Puzzle along and speed up Alzheimer research
Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that we still have little control over, even after 100 years of research. A human brain still has more computing power than even a supercomputer, so what if we could actually use our own brains to eliminate Alzheimer’s? How about if you could fight Alzheimer’s by playing an online game? Playing the game Stall Catchers, in which you catch clogged blood vessels, offers an opportunity to contribute to advancing Alzheimer’s research towards a possible solution.
This is how it works
The online game Stall Catchers involves ‘catching’ your clogged blood vessels, which we know as “stalls”. There is increasing evidence that stalls and reduced blood flow to the brain have a relationship with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Conversely, it has been shown that reducing these blockages in mice brains reduces the symptoms of this disease. But proving this scientifically requires analysis of huge numbers of digital images of the mice brains. That research would keep scientists busy for many years. But we can do part of that oh-so-important work with Stall Catchers.
Stall Catchers is a game that offers an opportunity for a worldwide effort to assist analysis of these images. Each player is shown videos of a mouse brain scan. The aim is to identify the ‘stall’ by indicating where the blood vessel is blocked or has a blockage. Both players and researchers assess each others and your images. If enough people find a stall in the same place as you do, you get points. The more points won and the more stalls recognized, the better and faster the Alzheimer’s research will advance.
The game is suitable for everyone but it gives people at an early stage of Alzheimer’s and their caregivers in particular the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to research into this debilitating disease. Because the more intensely we use our brains, the greater the chance that we can save those of our older loved ones.