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Online Gaming Yields First Results for Alzheimer's Research


A still from the game, in which players compete for points by spotting clogged blood vessels, known as stalls

Stall Catchers is an online computer game developed at Cornell University's Human Computation Institute in which players analyze video clips of blood flow to the brain.

Credit: Financial Times

Researchers at Cornell University's Human Computation Institute have developed Stall Catchers, an online computer game that players are using to analyze movies of blood flow to the brain as part of Alzheimer's disease research.

Several thousand gamers recently analyzed about 40,000 such movies, vying for points by spotting clogged blood vessels.

The Stall Catchers project is part of the EyesOnAlz crowdsourcing initiative, which is led by Pietro Michelucci, who says crowdsourcing was ideally suited to blood vessel image analysis because computer performance on the same task was poor.

Michelucci also notes school-age children and senior citizens comprise the majority of Stall Catcher players. "We designed the game so that even early-stage Alzheimer's patients can contribute directly to their own potential treatment," Michelucci says.

Stall Catchers' first crowdsourced results detail the distribution of clogged blood vessels in mice that have been genetically engineered to model human Alzheimer's disease.

From Financial Times
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