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Research Grants - 2006


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Research Grants 2006


To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.

2006 Grant - Rizzo

Virtual Reality Visuospatial Assessment as a Predictor of Mild Dementia of the Alzheimer's Type

Albert Rizzo, Ph.D.
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California

2006 Everyday Technologies for Alzheimer Care

Visuospatial perception-the ability to process and interpret visual informa-tion about where one is in relation to his or her environment-becomes impaired in people with Alzheimer's disease. Deficits in this ability can contribute to disorientation, difficulty performing daily activities and loss of independence.

When researchers are studying visuospatial perception in mice, they use specially designed mazes-real three-dimensional environments. Tools for assessing visuospatial perception in humans generally use two-dimensional images representing three-dimensional environments. Consequently, the tools create a perceptual task more complex than the one it is intended to measure.

Albert Rizzo, Ph.D., and colleagues are investigating the utility of virtual reality (VR) technology for assessing visuospatial perception. VR technology produces an immersive, interactive system that provides the user with the ability to interact within three-dimensional simulated environments.

Dr. Rizzo's group will compare results from standard assessment tools and a VR environment test conducted with a personal computer, specialized glasses and a handheld device. Participants will include older healthy adults and people with mild Alzheimer's disease.

The investigators believe that this technology may provide more precise measures than standard assessment tools and may be more valuable in predicting an individual's real world performance.