learning environments. Everything from engaging in a mock virtual trial to flipping burgers will be turned into simulated learning video games.

Take a look at the growing list of simulation video games on wikipedia, and consider where video games will take healthcare training in our near future.

Video Game Simulations Decrease Surgeon Mistakes

Verena Dobnik of the Associated Press reminds us that a video game a day keeps the errors away!

surgery simulation

Posted on NBCNews, Verena’s article “Surgeons may err less by playing video games” reports that “researchers found that doctors who spent at least three hours a week playing video games made about 37 percent fewer mistakes in laparoscopic surgery and performed the task 27 percent faster than their counterparts who did not play video games.” Beth Israel and the National Institute on Media and the Family at Iowa State University completed the research.

Personally I can attest that playing video games has helped me to be a better driver. Each completed game throughout my childhood and adult life provided unique opportunities to engage in hand-eye coordination exercises, from catching footballs to driving race cars.  While learning to drive a Fire Engine was certainly different from learning to ride a motorcycle, the ability to make quick visual judgements of distance, speed and angle that instantly translated into almost unconscious maneuvers to avoid collisions is a skill gained before I could even apply for a drivers license.

To learn more about where video games will take medical simulation in the years to come, check out the Clinical Playground.

Clinical Playground is fun!

In the Monsters Inc. clip above, a new monster has to go through simulated training experiences to make sure they can properly scare children. The instructor could use some debriefing notes from Eric Bauman PhD and the Clinical Playground.

Clinical Playground, LLC is a nexus of academic and industry collaboration focusing on the use of simulation and game-based learning for health sciences, public safety, and science education. The founding and managing member of Clinical Playground, LLC, Dr. Eric B. Bauman along with a number of associates throughout industry and higher education believe that leveraging technology, specifically game-based technology and virtual environments represents an important paradigm shift in the educational process.  Medical, Nursing and allied health education, as well as public safety education including, fire, emergency medical services, law enforcement, and organizational managers are well suited to take advantage of game-based and virtual environment training opportunities.

Follow Eric and the Clinical Playground on Twitter as he shares a lot of great info through the medium!