By Hannah Churchill, Research Communications Officer, Alzheimer’s Society

Published: 19 December 2018

In September Alzheimer’s Society, alongside the University of Oxford, launched GameChanger, a research project that involves people without dementia playing memory games on their smartphones. The response from our supporters, and beyond, has been overwhelming. With over 10,000 people now taking part we’ve had an extraordinary response and demonstrated that thousands of people across the UK are willing to take five minutes out of their day to unite with us to support research to beat dementia.

We’re asking people who have not been diagnosed with dementia to play fun, free brain games every day for a month. Our invaluable cohort will be asked to complete a further month of gaming in autumn 2019 so that the research team can build a picture of how aspects of memory and thinking change with healthy ageing. This baseline is a crucial step to identifying the very earliest changes in brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease in the future.

Why is GameChanger different?

Doctors and researchers face a challenge in measuring and monitoring changes to our memory and thinking. They currently use pen-on-paper tests that might be completed every 6 months, or even once a year, to monitor how a person’s memory and thinking change over time.

These sorts of tests available today can’t take into account day-to day variability in symptoms and give doctors an incomplete picture of a person’s thinking and memory. More and more, researchers are turning to technology to monitor cognition ‘a little and often’. Technology like GameChanger could provide a way to do just that. Using the app as part of a daily routine could give doctors in the future a more accurate view of how an individual’s memory and thinking is changing over time, and crucially spot warning signs and intervene much earlier.

A novel way to support research

Dementia research can often seem intimidating for those without a scientific background. GameChanger has connected with thousands of people and given everyone the opportunity to help beat dementia through research. This simple, fun, tangible and non-financial ask has inspired thousands of carers, former carers, families and friends of people living with dementia to donate five minutes of their day to supporting dementia research.

Support from the dementia research community

We’re hugely grateful for the support we’ve received from the dementia research community in sharing the opportunity to be a GameChanger through their communication channels. Although we’ve made huge steps forward we are still looking for thousands more people to take part so please do get involved or encourage your supporters to do the same.

Taking part is simple: sign up, download the app and start playing today!