Researchers Learn about Dementia using Whack-A-Mole

Thursday, October 5, 2017

In partnership with various universities and an Ottawa day program for adults, Dr. Frank Knoefel, a physician at the Bruyère Memory Clinic used a computer whack-a mole game to try to alleviate the stress caused by the memory testing process. With an interest in technology that can aid in the independence of seniors, Knoefel came up with the idea to use this competitive game, which he describes as “addictive”, as a medium to test the cognitive abilities of persons living with moderate dementia without the stress of being put on the spot. The game was designed at the University of Alberta and runs on a touchscreen tablet. Participants would use a stylist to “whack” the moles that appeared on screen, while also being careful not to whack the bunnies. As the participant gets better at the game, it speeds up to increase difficulty and further test the person’s ability. Carleton University developed the technology that they used to analyze the scores and patterns. Knoefel was surprised by the improvement and enjoyment that he observed from the participants. He also is studying the overlap between cognitive function and mobility and the link that exercise can help dementia, with the help of Algonquin College. 

SOURCE: Ottawa Citizen September 22, 2017

AUTHOR(S): Joanne Laucius

DATE RETRIEVED: September 29th, 2017



 

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