From “teenage zombies” to surgery champs?

In Friday’s Wall Street Journal (Teenage Zombies), Stephen Moore laments the descent of his two teenagers into video game zombies. They’ve become addicted to video games and dad and mom are seriously concerned. It does sound rather dire. Moore is trying his best to look on the bright side. As he notes:

A famous 2004 study by researchers at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, found that video games improve manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination: “Doctors who spend at least 3 hours a week playing video games,” the researchers reported, “made about 37% fewer mistakes in laproscopic surgery.” Fine. I’ll give my sons the joysticks back when they become orthopedic surgeons.

But he is fundamentally concerned:

I’m not suggesting making the games illegal — we don’t need a multibillion-dollar black market in video games. But I am pleading that parents take this social problem seriously and intervene, as my wife and I wish we had done much earlier.

Here at last is a bit of good news for Moore. Another Beth Israel (this one Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston) is putting a new policy in place for laparoscopic surgeons. From the Boston Globe (White Coat Notes)

Under the new policy, surgeons will be tested in a simulation center to see how well they can suture, cut in a circle, and move objects.

Sounds like a video game to me! Moore may or may not realize that there are plenty of good jobs supporting orthopedic surgeons. (Think sales reps for one.) There’s no reason Moore’s kids couldn’t become coaches to the docs who’ll have to take the exams. By the time they wake up from their Nintendo stupor maybe they’ll even be ready to study to be surgeons themselves.

January 7, 2008

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