Though cellphone-based games are relatively new, they are extremely popular among people of different sexes and age groups. While they are primarily meant to be entertaining, they can also be used for data collecting. One such example came up in a study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America journal where a smartphone game called Sea Hero Quest was used as a form of data collection, helping to detect Alzheimer’s and Dementia early in their development within afflicted individuals.
The objective for those who play Sea Hero Quest is to navigate a boat through different mazes of oceanic design with their thumbs. According to My9NJ, or WWOR-TV, “The game monitors how players with both a high and low genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s based on genetic and demographic risk factors perform”. Some factors accounted for included age sex and the level of education the players achieved. The researchers (which included University College London and University of East Anglia scientists) found “Players with a high risk of the disease had a harder time navigating through the game” My9NJ says. That said, this doesn’t mean everyone who plays the game poorly is going to get Dementia or Alzheimer’s.
While Alzheimer’s disease tends to happen to middle-aged and elderly people, Dementia is a condition that can happen as a result of injury to the brain or a brain-related disease. But what these two afflictions have in common is the loss of cognitive abilities. For instance, the website for Sea Hero Quest claims “The loss of navigational skills is one of the first symptoms of dementia” as stated by My9NJ.
About University College London
Originally known as London University, this public research university was established back in 1826. It was not only London, England’s first university but also the first institution to not be affiliated with any particular religion. Then in 2005, it changed to its current name and has become one of the top-rated universities in England. In terms of research, its most high-ranked citations included topics in: Neuroscience & Behavior, Psychiatry & Psychology, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Immunology, Clinical Medicine, and Social Sciences.
About University of East Anglia
Located in Norwich, England, this is another high-ranked university that was established back in 1963. It is not only known for being excellent in its research facilities but also its focus on Creative Writing and Climate Change in terms of academic subjects.