Cambridge charity welcomed MEP Alex Mayer for World Alzheimer’s Month

25 September 2017

Local MEP Alex Mayer joined the fightback against dementia this week when she visited Alzheimer’s Research UK’s Cambridgeshire-based headquarters to mark World Alzheimer’s Month.

On Friday 22 September, Ms Mayer discovered the latest in dementia research by speaking to teams from across the UK’s leading dementia research charity, while also getting involved in research herself by playing a pioneering virtual reality (VR) game, developed by Deutsche Telekom with support of Alzheimer’s Research UK.

MEP Alex Mayer and Dr Matthew Norton

Ms Mayer was one of the first to experience Sea Hero Quest in VR, a game where players provide vital data to researchers about human spatial navigation, which is one of the first things that goes wrong in dementia. Just two minutes spent playing Sea Hero Quest VR collects the equivalent of five hours of lab based research.

Earlier this year MEPs voted for more funding and research into curing dementia, formally asking ministers to do more to prevent a condition that costs European governments over £1bn each year.

Ms Mayer said:

MEP Alex Mayer playing Sea Hero Quest VR

“Rising rates of Alzheimer’s is one of the most important health challenges we face and innovative solutions such as using apps to collect data and drastically reduce the time needed to carry out cutting-edge research will hopefully bring us nearer to ending the effects of this dreadful illness.”

This cutting-edge game builds on the original Sea Hero Quest app. The virtual reality game will provide even greater insights into human spatial navigation, with the ultimate aim of the data being used to develop a sensitive test that could help to diagnose dementia earlier and more accurately.

Dr Matthew Norton, Director of Policy at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“We’re delighted that Alex Mayer chose to visit Alzheimer’s Research UK and find out more about the work we’re doing to defeat dementia – our greatest medical challenge. We’ve been making great progress in recent years, but research and funding still lags behind other serious health conditions, like cancer. If we are to change the outlook for the millions of people impacted by dementia today and in the future, then we need as much support as possible.

“We hope Ms Mayer will help us keep dementia a priority both here and in the EU, by calling for more dementia funding and ensuring international collaborations are able to continue. This is even more crucial now as we enter into Brexit negotiations, as a deal that does not protect our thriving life sciences sector could ground our progress to a halt. We hope Ms Mayer will be inspired by what she has seen at Alzheimer’s Research UK and will help us in our mission to bring about a life-changing treatment for dementia by 2025.”