Greek researchers demonstrated the potential of a virtual supermarket cognitive training game as a screening tool for patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) among a sample of older adults. MCI is a condition that often predates Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and is characterized by memory loss and inability to execute complex activities such as financial planning.
So far virtual reality game-based applications and especially virtual supermarkets have been used as cognitive training applications and as measures of cognitive functions, although it has been shown that they can detect MCI only when used in combination with standardized neuropsychological tests. However scientists from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH), the Greek Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (GAADRD) and the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas/Information Technologies Institute (CERTH/ITI) have succeeded in making the shift to MCI screening via robust virtual reality game applications that can be used on their own for accurate MCI detection.
In an article published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the researchers have indicated that the virtual supermarket (VSM) application displayed a correct classification rate (CCR) of 87.30%, achieving a level of diagnostic accuracy similar to standardized neuropsychological tests, which are the gold standard for MCI screening. Patients with MCI can live independently and not all such patients progress to AD. Therefore the global effort against cognitive disorders is focused on early detection at the MCI stage.