Like a lot of medical conditions, early detection can either help to cure the problem, or it could help patients deal with the issue a lot earlier which can also help improve their overall quality of life. We’ve seen how some researchers are trying to find ways of detecting Alzheimer’s early, and now a new study has suggested that maybe a video game could actually do a much better job.
In a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it used a game called Sea Hero Quest to detect Alzheimer’s in patients. How they managed to detect the disease was by seeing how players navigated the game, where they had to use their thumbs to move a boat through a series of mazes.
Patients who might have a genetic risk at Alzheimer’s were found to take less efficient routes compared to those who had a lower risk. According to the researchers, the use of the game helped speed up their study where two minutes of game time was found to be equivalent of about five hours worth of lab researcher, meaning that researchers were getting information at a much, much faster rate.
According to lead researcher Michael Hornberger, “Current diagnosis of dementia is strongly based on memory symptoms, which we know now are occurring when the disease is quite advanced. Instead, emerging evidence shows that subtle spatial navigation and awareness deficits can precede memory symptoms by many years.”