STUDY DETAILS

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.

TOPICS WE TALK ABOUT

Trained study staff engage in fun conversations with participants several times a week. Different topics are covered during each week. These may include…

School Subjects

Culture

Jobs and Work

Jobs and Work

Visual Arts

Early American History

Pets and Animals

To be eligible, participants must live within about an hour’s proximity from either
Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Emory University or the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus.

STUDY BACKGROUND

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.

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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 a year, 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. Some participants also undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, so that researchers can observe changes in the brain over time.

 

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.

RESOURCES

View or download brochures from each research site

Brochure

OHSU

Brochure

University of Michigan

Brochure

Emory University

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