By harnessing the processing power of thousands of computers, researchers hope to come closer to finding a cure for a condition that affects more than 40 million people worldwide. According to Vancouver senior care professionals, the Folding @Home app allows smartphone users to provide added computer processing power in an effort that could lead to some welcome news for anyone affected by Alzheimer’s.
Understanding the Mechanics of Protein Folding
The Folding@home program is an ongoing computing project designed to simulate the act of protein folding, the process a protein goes through to assume its final shape, to better understand how proteins behave. The goal of the project is to develop a better understanding of why some proteins fail to properly form, or “mis-fold.”
Simulating the Folding Process
The Folding@home program was initiated by Dr. Vijay Pande of Stanford University in 2007. Since the natural protein folding process occurs literally within a few thousandths of a second, it’s impossible to observe in a lab setting. Instead, Dr. Pande and his team partnered with Sony to develop software that could simulate the protein folding process. The simulation process requires thousands of hours of computing time, so there was a need for increased computer power.
Harnessing More Processing Power
Instead of constructing an extremely powerful computer, Dr. Pande and his team developed an app that could be downloaded by individuals who agree to give up some of their computer’s processor time–which does not affect computer operation. The laboratory at Stanford now boasts nearly 200,000 computers connected via the app. Consequently, researchers have been able to publish several papers detailing advances made while researching the simulated folding process.
Available in beta form for Xperia smartphones, the app could soon be made available to even more smartphone users to facilitate protein research that could lead to a better understanding of how AD affects cells.
If you are the primary caregiver for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s, don’t hesitate to reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our comprehensive Vancouver Alzheimer’s care can provide the additional support both you and your loved one need and deserve. Schedule a complimentary in-home consultation with one of our dedicated Case Managers by calling phone today.