The alarming growth of Alzheimer’s disease which now affects nearly 50 million people across the world has not seen any significant breakthrough in treatment of the problem for nearly four decades. But researchers now say that a smartphone game which was recently developed would help to halt the growing number of Alzheimer’s patients. According to CEO of Alzheimer’s Research in United Kingdom Hilary Evans, research revealed that brain changes related to Alzheimer’s begin long before the actual memory loss symptoms appear which is why it is usually too late for treatment as brain damage by them would be extensive.
To keep tabs on brain condition experts from East Anglia (UEA) University and UK based London College University along with Deutsche Telecom collaborated to create a game that will help medical doctors detect people at risk from developing Alzheimer’s. Evans stated that this early detection will help people with dementia retain their spatial navigation which is one of the first signs of this condition. The game called as Sea Hero Quest urges players to move mazes to their final destination which till date has been attempted by nearly 4.3 million around the world.
The researchers conducted a study using the game and presented its details in scientific journal PNAS which is a comparative study about reactions of different people who played the game. Game data of around 27000 UK based players within age group of 50 to 75 was analyzed and the researchers also recruited a group of 60 people for genetic testing. This test revealed that 31 among them have APOE4 gene and are three times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease and they took erroneous route to checkpoint goals and performed poorly in spatial navigation activities.