Using smartphones to understand changes to memory and thinking skills

Research project: A longitudinal citizen-science study using the Mezurio smartphone app for the detection of preclinical Alzheimer's Disease. 

Lead Investigator: Dr Chris Hinds 

  • Institution: University of Oxford
  • Grant type: Project 
  • Duration: 2 years 
  • Amount: £149,675

Project summary

Dr Hinds and his team will use a smartphone application to understand how memory and thinking skills change over time in healthy people. Ultimately, they will compare this data against people at risk of dementia to spot the very early changes of the condition and improve the accuracy of diagnosis.

The background 

Researchers believe that changes may begin in the brain up to 15 years before any symptoms are seen in people in Alzheimer’s disease. If we can diagnose people earlier, new treatments in development might be more effective. 

One of the challenges is that the tests currently to diagnose people cannot detect these very early stages of dementia.

What does this project involve?

Dr Hinds and his team are using a smartphone app to monitor memory and thinking skills in healthy people for five minutes a day each day for a month.

Alzheimer’s Society has supported the first phase of this project called GameChanger that recruited over 16,500 people. 

This funding will continue to support GameChanger so that the team can collect data from this group of people over the next two years. This will be vital to understanding how our memory and thinking skills change with time in health individuals.

In time the team will compare results of these healthy individuals with people who may be at risk of Alzheimer’s disease to spot the very earliest change in memory and thinking as the project 

How will this project help people with dementia?

GameChanger will help the research team to understand the very early changes to memory and thinking skills in Alzheimer’s disease, ultimately improving our ability to accurately diagnose people and introduce them into trials before the condition has progressed too far. 

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