Sea Hero Quest, a virtual game designed specifically to detect early stages of Alzheimer's disease, has become incredibly effective, according to a new study.
As Gameinformer explains, in "Sea Hero Quest" you control a boat. Your goal is to reach multiple control points with a map, but then the map will be completely removed, so you only need to travel through those points of memory.
This formula has helped researchers and medical professionals identify the early onset of Alzheimer's in people who have not yet experienced severe symptoms.
These mild symptoms are not always detectable with medical tests and, according to a PNAS study, Sea Hero Quest was so effective that it was better to identify them than traditional tests.
Researchers have found that players at high genetic risk of developing Alzheimer's disease choose less effective routes to reach in-game control points. In addition, movement patterns have been identified among players in a group of genetic risks that have not yet had memory problems.
Researchers say that every two minutes playing Sea Hero Quest equals five hours of laboratory research. Since launching the game a few years ago, the data collected on it are now equivalent to 1,700 years of research on Alzheimer's disease. "Sea Hero Quest," with more than 4.3 million players, is called "the greatest insight into dementia in history."
Sea Hero Quest was created by Glitchers mobile application developer and funded by Deutsche Telekom in collaboration with researchers from University College London, the University of East Anglia and the Alzheimer's research center in the UK.