Gaming Competition Supports Alzheimer’s Research

By Egle Marija Ramanauskaite, Citizen Science Coordinator at EyesOnALZ

Stall Catchers – a citizen science game by the EyesOnALZ project, has just introduced a team feature and is running a team competition to #CrushALZ. The competition has kicked-off during the #CrowdCloudLIVE hangout following the premiere of The Crowd & The Cloud documentary on citizen science on April 6th.

In Stall Catchers, participants analyze movies of a live mouse brain to identify “stalls” – blocked capillaries where blood is not flowing. Immediately after the kick-off, Stall Catchers players hit all previous records, with more than 3 thousand vessels analyzed in the first 4 hours of the competition, which climbed to 13 thousand at the end of Day 1. This amount would take weeks to analyze in the lab!

During the first week of #CrushALZ, catchers have analyzed almost 60 thousand total vessels, and pushed 8.35% towards the overall research goal. Getting to 100% would mean completing a novel dataset focused on the spatial relationship between stalled vessels and amyloid plaques in the brain in Alzheimer’s. This and other research questions analyzed via Stall Catchers are pushing Cornell University’s groundbreaking research program one step further towards discovering potential Alzheimer’s treatments.

Eighteen teams joined the #CrushALZ competition during week one. Amongst them are some well recognized organizations, including the BrightFocus Foundation and Alzheimer’s Research UK, dedicated to supporting Alzheimer’s research, ECSA (European Citizen Science Association), as well as EyesOnALZ project “home” team and Cornell Univ, owned by EyesOnALZ collaborators at Cornell University, whose research is directly supported by Stall Catchers.

Some impressive community teams have formed as well, including Middle School STEM with 124 players – middle school students and staff – making them the largest team on Stall Catchers so far and allowing them to stay in leader positions all week. Others included CitSci Gamers who lead the competition several days in a row, KMS Genius Hour researchers, Citizen Science Plus at the University of Salzburg, PoliMappers of the Politecnico di Milano University, Italy, Leysin American School in the Swiss Alps, who are “REALLY into citizen science”, and others.

The #CrushALZ competition will run for 3 more weeks, culminating on May 6, and is open to everyone! Consider joining or creating a team on to help #CrushALZ – full instructions can be found here:

Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Categories: Citizen Science, Events, Gaming, Health, Project Profile

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