Brain Matters

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Learning a second language: An ‘easy’ dementia delaying activity?

It’s been said that there are endless benefits attached to learning a second language, the most obvious being that it improves your creative brain activity and helps to increase our human cognitive process. It’s almost no wonder that bilingualism has also helped to maintain good mental health, given the extensive research into the field. However, researchers have now found that language development can even go as far as help to prevent the threat of dementia in later life.

The ability to speak in more than one language and its relation to decreasing early offset Alzheimer’s dementia has been talked about widely within the last decade. Many studies have been carried out around the subject, more specifically the most recent study “The impact of bilingualism on brain reserve and metabolic connectivity in Alzheimer’s dementia” carried out by Italy’s Vita-Salute San Rafffaele University in Milan and “Bilingualism delays clinical manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease” carried out by Germany’s University of Ghent are experiments that both collected results on a number of monolingual and bilingual probable Alzheimer’s research participants. Their collective examination of over 219 participants has resulted in cementing the belief that bilingualism can actually prevent the likelihood of dementia by up to five years.

The ideology behind bilingual individuals having cognitive benefits, can be tied to the fact that the ability to understand two languages serves to make the brain work harder than those who speak only one. These cognitive changes to the previous monolingual brain helps to delay not only the likelihood of dementia, but also the overall aging of the brain. Learning an additional language at a younger age is said to help individuals out in later life, is a statement that can be supported and further examined by the research conducted on bilingualism and dementia.

It’s important to note that although bilingualism has been found to increase our cognitive ability, thus making the brain remain more active as we get older, there are other ways to increase an individual’s cognitive skills, however in regards to dementia – bilingualism is one form that seems to be effective. More research into the field of how the maximisation of brain activity is linked to slowing dementia will hopefully be able to uncover how all of us can help towards slowing the chances of Alzheimer’s.

Has this made you want to explore the ways you can increase your cognitive ability?

Have you thought more about learning a different language?

Our neurofeedback looks to expand and test on these findings to see how we can programme your brain to learn more and be more receptive to language and verbal clues.

Has this made you want to explore the ways you can increase your cognitive ability?

Have you thought more about learning a different language?

Key Links:

BBC Article – ‘Study into how language delays onset of dementia’

University of Milan Study

University of Ghent Study