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GameChanger launched to try and improve early dementia diagnosis

Written by Editorial Team, Donr

Published on Thursday, 27th September 2018

Despite someone in the UK developing dementia every three minutes, a third of these cases go undiagnosed. Alzheimer’s Society is urging people to download a new brain games app, in a bid to try and improve the speed and accuracy of dementia diagnosis.

Working with scientists from the University of Oxford, Alzheimer’s Society has been working to develop GameChanger, a series of games designed to test specific aspects of memory and thinking that are affected in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

The game is now ready to be played by the public, so the charity is urging people in the UK to download the app and play the games for five minutes a day, every day for a month. This will allow researchers to see how people usually perform and help them see the warning signs of Alzheimer’s later.

It is hoped the app can eventually be used to find people in the very early stages of the disease and develop new treatments to stop it in its tracks.

The charity is being supported in its push for downloads by one of its Ambassadors: Auf Weidersehen, Pet actor Kevin Whately: ‘GameChanger is going to be a very important innovation because the more people play, the quicker we can detect what causes this disease,’ he commented. 

Kevin, who also starred in Inspector Morse and Lewis, became an Ambassador for the charity after his mother was diagnosed with dementia. He has already downloaded the app for himself and is full of praise for GameChanger: ‘it’s fun, it’s easy and it will really drive forward dementia research,’ he said.

‘People using the app are just playing games, but their phones are doing much more – collecting data we can use to learn about the brain to help us understand what is a natural part of ageing and what’s a warning sign,’ added Dr Chris Hinds of the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Population Health, who developed the app.

Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes, continued: ‘We’ve worked hard with the Government and the NHS to increase dementia diagnosis but there is far more to be done. A third of people with dementia still don’t get a diagnosis, and those who do often tell us it was a painfully slow process.

‘A million people in the UK will have dementia by 2021, and if they can get a diagnosis quickly and accurately that will help them to live well with the disease.

‘Dementia is the only one of the top ten killers that we can’t cure, prevent or even slow down, we urgently need to better understand this devastating disease. Alzheimer’s Society is investing in research because it will beat dementia – but for research to progress, more people need to take part, and GameChanger is a great opportunity for everyone to do that.’