What if video games could fight dementia… in dogs?

(ETX Daily Up) – Around the world, about 50 million people are now suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. But they are not the only ones: dogs can also suffer from dementia. A start-up is trying to fight against this phenomenon thanks to video games.

For many owners, nothing is too good – or too expensive – when it comes to ensuring the well-being of their four-legged friend. One of them is Dersim Avdar. He is the co-founder of Joipaw, a UK start-up working on a video game for dogs.

The prototype he created took the form of a saliva-resistant touchscreen attached to a treat dispenser. The dog must use his nose to meet various challenges. One of them is inspired by the game of the mole, and consists of following, on the screen, the comings and goings of this mammal that terrifies gardeners. If the person’s best friend can complete it, he will be rewarded with a treat.

This video game console was originally designed so that Dersim Avdar could occupy his dog, Kawet, in his absence. Most owners turn on the television or leave toys available for their furball to occupy them when they go to work or shopping. However, for Dersim Avdar, these activities are not enough to motivate him from an intellectual point of view. “What we do now is turn on the TV, give them medicine-filled pills, or buy dog ​​puzzles. None of these solutions are healthy in the long run, and once the novelty wears off, “separation anxiety takes over,” he explained in a blog post on the Joipaw website.

But this is not the only advantage of the game console developed by the entrepreneur. It also fights against senile dementia in older dogs. In fact, aging leads to progressive and irreversible changes in the organs of the human body’s best friend, including the brain. The animal may face problems related to memory, learning processes, and the state of alertness and response to stimuli. More than one-third of dogs over the age of eight suffer from this condition, according to a Cornell University study.

Ways to cure Alzheimer’s disease

As with humans, it is important to diagnose senile dementia in dogs as early as possible to slow irreversible brain damage. “Studies show that the best thing for your dog is to give him a healthy lifestyle: a healthy diet, regular physical activity and mental stimulation. And stopping alcohol and tobacco, but c This is not so much a concern in the case of dogs, ” Dersim Avdar explained with humor. This is where the Joipaw console comes in. Although it is still in the development stage, it seems to be “very good”, as explained by Clara Mancini, professor specializing in animal-computer interaction at the Open University (UK) and scientific advisor for Joipaw, in Axios.

However, the researchers faced a problem: it was difficult to attract the attention of the dogs on the screen. They don’t do it as naturally as their friends, the boys. Nevertheless, Dersim Avdar is optimistic that his game console will be sold in the coming years, although he and his teams are working on a subscription formula. The hope of preventing senile dementia in dogs can improve the quality of life of the main stakeholders, but also of their masters. In fact, this pathology has many similarities with Alzheimer’s disease in humans, which can give food researchers food for thought to prevent or delay the onset of this neurodegenerative disease. “The idea is to try to develop technology that helps reduce the gap between humans and animals rather than increasing it,” said Clara Mancini of Axios.

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