Recognition of dementia types by computer games

OData support
Dr. Hanák Péter
Department of Control Engineering and Information Technology

When an average European adult is asked about cancer we can expect that he is well aware of the risks, and he has already attended some medical screening. Unfortunately when it comes to Alzheimer or dementia, we cannot be that confident to receive these answers. With the significant increase in average life span, the age related mental decline and the Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) which typically precedes it affect an increasing number of people. The M3W project has set a double goal: developing entertaining games for elderly people, while collecting data through these games in order to screen cognitive decline. During my Project Laboratory, and my Student Research Paper, I was developing games based on famous psychological tests, in order to test memory, attention, and a cognitive skill, called executive functions. As different types of dementia affects different cognitive functions, through the results of these tests, dementia types can be recognized.

In this thesis, continuing the previous work, in the first three chapters the theoretical background of the topic, and the subtypes of dementia were shortly overviewed. In chapter 4, I have introduced the commonly used psychological tests to screen dementia. The most efficient one (Clock drawing test), and the one that tests complex executive functions (Wisconsin test) were chosen to be implemented as a computer game. In chapter 5 the most relevant researches on the topic were shortly introduced, while in chapter 6 the new tests, and the new implementation of the previous tests were detailed. These tests were all developed in JavaScript, with the LimeJS game engine that was detailed in chapter 7. Finally, in chapter 8 I have introduced, the new graphical user interface, its correspondence to the specific needs of the target group, and its further options for development.

This thesis was aiming to give a comprehensive overview of the problem, as well as detail a proposed solution. With the help of these games subtypes of dementia might be recognized, but it is important to point out, that these tests are not validated yet. Processing of the collected data, and psychometrical validation of the tests might be a topic of a future paper.


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