Can social interaction slow cognitive decline in seniors?

Can sustained social interaction, even through a web-based computer interface, prevent or slow cognitive decline in seniors? The MADC’s Data Management and Statistical Core Leader, Hiroko Dodge heads a collaborative effort between the University of Michigan and Oregon Health and Science University in an attempt to answer this question. A pilot study completed in 2015 revealed improvement in language-based executive functions among seniors who had face-to-face communications through internet and web cameras compared to a control group that received only weekly telephone interviews. The new study will expand on the 2015 pilot study and will include 360 socially isolated adults ages 80 and older in Portland and Detroit, a longer study period of one year and more intensive testing including MRIs, medication tracking, and in-home study visits. Participants in the study who are assigned to the video chat group will receive a computer and internet service for the duration of the study, which they will use to chat with researchers for 30 minutes a day, four times a week for the first six months and two times a week for the next six months. Portland recruitment begins in May! Stay tuned for details about recruitment in Detroit later this year! Read the full news article HERE.

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