Join Our IMOVE Study

Research shows that quality of life can change for people and their families after a diagnosis of memory loss. Research also suggests that participating in the arts may help improve quality of life. However, our understanding of how the arts change the body or mind to improve quality of life is limited. Results from a previous study completed here suggested that the movement and social interactions in an improvisational movement class had separate effects on the body and mind that improved quality of life in people with early-stage memory loss. The study we are asking you to participate in is designed to better understand how improvisational movement and social interactions affect the bodies and minds of people with early-stage memory loss and their care partners. This research is in collaboration with WFU and is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

If you think you or a loved one qualify please contact our study team. 336-713-(MOVE) OR 336-713-(6683)

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Ongoing Studies


Effects of Improvisational Dance on Cognition and Daily Function Among People with Parkinson's Disease

This study is assessing the effectiveness of improvisational dance on people with Parkinson’s disease (PD), specifically its impact on cognitive processes and the ability to complete daily tasks. Using the IMPROVment® method, this study will assess its effects on cognition (Aim 1) and daily function (Aim 2).  This project is being conducted out of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis and has received seed funding from Lee Silverman Voice Treatment - Small Student Grant.


Auditory Cueing of Improvisational Dance: Analyzing Joint Movement in Ghanaian Youth with Cerebral Palsy

Christina Soriano: Principle Investigator, Nicole Johnsen: Student Co-Principle Investigator, Jason Fanning: Faculty Co-Investigator

Children with disabilities in Ghana struggle with overcoming various physical, cultural, and social barriers. The massive stigma associated with disabled individuals in Ghana arises from a traditional Ghanaian belief that sees disabled individuals as ‘inhuman’ or suffering from a ‘devil’s curse’. As a result, many disabled children are shunned from social settings and do not attend school or receive the physical therapy they need. The IMPROVment method not only provides these children with a non-pharmacological physical intervention, but also creates an environment of social inclusion. 

This study focused on analyzing the effects of the IMPROVment method on joint movement in Ghanaian youth with Cerebral Palsy (CP), a physical disability that can drastically hinder body movement as well as muscle coordination. Movement classes were administered 3 times a week for 4 weeks and lasted for a duration of 1 hour per class. Children ages 2-12 with CP were seated for the entirety of each class and given auditory prompts which they responded to by moving in ways they deemed appropriate based on the prompt. Caregivers for each child were also present to ensure child support and safety. 5 testing sessions were administered: one for initial baseline measurements and 4 additional testing sessions at the conclusion of each week. To accurately quantify any changes in the children’s range of motion a variety of measurements were taken including basic information (name, age, sex, years of physical therapy before study, general cognitive ability), CP distribution, goniometer measurements (for shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and neck), and a Gross Motor Function test. Preliminary results show a general upward trend in goniometer measurements; further statistical testing is underway to determine if the results are significant. 

A Special Thanks to the Paul K. Richter and Evalyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Funds and the Wake Forest Richter Scholars Program for sponsoring the travel and research.