"Studies show that the brain changes associated with diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, starting decades before with the & # 39; the onset of symptoms such as memory loss," write the press release Gillian Coughlan from the team of scientists who participated in the development of applications. " to be the treatment of Alzheimer's disease may be more effective in the future, it is necessary to recognize the symptoms early in the disease, before the brain did too much damage, "he added.
Alzheimer's disease & # 39 is one of the most common forms of dementia in the elderly. Brain damage can not be cured with current therapies can only slow down neuronal death. Therefore, even more important to recognize Alzheimer's disease as early as possible, for example, blood tests, or artificial intelligence automated imaging of the brain.
Now, however, there is another unusual instrument for the detection of disease – games for smartphones. Application of Sea Hero Quest, scientists have developed in collaboration with the German operator Deutsche Telekom and a number of European universities. The task of the user in the virtual world, the sea finds its way through a maze of islands and icebergs. The use of the collected data and user behavior on a dedicated server, where they are analyzed, scientists.
Just two minutes using the application to collect as much data as they collected five hours of laboratory tests, the researchers say. While the use of virtual shuttleless way through the maze of islands and icebergs, the scientists every half second game, converted to scientific information.
This information, according to the authors helps to recognize the symptoms of dementia "before clinical signs." Because he is still the app has ordered more than four million users, may in fact a neurologist based on a comparison of the reaction of healthy and sick people, to identify small defects in the orientation characteristic of Alzheimer's disease.
"Studies show that these tiny defects in orientation taking place a few years before with a & # 39; the first symptoms of memory impairment," said team leader Michael Hornberger scientists from the University of East Anglia researchers hope that on the basis of these results for the development of new tools. diagnosis of the disease, which up to 2050 is forecast to reach 135 million people around the world.
Their results were published in the professional journal PNAS research.