The world of Alzheimer’s disease research is broadening, and today there’s a way each of us can bring about the discovery of a cure. Through an online game, Stall Catchers, many people are devoting countless hours going through slides of mouse brains to aid scientists in deciding the effectiveness of treating cerebral circulation problems to reverse loss of memory.
A part of the increasing trend in “citizen science,” Stall Catchers combines modern technology with the overall population’s hope to really make a difference in the world around them. An incredible number of volunteers lend their time every day to causes that include the diagnosis of malaria, hurricane damage tracking, and even trying to find signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.
And it’s definitely helping. Stall Catchers volunteers’ hard work made an impact on achieving the discovery that impaired blood flow is not related to the amyloid plaques connected with Alzheimer’s disease, processing slides at a rate that might take an individual lab researcher an entire week in as little as an hour. With government money for Alzheimer’s research topped out at $986 million this past year (and at least $2 billion necessary every year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association), volunteer researchers are vital.
The next step in this particular study is to find a drug that can target these blood flow blockages without reducing patients’ immune systems – a challenge which involves the tedious evaluation of yet more tens of thousands of images. And even though it is going to take a lot of time, even with an enthusiastic audience of volunteers, people that have a loved one struggling with Alzheimer’s find purpose in being able to do something to work hard towards a cure, whenever the urge arises. According to Judy Johanson, whose father is dealing with the disease, “You don’t have to wait for the walk or the triathlon to do this. You can do this whenever you need to.”
If you’ve got a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, it’s possible to register to be part of the Stall Catchers community to help, and contact the Atlanta Alzheimer’s care team at Atlanta Home Care Partners for in-home assistance with specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Our fully trained, experienced, and compassionate caregivers are available as much or as little as needed – whether just a couple hours a week to supply family caregivers with a bit of time to themselves, or full-time, around-the-clock care to keep seniors safe and well. Call us at (404) 228-0103 or contact us online to learn more.