The world’s largest dementia research experiment, which takes the form of a video game, has indicated the ability to navigate declines throughout life.
Getting lost is one of the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and the researchers at University College London believe the results presented at the 2016 Neuroscience Conference could help makea test for dementia.
Sea Hero Quest is a nautical adventure to save an old sailor’s lost memories.
The game anonymously records the player’s sense of direction and navigational ability through each level. Players have to weave through waterways and fire a flare back home as well as memorising a sequence of buoys.
Data harnessed from the flare levels suggests that sense of direction declines consistently after the teenage years. Players aged 19 were 74% accurate at firing the flare back home, but accuracy fell year by year until it reached 46% at age 75.
The point of the research is to develop a way of diagnosing dementia in its earliest stages – something not yet possible.
Citation: BBC News, 2016