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Using video games to detect (and protect) those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease

Contributed by Craig Stark, PhD

Researchers from the UK have just released a report showing how we can extract valuable cognitive data out of video game performance. Using the mobile game Sea Hero Quest, which relies heavily on spatial memory and navigation, the researchers were able to discriminate healthy aging from those at-risk for Alzheimer’s. By using games that are fun and engaging, but are designed to tap into specific brain processes, we can usher in a new era of diagnosis.

Research in my lab here at UCI is further looking at whether playing certain kinds of video games can actually help your memory as well.

To learn more, visit our lab website and join me on UCI MIND’s Facebook LIVE series Friday, August 2nd at 9AM PST.

Dr. Stark earned a doctorate in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and serves as Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior in the UCI School of Biological Sciences. Dr. Stark’s research investigates the neural bases of human long-term memory. He uses functional neuroimaging (fMRI), experimental psychology, neuropsychological studies of amnesic patients, and studies of aging and dementia to investigate how the neural systems supporting these various types of memory operate and interact. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding the human hippocampus and other components of the medial temporal lobe.