Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bilingualism Linked To Delayed Dementia, Study Shows

At some point or another we’ve all wanted to pick up another language.  Whether it be to get an A in your high school Spanish class, to master traveling in another country, or to add to your resume, it’s a common desire.  But did you know that mastering a new language could also have the added bonus of delaying dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

A new study, conducted by the journal Neurology in India, is the largest of a number of new reports supporting this hypothesis.  This study in particular found that speaking a second language could delay many kinds of dementias.  What’s interesting is that this seems to apply to both literate and illiterate subjects, meaning educated or not, knowing multiple languages can have the same positive affects. 

The fact that your brain is stimulated through switching sounds, grammatical structures, concepts, and accents, learning a second language promotes mental activity that keeps your brain active and healthy.

In this study 648 individuals with dementia medical records were reviewed.  Within this pool of people, more than half were bilingual or multilingual.  Those with bilingual or multilingual capabilities reported feeling the symptoms of dementia at age 65.6, as opposed to those who only spoke one language acquiring these symptoms five years earlier at the age of 61.  Similar conclusions were seen in multiple forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s, Frontotemporal Dementia, and Vascular Dementia.

With tremendous conclusions like this we must take the time to make changes in our households to protect our loved ones from developing dementia, keeping our brains healthy for the long run.  

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