Surgery Trainees Warm Up Using Video Games

A study involving eight doctors in training showed trainee surgeons who played Nintendo Wii before going into a virtual surgery training test performed almost 50 percent better on the exam.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Okay, so that's technology's dark side. Today's last word in business is putting technology to better use. It's video games and surgery. A study shows that trainee surgeons who played Nintendo's Wii before going into surgery performed better in simulated surgery.

Researchers at the Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, asked eight student surgeons to warm up on the Wii. They played games that require precise hand movements like "Marble Mania," which involves guiding a virtual marble around a 3-D maze. The Wii players did almost 50 percent better than other students when it came time for the virtual scalpel.

The researchers are now designing Wii software especially for surgical training. One says the $250 is so much cheaper than current devices for training that the Wii can be used by medical schools in poorer countries that cannot afford pricey, high-tech training devices.

And that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News.

I'm Steve Inskeep.

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