Playing Games To Diagnose Alzheimer’s

Akili Interactive Labs Inc. and Pfizer Inc. have teamed up to test the validity of a cognitive video game developed by Akili to diagnose the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in otherwise healthy seniors.

Akili, founded in 2011 from research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, launched “Project EVO” as a software platform and gaming engine capable of measuring a key feature of executive functioning known as interference processing.

The game itself, which can be played on mobile phones or tablets, takes the user on a journey into four fantasy worlds for a series of timed plays and is then able to analyze the player’s motor function, ability to pay attention, impulse control and reaction time — information that can be readily accessed remotely by a healthcare provider.

Pfizer will test the game as a possible biomarker that can be used to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s. The company will conduct a clinical trial using elderly subjects with and without the presence of amyloid in their brains.

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