App and VR game designed to crowdsource baseline data of normal ageing navigation skills to aid dementia research.
More than 3.5 million people in 193 countries have contributed to the world’s biggest dementia study by playing this game.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is the charity that helped to inform the game’s development.
Users chase creatures around magical seas and swamps.
The developers state that playing the game “ for just 2 minutes will generate the equivalent of 5 hours of lab-based research data.”
The focus of the game is to test and record navigational skills, as the loss of this capability can be an early sign of dementia.
The research is needed to determine `normal’ benchmarks for navigation based on age. This means that clinicians cannot yet differentiate between getting lost caused by disease and getting lost caused by natural ageing.
As users play, their navigational data is:
The app has created the world’s largest crowd sourced data set benchmarking human spatial navigation. This incredible resource will eventually lead to the development of new diagnosis tools and treatments for dementia.
“People with dementia can face real challenges with navigation, and it’s a problem that can occur early on in the condition. However, we still don’t have reliable data on how navigational abilities can change in the healthy brain across life.
Playing the game for just a few minutes will provide this completely anonymous data to help improve our understanding of navigational cognition. We’ll create a benchmark to help determine what goes wrong in the brain for people with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Research UK is helping support the analysis of the data the game generates, which could pave the way for improved approaches to early disease detection, in turn helping improve people’s chance of benefiting from new or existing treatments earlier.”
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