Centre d’innovació i Tecnologia BARCELONATECH

Games to detect senile dementia: Smart Ageing

The Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB UPC), in collaboration with the Consorzio di Bioingegneria e Informática Medica and the Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Casimiro Mondino of Pavia (Italy), has developed a serious game as a virtual test for early detection of senile dementia. This disease affects between 10 and 20% of people over 65 years old. The team, led by PhD. Dani Tost and Prof. Sergi Grau from the Computer Graphics area of CREB, has created a virtual test involving memory and attention exercises carried out in a realistic 3D virtual environment to detect cognitive deterioration in over 50 year olds.

This is what is known as a serious game, a game designed to diagnose mild cognitive impairment in the population. This is a growing health problem currently affecting between 10% and 20% of people from 65. Different types of dementia have a great impact on the family, social and economic levels, and generate a high consumption of health and social resources.

Experts believe that early diagnosis of these diseases and the start of treatment may positively alter the prognosis in the short and long term. This new model replace manual tests currently used, and from which the specialists are based to make medical diagnoses. It has a navigation system and assisted selection and integrates 2D and 3D activities. Once developed the technology now has started the validation phase trial in Italy with a population of thousand people.

This intelligent test consists of five tasks that the patient must be made through the virtual game. On the computer screen, the user sees the image of a loft apartment with a bedroom, a bathroom and a dining space. About this space develops the five tasks as assigned automatically.

The system can store the results, from which specialists can make the diagnosis. "One of the challenges is to adjust the formula to know that with certain parameters can make the diagnosis on the patient's cognitive level," explains Dr. Dani Tost, 2015 anticipates having the validation results of the test to demonstrate their viability. "The idea of this test, cheaper than those used now, is that health systems serve for early detection generalized to the entire population," adds the researcher.