Internet-Based Conversational Engagement Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial (I-CONECT) Among Socially Isolated Adults 75+ Years Old With Normal Cognition or Mild Cognitive Impairment: Topline Results. By: Dodge, Hiroko H; Yu, Kexin; Wu, Chao-Yi; Pruitt, Patrick J; Asgari, Meysam; Kaye, Jeffrey A; Hampstead, Benjamin M; Struble, Laura; Potempa, Kathleen; Lichtenberg, Peter; Croff, Raina; Albin, Roger L; Silbert, Lisa C and Team, the I-CONECT. 2024. Gerontologist. Vol. 64 Issue 4, p1-14.

Background and Objectives Social isolation is a risk factor for cognitive decline and dementia. We conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial (RCT) of enhanced social interactions, hypothesizing that conversational interactions can stimulate brain functions among socially isolated older adults without dementia. We report topline results of this multisite RCT (Internet-based conversational engagement clinical trial [I-CONECT]; NCT02871921). Research Design and Methods The experimental group receivedcognitively stimulating semistructured conversations with trained interviewers via internet/webcam 4 times per week for 6 months (induction)
and twice per week for an additional 6 months (maintenance). The experimental and control groups both received weekly 10 minutes telephone check-ins. Protocol modifications were required due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Results A total of 186 participants were randomized. After the induction period, the experimental group had higher global cognitive test scores (Montreal Cognitive Assessment [primary outcome]; 1.75 points [ p  = .03]) compared with the control group. After induction, experimental group participants with normal cognition had higher language-based executive function (semantic fluency test [secondary outcome]; 2.56 points [ p  = .03]). At the end of the maintenance period, the experimental group of mild cognitive impairment subjects had higher encoding function (Craft Story immediate recall test [secondary outcome]; 2.19 points [ p  = .04]). Measure of emotional well-being improved in both control and experimental groups. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging showed that the
experimental group had increased connectivity within the dorsal attention network relative to the control group (p  = .02), but the sample size was limited. Discussion and Implications Providing frequent stimulating conversational interactions via the internet could be an effective home-based dementia risk-reduction strategy against social isolation and cognitive decline. Clinical Trials Registration Number NCT02871921.