Here’s how you can help TGen researchers understand Alzheimer’s disease
Did you know you can take a simple, 10-minute memory test to help researchers understand Alzheimer’s disease?
MindCrowd, designed by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), tests a particular type of memory in healthy brains. This word-pair test, first developed in 1894, has been revamped for the digital age, providing insight into the workings of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We are using online crowd-sourcing to study how the brain works in healthy people so we can better understand brain disease,” said Dr. Matt Huentelman, Professor of Neurogenomics at TGen.
Thousands of people from all 50 states and more than 100 countries have already taken the free, simple, 10-minute memory test at www.MindCrowd.org.
“MindCrowd is a revolutionary approach to understanding our differences in brain performance and how genetic factors impact our memory as we age,” Dr. Huentelman explained.
In one of the preliminary MindCrowd findings, researchers found that sex matters: Regardless of age, women outscore men by an average of 6 percent, although more women than men eventually develop Alzheimer’s.
MindCrowd represent the first time online research has been gathered and analyzed for insight into the genetic relationship between memory and Alzheimer’s.
Launched in 2013, Phase 1 of the MindCrowd project involves online memory testing with a goal of 1 million study participants, age 18 and up.
As the MindCrowd quiz continues, researchers are contacting Phase 1 test-takers to ask if they are willing to donate a DNA saliva sample and undergo more intensive online brain tests.
With DNA information, Dr. Huentelman’s team will look for biomarkers that may be precursors of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.
Of the test takers, about half have agreed to be contacted for follow up. And of the 14,000 young adult test takers, age 18-24, about 3,000 have agreed to conduct follow-up tests, one of the largest participating groups.
With each additional decade in age, test-takers miss about two more word-pairs on the quiz. College students may have an advantage: Performance on the quiz increases as education levels rise.
Anyone can participate in this research project by visiting MindCrowd.org. Because it is a scientific research project, each participant must complete a web-based consent form before taking the quiz. The test cannot be taken on a mobile phone.