Wake Forest University has received a $3 million grant to study how dance might improve cognitive health. 

The five-year study, called IGROOVE, is meant to further research how dance can impact fitness, memory, and brain health.

Christina Soriano, a dance professor, will be co-leading the research with Christina Hugenschmidt, an associate professor who specializes in gerontology studies at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

Soriano says dance offers skills in a social environment that may be more appealing than traditional forms of exercise.

"What dance provides is not only an artistic expression but a physical activity that brings people together in meaningful ways," says Soriano. 

Soriano hopes the research can point to how dance might have benefits in preventing cognitive decline.

"Dance is an activity that is very cognitively challenging when you think about what you have to do and coordinating the body physically, and also responding, often quickly, to movement prompts," adds Soriano. 

The research is being funded by the National Institutes of Health. Wake Forest is inviting adults ages 65 and older to participate in the study by calling 336-713-6683 or emailing igroove@wakehealth.edu.

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