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Improvisational Movement for People with Memory Loss and Their Caregivers (IMOVE)


This study will test dance and social engagement as a method to decrease behavioral symptoms and improve quality of life in older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or early Alzheimer's disease.

Minimum Age Maximum Age Gender Healthy Volunteers
60 Years 85 Years All No
February 6, 2018
April 2021

  • MCI or early Alzheimer's or mixed dementia of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia
  • Speak English
  • Study partner who is a family member, spends approximately 10 hours a week with the person with MCI or early Alzheimer's, and is willing to be an active study partner
  • Not enrolled in another study in past 6 months

  • Other causes of dementia, such as early-onset Alzheimer's, frontotemporal, Lewy body, or Parkinsonian dementia
  • Untreated depression
  • Current cancer treatment or other major medical problems that might affect cognition or movement
  • Other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis
  • Taking medication that could affect safety during study
  • Planned extensive travel during the study period
  • Any reason the study doctor or personal physician would advise against participation

Improvisation is the ability to create new gestures and movements spontaneously. This form of dance may be well-suited for people with dementia because it doesn't rely heavily on memory, can be adapted to include multiple positions and movements, is cognitively challenging, and fosters a social, playful atmosphere.

Participants in this study will attend 1-hour improvisational dance lessons (group or non-group) or party game sessions 2 times a week for 12 weeks. Dance moves and games will be varied within the sessions to incorporate pacing and variability. Another group will be randomized as a no-contact control group and will continue their current disease management and lifestyle for 12 weeks. After the study, these participants may join a weekly community improvisational dance class for as many sessions as they would like.

Name City State Zip Status Primary Contact
Wake Forest Baptist Health
Winston-Salem North Carolina 27104 Recruiting Christina Hugenschmidt, PhD

Wake Forest University Health Sciences

  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

Name Role Affiliation
Christina Hugenschmidt, PhD Principal Investigator Assistant Professor Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine

Name Phone Email
Ashley Morgan 336-716-2513
Phyllis Babcock 336-713-8542


IMOVE: Improvisational Movement for People With Memory Loss and Their Caregivers