‘Sea Hero Quest’, the video game generated by 2.4 million players has become the largest ‘Dementia’ study in the history.
The study already came up with new findings of how human brain navigates around the world .
Dementia is a chronic mental disorder caused by brain disease or injury. The said mental illness is marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. ‘Dementia’ can be also associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
‘Sea Hero Quest’ is designed to spot the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The game involves sailing in a boat around mazes and misty seas in a fictional world. As the players go through the higher levels, the game records the player’s sense of direction and navigational abilities. The first early signs of dementia are lack of spatial navigation according to studies and researches.
The research team led by the University College London had used the gathered data from the millions of players to study how the healthy human brain makes decisions about navigation at every turn.
One of the levels of the game requires the players to fire flare back to the maze where they think they started. The challenge aims to test their memory skills. Those players aged 19 were most likely to have an accurate hit compared to those players in their 70s. If someone with Alzheimer’s played the game, they would be expected to perform worse than others who don’t have the disease.
Neuroscientist Dr. Hugo Spiers spoke about his data findings at the recently held Neuroscience 2016 conference in San Diego. He said that the findings of the game are very vital to the ongoing research on ‘Dementia’.
“This is the only study of its kind, on this scale, to date. Its accuracy greatly exceeds that of all previous research in this area.”, the scientist said.
Other findings suggest men having a better sense of direction than women, according to BBC. The research had also found out that people with better health conditions have the ability to retain their navigational skills longer.
The scientists will carry out further analysis of the data for the succeeding years. The game continues to be available for free download. The data generated will contribute to the ongoing research.