Using citizen science to help in the fight against Alzheimer’s

Everybody dies. At some point. Undoubtedly there are better ways – and better times – than others. One of the hallmarks of a civilised society should be working toward a time when death is as minimally distressing as possible – both for the dying and those being left behind.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a case in point. Anyone who has watched a loved one wither under the cruel oppression of this malady knows it represents a ‘dying of the person’ before a dying of the body. As medical advances enable us to cure more and more illnesses that used to have high mortality rates, afflictions like Alzheimer’s seem to be taking more and more lives with each passing year as people don’t die of those ‘traditional’ causes.

The causes of Alzheimer’s are poorly understood. The societal costs are enormous and getting larger all the time, so effort is being put into finding out how it strikes and – crucially – what may be done to ameliorate or even cure it, though the amounts are tiny compared to other diseases.

The Wisdom Factory CIC has launched a project that offers the possibility of taking some promising research into a disease affecting millions of people across the world for which there is, at present, no known cure, and expanding the knowledge and research base sufficiently to either confirm that the intervention has some remedial effect or that it should be discounted and the focus should continue in other areas.  This project offers the possibility of ‘citizen science’ working with mainstream research to bring benefit to individual sufferers with little or no hope of a cure, as well as the wider medical and scientific profession.  The benefit for the individual is not just a possible hope of a palliative or cure, but the feeling of doing something to help themselves, rather than simply waiting for this insidious disease to plunge them into darkness, isolation and eventual death.

The project is delivered via a smartphone app called GammaGen, available in iOS and Android versions.

Please note that using the app is not a clinical treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease and that no promise of a cure or improvement is implied in purchasing, downloading or using the app.  You should not use the app if you suffer with any kind of photo-sensitive seizures such as epilepsy.

With the explicit consent of users, the data from GammaGen sessions will be made available to researchers.  If you are interested in enquiring about or accessing the data please contact us.

Author: Mike Mounfield

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