The world of Alzheimer’s disease research is widening, and today there’s a way in which all of us might help bring about the finding of a cure. With an online game, Stall Catchers, many people are devoting time to combing through slides of mouse brains to aid research workers in identifying the effectiveness of treating cerebral blood circulation problems to reverse loss of memory.
Part of the developing trend in “citizen science,” Stall Catchers brings together today’s technology with the overall population’s hope to really make a difference in the world around them. An incredible number of volunteers lend their valuable time on a daily basis to causes that include the diagnosis of malaria, storm damage tracking, even looking for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.
And it is definitely helping. Stall Catchers volunteers’ efforts have made a direct impact on achieving the discovery that impaired blood flow is not related to the amyloid plaques connected to Alzheimer’s disease, processing slides at a speed that would take one lab researcher a full week in as little as an hour. With government funding for Alzheimer’s research topped out at $986 million last year (and at least $2 billion recommended per year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association), volunteer researchers are vital.
Step two in this specific study is to find a drug that can address the flow of blood blockages while not reducing patients’ immune systems – a task involving the monotonous examination of more than tens of thousands of images. And even though it’s going to take a significant amount of time, even with an enthusiastic audience of research volunteers, individuals with a loved one fighting Alzheimer’s find purpose in the ability to do something to work hard towards a cure, whenever the urge arises. According to Judy Johanson, whose father has difficulties 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, you’re able to register to be part of the Stall Catchers community in order to help, and contact Home Sweet Home In-Home Care, the St. Joseph home care professionals, 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 only a few hours a week to offer family caregivers with a little time to themselves, or full-time, around-the-clock care to keep seniors safe and well. Call us at 269-849-9252 to learn more.