Video chats improve cognition in at-risk older adults: study

Participation in regular video chats can help improve memory in isolated older adults, slow cognitive decline, delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and reduce the overall societal burden of dementia, according to the results of a new study.

Results from the internet-based Conversational-Engagement Clinical Trial, or I-CONECT, provide evidence that social interactions or engaging in conversations can significantly affect brain health, according to study investigator Hiroko Dodge, PhD, of the Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

Dodge recently presented her findings at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2022.

The I-CONECT trial included 186 socially isolated adults aged 75 or more years in Oregon and Michigan. Half of the adults participated in short weekly telephone calls, whereas the other half participated in a video chat program.

Video chat group members participated in 20-minute video calls with interviewers four times a week for six months, then twice a week for another six months. They also received weekly 10-minute phone check-ins to monitor social activities, health and mood.

The researchers looked at cognitive functions for language, attention, executive and memory, and overall emotional well-being. They reported that the intervention had a positive psychosocial effect, with improvements seen in participants’ emotional well-being.

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