Tim Parry from Alzheimer's Research UK believes a new game app called 'Sea Hero Quest' is the best option yet for gathering medical research into the condition.
Alzheimer's disease occurs when a shrinking of brain tissue causes the sufferers to gradually lose their memory and spatial awareness. Even the simplest tasks become a massive challenge for someone with dementia, and it affects an estimated 850,000 people in the UK.
The app is a collaboration between University College London, University of East Anglia and Alzheimer’s Research UK. The game is based around navigation - something the brain struggles with when dementia sets in - and records the data patients produce while playing the game
Parry, the head of communications at Alzheimer's Research UK, feels the game is better than other scientific research apps created before.
"We think it finds the balance between having scientific benefit and being fun to play," he told Paul Ross. "You pilot a small colourful boat, going through different waterways and mazes finding monsters."
While you're using the app, information is anonymised and sent back to University College London for analysis.
"The data gives us a better understanding of what healthy navigation in the human brain looks like across the ages," Parry explained. "We need to understand this [in order] to better detect and understand problems people with dementia have.
"Loss of navigational abilities happens early on in the dementia process."