Mobile app replaces 9,400 years of lab-research to detect dementia used by experts

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Nov 18, 2016 10:35 PM EST

A new discovery to detect dementia comes from a game application downloaded in a smartphone. This free mobile game tests players' spatial navigation skills. And more, it is also the largest dementia research ever made.

According to Tech Times, there are 2.4 million people reported to have Sea Hero Quest in their smartphones. Not knowingly, this mobile app helps researchers harness very valuable data from players, contributing to 9,400 years of laboratory research.

Based on the study, recent research findings disclosed in Neuroscience conference 2016 in San Diego, California, related to the treatment of dementia, the ability of navigation declines in all life.

The University College of London researchers also believed that the findings can help in dementia test. They also added that as the navigational ability declines, people start getting lost most often, which is one of the first symptoms of the Alzheimer's disease.

"This is the only study of its kind, on this scale, to date," Dr. Hugo Spiers, one of the researchers in the report. He also said, "the findings have enormous possibilities to support major developments in dementia treatment research. And as such, it would be a huge milestone to diagnose dementia at an early stage before a patient shows signs of memory loss."

For the research team to gather data from the game, players are required to provide their age and navigate a boat to through waters in several differently theme areas over 75 levels and are ask to collect certain items along the way.

Initial findings revealed that there are differences in spatial navigation strategies used by women and men as well as spatial navigation starts to decline in the early stage of adulthood.

As people get older, the sense of direction loses gradually. Per BBC posted in the iTech Post, 19 year-old gamers 74% accuracy in navigation, while it is 46% for the 75 year-olds.

"This study is giving us the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of millions of people living with dementia and those at risk of developing the disease in the future" Dr. Hugo Spiers giving the major details regarding dementia treatment research.

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