UEA researcher Professor Michael Hornberger and telecommunication company Deutsche Telekom have been working on the development of new diagnostic tests for dementia.

This research has involved the development of a mobile game designed to develop understanding of how the brain works and an app which provides insights into the way people navigate every day.

Home to the University of East Anglia and the Norwich Research Park, Norfolk is internationally renowned as a centre for scientific research. Findings surrounding dementia from the county are helping to shape understanding of the condition and improve the quality of life of those living with it.

The Sea Hero Quest app was also developed in collaboration with Alzheimer’s Research, University College London and game developers Glitcher. As players make their way through mazes of islands and iceberg, experts can translate every second of gameplay into scientific data.

Prof Horberger said the project “provides an unprecedented chance to study how many thousands of people from different countries and culture navigate space.” Hilary Evans, chief executive at Alzheimer’s research, added that this is the “largest spatial navigation study to date” and that this research is “the kind of innovation required to unlock the next breakthrough in dementia research”.

UEA research also funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHIR) and led by Dr Lee Hooper from UEA’s Medical School has shown that eating together, providing social support, and interaction during meals could potentially help people with dementia to avoid dehydration. Investigations involved changing the colour of plates, doing tai-chi, and boosting the social aspect of eating.

In their research, UEA collaborated with AgeUK Norfolk, NorseCare, The University of Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.