Article of the month – April 2019

Coughlan, G., Coutrot, A., Khondoker, M., Minihane, A.-M., Spiers, H., & Hornberger, M. (2019). Toward personalized cognitive diagnostics of at-genetic-risk Alzheimer’s disease. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 201901600. doi:10.1073/pnas.1901600116

In short: the authors used spatial navigation big data (n = 27,108) from the Sea Hero Quest (SHQ) game to investigate whether big data can be used to benchmark a highly phenotyped healthy aging laboratory cohort into high- vs. low-risk persons based on their genetic and demographic risk factors. They wanted to see whether data of the mobile virtual reality game SHQ could assist in discriminating healthy aging from genetically at-risk individuals of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Results support supports the hypothesis that suboptimal navigation performance is present in preclinical AD and that this is detectable on levels of the SHQ game. Thus, spatial navigation emerges as a promising cognitive fingerprint, which can complement existing biomarkers for future AD diagnostics and disease intervention outcome measures.