New Game Is a Game-Changer in Dementia Research

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New Game Is Advancing Dementia Research

By Glenn Krakow, 9:00 am on

A new free mobile game app called Sea Hero Quest offers plenty of adventurous fun: navigating the world in a boat, capturing sea monsters, and setting off flares are just a few challenges. However, according to El Dorado County senior care professionals, this is not another run-of-the-mill adventure game. The player’s quest is helping a real-life quest to gather data critical for researching causes and treatments for dementia.

Researchers at University College London and East Anglia University wanted to find a way to gather massive amounts of data about how people process information from a large sampling across all age ranges and physical locales. Collectively, they decided creating an engaging all-ages game would be the most efficient and effective way to do so. The researchers joined forces with Alzheimer’s Research UK and together they approached Germany-based Deutsche Telekom to develop Sea Hero Quest.

One of the missing pieces in dementia research has been the lack of data about certain brain processes. The information gathered through Sea Hero Quest promises to be vital in understanding a disease that has stymied researchers around the globe. While playing, the game focuses on people’s navigational behavior. Many researchers believe a decrease navigational abilities is one of the first signs of memory impairment. Currently 45 million people worldwide have dementia. By 2050 that number is expected to triple to 135 million. 

Right now scientists have little concrete understanding about what causes dementia, how it progresses, and how it may best be treated or eventually cured. Two short minutes of game play gives the scientists the same amount of data that it would take five hours to gather in a laboratory setting. Given the astronomical amount of hours people spend gaming online, the researchers believe they will be able to gather useful information in a few short months compared to decades using traditional methods.

The game is available at the Google Play store. As you play, every click of the mouse, keystroke, and decision is recorded and securely stored in databases. Although you can share your name if you wish, the default setting is for anonymous play.

A dementia diagnosis doesn’t have to mean leaving home and accepting a lower quality of life. The El Dorado County dementia care provided by Home Care Assistance helps seniors maintain safety, health, and comfort while aging in the familiarity of home. For more information on how our care services can help your aging parent or grandparent maintain a high-quality life, give us a call at (916) 358-3801 or (530) 409-4411 and schedule a free consultation today.