Imagine a world without mobile
apps. A world where we wouldn’t be able to book our favorite restaurant at the
click of a button or find out the hottest deals on the internet. Scary isn’t
it? Apps have been around for quite sometime now but they’ve just recently entered
the medical field and are causing quite a stir. People are using these
applications to track health, measure calories and sat fit. While apps such as FitBits
and mHealth are being used by the usual consumer, physicians prefer using Epocrates
and PEPID to look up drug related information and track patient information. Though
the medical app market is still fresh, researchers and neuroscientists are
exploring new ways to diagnosing diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Early detection and diagnosis is
a big benefit for patients with a genetic history of Alzheimer’s because it
helps manage the illness and aids in stopping some serious and life-threatening
symptoms. It is the 6th
leading cause of death in the United States and roughly 5.4
million Americans are unaware that they have the disease. This is because Alzheimer’s
is hardest to diagnose in its early stage or when MCI (mild cognitive impairment)
is first experienced.  

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Fortunately, apps are now being
developed that can detect signs of dementia and pinpoint the patient or physician
in the right direction. While some of these apps are focused on questions, others
rely on gaming techniques that measure spatial navigation ability and test
other cognitive functions.

So, let’s jump right in and find
out what’s being done in the mobile app world to detect Alzheimer’s early.

Apps that help in early detection of Alzheimer’s

BrainTest

This app, developed by Dr. Douglas
Scharre is a type of self-administered Gerocongnitive Examination (SAGE) that assesses
cognitive functionality and MCI or early dementia. This app uses the same cognitive
screening method that is used in the Dr.’s office but can be taken by patients privately.
It spots the early changes associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s and is anonymously
scored at the app’s core-lab. Once the patient’s scores are calculated, they
are presented with a video that explains the numbers and what it could mean for
the patient.

Because this app is not a
diagnostic test but an assessment, it can be printed and taken to the Dr. so
details about the symptoms and implications and be discussed. Early detection is
key for patients with Alzheimer’s because symptoms may not just be reversible but
treatable too.

Sea Hero Quest

According to a research,
Sea Hero Quest, developed by Deutsche Telekom is one of the most promising apps
that help in early diagnosis of dementia. At a glance, this is a simple game where
you navigate a ship through rough waters and look for lost pieces of a journal,
but the scientists behind the app are actually measuring and recording your spatial
navigation.

The mobile app measures and
tracks the spatial navigation abilities of players of all ages and compiles this
data to detect issues most common in Alzheimer’s and MCI. Hugo Spiers, one of
the neuroscientist’s behind the app says that the game and its data serve as a
global chart of human spatial navigation and will help in creating tools for early
detection of dementia. 

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