JUL 07, 2016 6:28 AM PDT

Virtual Reality App Simulates a Day With Dementia

Dementia is a huge problem for those who suffer from it, their families and for medical professionals searching for treatments or a cure. There are various forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, Vascular dementia, Frontotemporal dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies, normal pressure hydrocephalous, and Parkinson’s disease with dementia and each of them present slightly differently. Alzheimer’s is the most common accounting for about 70% of dementia patients. In the United States there are currently about 5 million people diagnosed with some form of dementia and likely many more who are undiagnosed.
 A new VR app shows a day in the life of a dementia patient
It’s difficult for those who do not have the disease to understand what it’s like for those that do. To that end, the British organization Alzheimer’s Research UK has released an app available on Android phones that simulates how a dementia patient experiences their environment. They hope that if healthy individuals use the app, a greater understanding of the struggles faced by those with the disease will be the result.
 
The app is called “A Walk Through Dementia” and it uses a combination of 360 degree video and virtual reality technology to recreate an every day environment. The scenes walk the viewer through a number of chapters that cover normal daily activities, such as getting dressed or going shopping, through the perspective of a person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. It was created with help from the University College of  London’s Dementia Research Centre and those who have used it have come away with a new understanding of how life is for a person who has cognitive decline and other symptoms related to dementia.
 
Different chapters in the app show the struggles and mishaps that can happen. In one scene a woman is trying to make a cup of tea before her daughter comes to visit. As she tries to accomplish what is normally a simple task, she struggles to remember what a tea bag looks like, where the milk and sugar are kept in her own home and how to pour hot water into the cups. While making a cup of tea is something thousands of people do every day, for a patient with Alzheimer’s it can be become an almost impossible task.
 
Another scene shows how easily a person with memory issues can become lost even on a familiar route and accompanied by a family member. The app works best on Google Cardboard but viewers can log into YouTube and see it on a 360 video as well. Alzheimer’s UK hopes the app will raise awareness for the difficulties faced by those with dementia and especially the frustration their families can feel when others do not understand the burden the carry in caring for their loved ones. The video below shows some of the app, take a look.
 

Sources: A Walk Through Dementi
Alzheimer’s Research UK 
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
NOV 30, 2019
Genetics & Genomics
NOV 30, 2019
Depression is Not Caused By Genetics
Since the discovery of DNA, attributing the cause of illnesses to genetic reasons became trendy. Depression was no exception- with hundreds of studies havi...
DEC 01, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
DEC 01, 2019
Learning More About Why We Freeze Up When We're Startled
Researchers have used a common molecular model, the fruit fly, to learn more about why we suddenly freeze when we're startled....
DEC 04, 2019
Neuroscience
DEC 04, 2019
Single Dose Ketamine Could Rewire Alcohol, Drug Dependance
Presentation by Tobias Stephenson about previous research exploring ketamine as an addiction treatment.    Researchers at University College Lond...
JAN 19, 2020
Neuroscience
JAN 19, 2020
New Proteins Found in the Optical Processing of Lazy Eyes
Ophthalmology – Amblyopia: By Christine Law M.D.   Researchers in the Bear Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found surprising con...
FEB 11, 2020
Neuroscience
FEB 11, 2020
The Gut: Your Second Brain
It turns out, "going with your gut" may be a more scientifically concrete phrase than we thought. The gut actually houses its own nervous system,...
FEB 26, 2020
Neuroscience
FEB 26, 2020
Why Alzheimer's may be a Sleep Disorder
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia in which amyloid-beta protein builds up in the brain, killing off surrounding neurons and causing cognitive...
Loading Comments...