Virtual reality brain training game can detect mild cognitive impairment, a condition that often predates Alzheimer’s disease (press release):
“Geek researchers demonstrated the potential of a virtual supermarket cognitive training game as a screening tool for patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) among a sample of older adults…
In an article published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the researchers have indicated that the virtual supermarket (VSM) application displayed…a level of diagnostic accuracy similar to standardized neuropsychological tests, which are the gold standard for MCI screening. Patients with MCI can live independently and not all such patients progress to AD. Therefore the global effort against cognitive disorders is focused on early detection at the MCI stage…
The use of the VSM as a robust screening test could have profound implications for the diagnosis and treatment of MCI, the most important of which is the possibility for automated remote MCI screening. The performance of older adults playing such a game at home could be monitored and an algorithm embedded in the game could inform them when their performance suggests possible cognitive impairment due to MCI, prompting them to visit an appropriate health service. ”
Study: Can a Virtual Reality Cognitive Training Application Fulfill a Dual Role? Using the Virtual Supermarket Cognitive Training Application as a Screening Tool for Mild Cognitive Impairment (Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease). From the abstract:
- Background: Recent research advocates the potential of virtual reality (VR) applications in assessing cognitive functions highlighting the possibility of using a VR application for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) screening.
- Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate whether a VR cognitive training application, the virtual supermarket (VSM), can be used as a screening tool for MCI.
- Results: VSM displayed a correct classification rate (CCR) of 87.30% when differentiating between MCI patients and healthy older adults, while it was unable to differentiate between MCI subtypes. At the same time, the VSM correlates with various established neuropsychological tests. A limited number of tests were able to improve the CCR of the VSM when combined with the VSM for screening purposes.
- Discussion: VSM appears to be a valid method of screening for MCI in an older adult population though it cannot be used for MCI subtype assessment. VSM’s concurrent validity is supported by the large number of correlations between the VSM and established tests. It is considered a robust test on its own as the inclusion of other tests failed to improve its CCR significantly.