Alzheimer’s Research UK teamed up with Deutsche Telekom to create a game with the purpose of gathering data on how normal navigation looks for different ages. Players navigate through mazes while the game gather anonymous data on the time and how players navigate.
As to how the game will help research:
How this links to dementia relates again to our use of spatial navigation which, for people with dementia, can be compromised or lost quite early on in the condition. However, we don’t yet know enough about healthy navigational abilities to be able to develop with enough sensitivity a test to reliably detect problems with these abilities in dementia. Sea Hero Quest could help solve this in double quick time.
There is a bigger picture around the value of early detection in dementia. We know thattreatments we’re working hard to deliver in the coming years are almost certainly going to be more effective when people with dementia can access them as early as possible. It’s therefore imperative we focus on early disease detection in tandem with treatment development – the two lean on each other heavily for success.
The other benefit that Sea Hero Quest’s approach brings is the enormous saving on how this kind of research is conventionally delivered, and why the largest study of its kind to date featured fewer than 600 people. In order to undertake a maze test to measure navigational abilities, I would typically have to spot a study recruitment advert, travel to a test centre, fill in forms about myself and take the navigational test, all assisted by scientists and facilitators. It would be enjoyable, but also time-consuming, costly and potentially difficult to recruit for. Playing Sea Hero Quest for a couple of minutes on the bus could achieve the same outcome, and it’s free for the player and super quick. You’ll want to play for longer than a couple of minutes too.