top of page


Learn more about topics discussed during video chats, see who our study partners are, view our study flyers and brochures, find answers to frequently asked questions and learn more about the study's history.


Trained study staff had fun conversations with participants several times a week. Different topics were covered each week. These may have included…

book open icon.png

School Subjects

candle black icon.png


Jobs and Work

Jobs and Work


Visual Arts

dog icon transparent.png
icon feather scroll.png

Early American History

Pets and Animals

  • What is I-CONECT?
    What is the I-CONECT study? The I-CONECT Study was a non-drug intervention clinical trial research study that was focused on increasing social interaction for socially isolated seniors. This study was trying to answer questions about how the brain functions in older adults, how social interaction affects the mind and brain, and how to prevent memory decline and dementia. I-CONECT was paid for by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
  • How long did study participation last?
    How long did study participation last? Study participation lasted for about six months.
  • What did participation involve?
    What did participation involve? If someone decided to participate, they would've been asked to do activities such as: Answering surveys and questionnaires. Telling us about their medical history. Completing memory and thinking tasks. Complete short weekly telephone calls about their health. Half of the study's volunteers participated in a video chat program. They talked with our study staff several times a week about a variety of topics that are meant to be interesting and thought-provoking. Depending on the study location, participants may have also been asked to: Give saliva for genetic testing (optional) Use an electric pillbox to take a low-dose vitamin C pill
  • What is a video chat, how did it work?"
    What is a video chat and how did it work? A video chat is a conversation held via a computer, so the participant is able to hear and see the other person face-to-face while they are chatting. I-CONECT used a special video chat device set up just for this study. It was designed to be very easy to use. We provided all equipment necessary for the video chats, but the participant had to have an internet connection in order to participate in the study. If the participant video chatted with our study team, our Technology Coordinator helped them install the device in their home, taught them how to use it, and answered any questions.
  • Who might I chat with?
    Who might I chat with? I-CONECT volunteers chat with our study team, made up of folks of different ages, genders, and ethnicities. The study team member rotates each week, so our volunteers have the opportunity to chat with a variety of people.
  • When do video chats take place?
    When do video chats take place? Video chats take place Monday-Thursday, on the hour between teh hours of 10:00am-2:00pm PST/1:00pm-5:00pm EST. Participants are free to choose which time works best for them.
  • What if I enroll and then decide that the study isn't right for me?
    What if I enroll and then decide that the study isn’t right for me? Study participation is completely voluntary. If you join and later decide that the study is not right for you, you can quit at any time.
  • Do I need to take any medications or drugs during the study?
    Do I need to take any medications or drugs during the study? No. I-CONECT is not a drug study. However, participants (at Oregon Health & Science University only) may be asked to take a daily, low-dose vitamin C pill as a memory task.
  • Will I see the results of the study?
    Will I see the results of the study? Participants will not see individual results and these will not be published or shared, but overall results of the study will be published at the end of the study. These overall results will be available to the public on the website
  • What happens after the study ends?
    What happens after the study ends? Once study participation is complete, our technology coordinator will assist you with uninstalling any study equipment. You will then receive a follow up call and will be provided with social engagement resources within the community.
  • Will I be compensated for the study?
    Will I be compensated for the study? All participants will receive compensation for completing study visits, regardless of whether or not they receive video chats. If the study uses your internet for video chats, you will also receive some compensation for the use of your internet.
  • Where does the study take place?
    Where does the study take place? All study activities take place in the participant’s home.
  • How many people will be in the study?
    How many people will be in the study? Approximately 360 people will participate in this study at research sites around the United States.


Adults over 75 are one of the fastest growing segments of the population. They also face the highest risk of becoming socially isolated and developing dementia. Research has shown that having a rich social network improves our health, and that people who remain active and stay engaged with others live longer. People with active social lives are also less likely to develop dementia than those who are more socially isolated.

I-CONECT is one of the few clinical trials exploring how digital face-to-face interaction affects memory and mental function in older adults who are socially isolated.

Eight years ago, Dr. Hiroko Dodge and her research team began exploring the possibility that social interaction may improve cognitive function. In her first pilot study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), her team talked with research participants using a user-friendly internet-based video chat program. The research team also tested the participants’ levels of cognitive function, including their ability to recall information. The results were encouraging.


Dr. Dodge and her team at Oregon Health & Science University have now embarked on a larger and longer study, together with the University of Michigan and Emory University. The Internet-Based Conversational Engagement Clinical Trial (I-CONECT) now follows research participants for six months, video chatting with participants several times a week and using new technologies to assess cognitive function, such as electronic pillboxes that track medication adherence and iPad-based memory testing. 

The I-CONECT team is partnering with local organizations such as Meals on Wheels to help recruit socially isolated older adults for the study, as well as seeking volunteers from the community. With I-CONECT, the research team hopes to show that engaging in frequent conversation might delay the onset of dementia, and establish a foundation for future dementia-prevention trials.


View or download brochures from each research site




University of Michigan


Emory University

bottom of page