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”Sea Hero Quest”-Video game detects Alzheimer’s before medical tests: study

Maybe your phone game isn’t such a waste of time after all: One, at least, can detect Alzheimer’s symptoms, according to a new study.

“Sea Hero Quest,” a phone and VR game with 4.3 million users, partnered with Alzheimer’s Research UK to test players without obvious Alzheimer’s symptoms, such as memory loss, for early onset signs of the brain disease.

For the study, which was published last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University College London and the University of East Anglia focused on the gameplay data of 27,108 UK players aged 50 to 75. They compared how people with a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease — signified by the presence of a gene called APOE4 — navigated the game’s nautical-themed mazes, compared to people without that gene.

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