Speaking Two Languages May Delay Dementia Symptoms

Do you speak more than one language? If so, you may delay showing signs of three types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, by four years as compared to those who only speak one language. Read on to learn more about this recent study. Thanks for visiting us at Advocare.

Speaking two languages may help delay the damage of dementia, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that people who were bilingual did not show the signs of three types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, for more than four years longer than those who spoke only one language.

The report was published online Nov. 6 in the journal Neurology.

“Bilingualism can be seen as a successful brain training, contributing to cognitive reserve, which can help delay dementia,” said study co-author Dr. Thomas Bak, a lecturer at the Center for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Cognitive reserve is the ability of the brain to keep functioning normally despite significant disease or injury, explained Stephen Rao, a neuropsychologist at Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. “It has been understood that this capacity is influenced by education, higher occupational status, engagement in higher order cognitive [thinking] activities, and now bilingualism,” Rao said.

People with a greater cognitive reserve experience the onset of dementia later in life than people with less reserve. As a result, the impact of dementia will be less apparent for longer in people with greater reserve capacity, as thinking and memory functions are able to carry on even with the loss of brain cells.

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