Video games, from time to time, will find an opportunity to help with their interactivity with medicine. In recent years, the industry has received a warm welcome in medicine, mainly due to the potential of virtual reality, already used in the treatment of autism, phobias and its future use in operations. Sea Hero Quest is one of those games focused on the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
Patients in the game are given the task of navigating and controlling a virtual boat. They will receive a map of the area with individual points to remember. Then the map is removed and they must rely on their own sense of orientation and memory. This simple task tests your brain function and activity.
Developers and researchers studied people playing with the gene called APOE4 responsible for the risk of developing dementia. Subsequently, their results were compared to completely healthy people. "We found that risk groups bearing the APOE4 gene were much worse in spatial perception and navigation. They chose less effective ways to reach individual points on the map " Professor Michael Hornberger.
Sea Hero Quest was released a few years ago, first as a mobile app for iOS and Android. During that time, developers were able to collect data from 3 million players and monitor their actions. In doing so, they obtained documents comparable to 1700 years of current research. User tracking is not new, and these principles have been used for a long time in marketing, for example, for a good purpose.
The current problem in patients with Alzheimer's disease is the late diagnosis when the disease is detected at an advanced stage. However, many people feel signs of decades ahead. Thus, Sea Hero Quest could help anyone in the early detection of mild first symptoms and then seek medical attention.