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Scientists Are Using a Game to Fight Dementia

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

Anything that may offer a clearer understanding of dementia is an important step towards finding better detection options. As many dementia caregivers in Santa Rosa will tell you, most research, however, focuses on finding treatments that will lessen the severity of symptoms for those already affected by some type of dementia. British scientists are taking a different approach to research with an unexpected source–a mobile game app.

Unique Data Collection Method

The game, Sea Hero Quest, was developed by researchers to better understand how dementia affects those with the symptoms. Telling the story of a father and son’s search for sea creatures, the game is designed specifically to collect information that will be used in ongoing dementia research. The data collected will give scientists and researchers a better understanding of the how the human brain completes certain cognitive tasks.

Determining How Players Respond

Scientists plan to collect stats on how players of different sexes, age groups, and geographic locations apply the skills tested in the game. Researchers will use this information to develop an extensive database that compares results of all players. Challenges encountered in the game include:

  • Navigating a ship to specified areas
  • Answering basic questions during game play
  • Capturing images of various creatures
  • Shooting flares

Testing Navigational Skills

The primary purpose of the game is to test navigational abilities. This is significant since there’s a study that suggests a loss of navigational skills may be an early sign of dementia. Data collected while playing the game is stored anonymously, although players can decide whether or not they wish to reveal their identity.

Approximately 50 million people worldwide are believed to have some type of dementia. With that number expected to triple by 2050, there’s an incentive to identify early risk factors and patterns that may indicate a problem. The free Sea Hero Quest app is available from the Google Play store and has been downloaded more than 7,000 times.

While there is currently no cure for dementia, there are many ways to help your elderly loved one maintain his or her quality of life and remain safe and healthy in the comfort of home. For more information, reach out to Home Care Assistance. As a leading provider of senior care Santa Rosa families trust, we offer flexible schedules, 24/7 availability, and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Give us a call at (707) 843.4368 and schedule a free in-home consultation to learn more.