Boris Radošević, Marija Felkel, Nina Išek Međugorac and Ninoslav Mimica
During Alzheimer Café socialising event, traditionally organised by the Croatian Society for Alzheimer's Disease held today, Hrvatski Telekom and Croatian Society for Alzheimer's Disease have presented #gameforgood, a global initiative under which the mobile game Sea Hero Quest was launched. It is an innovative mobile game, specifically designed to create the world's largest crowd sourced data set benchmarking human spatial navigation. The database will help bring scientists one step closer to developing new diagnostic tests for dementia.
According to the World's Alzheimer's Report 2015, over 47 million people worldwide live with dementia. The figure exceeds the population of Spain, and it is estimated to increase and reach 131.5 million persons affected by 2050. Concerning Croatia, there are over 86,000 persons suffering from this condition, and the figures show a continuous rise in the number of people affected.
For people living with dementia, the formation of new memories is severely disrupted, frequently leaving them isolated, disorientated, and disconnected. It is a condition that deprives those we love of the ability to share their most precious memories, and Hrvatski Telekom, as a member of Deutsche Telekom Group, believes the purpose and the magic of life lies precisely in the power of sharing of such moments with our loved ones.
“We believe that it is our responsibility to consistently challenge ourselves and find new ways to harness the power of our network and our services for the greater good. Under the global initiative #gameforgood and through the use of technology, as well as with the help of our users, we are creating the largest database on human spatial navigation and response speed, striving to help dementia researchers at the global level. This project is merely a continuation of the existing initiatives within HT, focusing on the importance of health preservation and encouragement of a higher quality of life amongst our employees,” noted Marija Felkel, Member of the Management Board of HT and Chief Human Resources Officer.
Dementia is not a disease in itself. It is a word used to describe a group of symptoms that occur when brain cells stop working properly. This happens inside specific areas of the brain, which can affect how we think, remember, and communicate. There are many different forms or causes of dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60%-70% of cases.
“For a large number of people living with dementia, one of the first effects they notice is the loss of spatial awareness whilst they lose the ability to navigate even in well-known places and environments. The creation of a global benchmark on the methods of human spatial navigation has been widely recognised as one of the most important steps in the development of new diagnostic tests for diseases causing dementia. There are currently several drug trials under way providing new hope in the ability to slow down the progress of Alzheimer's disease that most frequently causes dementia. Should the drug trials prove effective, early and timely diagnosis will remain the only impediment to our ability to effectively deploy these new medicines. Hence, this initiative is an extremely large and important step in that direction,” highlighted Ninoslav Mimica, M.D., Ph.D, Professor, President of the Croatian Society for Alzheimer's Disease.
There are currently 47.5 million people worldwide affected by dementia and 7.7 million new cases are diagnosed at an annualised level. Irrespective of the fact that dementia primarily affects elderly people, it is not a normal part of ageing. It does not discriminate – dementia is a condition that can affect anyone regardless of their background, education, lifestyle, or status.
On the mobile game Sea Hero Quest – how to play it?
Whilst the players navigate through labyrinths of islands and icebergs, each second of gameplay can be translated into scientific data by experts. If you play Sea Hero Quest for 2 minutes, you have contributed to 300 minutes (5 hours) worth of traditional lab based research. If 100,000 people play Sea Hero Quest for only 2 minutes, it will be worth over 50 years of lab based research.
The game Sea Hero Quest is available at the global level for iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded now for free from App Store and Google Play.
Deutsche Telekom, research charity organisation Alzheimer’s Research, the University of London, the University of East Anglia, and Glitchers game programmers support and stand behind this global initiative, whilst in Croatia it is being implemented by Hrvatski Telekom in co-operation with the Croatian Society for Alzheimer's Disease.