Categories: world

Virtual reality to detect early risk for Alzheimer's | Society

Researchers have found an unexpected use of virtual reality heads: to help find people who can later develop Alzheimer's disease. The device, used by computers, shows images that can be used to test people's navigation capabilities thought they were at risk of dementia. Those who get worse in the tests are those who are likely to go to Alzheimer's later in life, scientists believe now. By identifying potential patients far earlier than is currently possible, researchers hope that it will be easier over the long term to develop treatments aimed at stopping or slowing down their condition. "It is usually thought that memory is the first attribute affected by Alzheimer's," said project manager Dennis Chan, a neuroscience at Cambridge University. "But difficulty with navigation is increasingly felt like one of the very first symptoms. This may anticipate the appearance of other symptoms." "By finding those who begin to lose their navigational capabilities, we hope to show that we can target people a lot earlier stage of the condition and one day becomes much more effective in treating them. " The discovery that the loss of navigation capacity was associated with Alzheimer's disease was made several years ago by Chan and colleagues based at several centers in the UK. These studies used tablet computers to test navigation data. But now, researchers are planning to take their tests on a new level using virtual reality modes where carriers are deepened into simulated environments through which they must navigate. About 300 people between…

Researchers have found an unexpected use of virtual reality heads: to help find people who can later develop Alzheimer’s disease.

The device, used by computers, shows images that can be used to test people’s navigation capabilities thought they were at risk of dementia. Those who get worse in the tests are those who are likely to go to Alzheimer’s later in life, scientists believe now.

By identifying potential patients far earlier than is currently possible, researchers hope that it will be easier over the long term to develop treatments aimed at stopping or slowing down their condition.

“It is usually thought that memory is the first attribute affected by Alzheimer’s,” said project manager Dennis Chan, a neuroscience at Cambridge University. “But difficulty with navigation is increasingly felt like one of the very first symptoms. This may anticipate the appearance of other symptoms.”

“By finding those who begin to lose their navigational capabilities, we hope to show that we can target people a lot earlier stage of the condition and one day becomes much more effective in treating them. “

The discovery that the loss of navigation capacity was associated with Alzheimer’s disease was made several years ago by Chan and colleagues based at several centers in the UK. These studies used tablet computers to test navigation data.

But now, researchers are planning to take their tests on a new level using virtual reality modes where carriers are deepened into simulated environments through which they must navigate.

About 300 people between 40 and 60 years will be recruited to participate in the study. Some will have a gene which put them in danger of the condition or come from a family of Alzheimer’s history. But not everyone will be destined to suffer from the disease. Chans project aims to find out who wants.

Using virtual reality heads, comes participants to be forced to navigate the road, and then remember details of a variety of environments.

“We will note those who have special problems and see if these are those at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s,” explained Chan. “The purpose of the study is very simple: can we detect changes in brain function before people are aware that they have them?”

Researchers recently identified the importance of a small brain area called entorhinal cortex, which acts as a hub in a widespread brain network that controls the navigation. This now seems to be the first part of the brain given to Alzheimer’s.

“The entorhina cortex is the first brain region to show degeneration when you get Alzheimer’s, and this is where we will focus our research,” said Chan, whose work is funded by the Alzheimer’s Society.

The aim of the work is to help people as they develop the disease. “So far, drug trials for Alzheimer’s have been used when people already have dementia, at which time a significant brain damage has already occurred,” told Chan Observer .

“If we can develop drugs and administer them earlier, for example before the disease has spread beyond the entorhina cortex, then this would have the potential to prevent dementia from starting.”

Share
Published by
Faela