A recent study performed by a team of scientists from the University College of London has revealed that an online game can potentially help doctor’s diagnosis the early symptoms of dementia.
Sea Quest Hero is a web-based game developed by the Alzheimer’s Research UK in collaboration with Deutsche Telekom. The game lets players experience the adventures of an elderly sea explorer who wants to get back his lost memory.
Relying heavily on spatial navigation, the game can potentially predict if a player shows symptoms associated with dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The study, which was presented during the latest neuroscience conference hosted in the United States, revealed that Sea Quest Hero managed to gather more data about the brain’s ability to navigate through space than all other similar studies put together.
Dementia, such as Alzheimer’s, is caused by a wide variety of diseases that target the brain. Patients with dementia experience memory loss, thinking impairment, behavioral changes, and progressively lose navigational and spatial abilities.
Hugo Spiers, a neuroscientist, involved in the new study, declared that the was most accurate in pinpointing the telltale signs of dementia and that the data gathered from the game could serve to develop new medical procedures and dementia therapies.
According to the latest appraisal, since the game was launched, it was played over 2.4 million times, providing researchers with 9,400 hours worth of research.
Preliminary data showed that the players’ age could vary anywhere between 19 and 75 years old. The same results showed that 19-years old players have a 75 percent accuracy in spatial navigation. On the other hand, the navigational accuracy percentage seems to drop to 46 for 75-years old players.
Spiers pointed out that while spatial navigation difficulty is a symptom associated with old age, disorientation can definitely be regarded as the onset of dementia.
In the meantime, the team is still trying to process a large amount of data in order to establish if there is indeed a connection between age and decline in spatial navigation abilities. If the data is consistent, the scientist declared that it can be used in order to detect the early signs of this malady accurately.
Apart from being a useful scientifical tool, Sea Quest hero is also a great stress reliever. If you wish something fun and challenging to do in your spare time, then help the old sailor relieve his past adventures. You can play the game on any platform by accessing the game’s official page.