Healthier Brain with Bilingualism

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by KIKE CALVO 

In a science paper called Delaying the onset of Alzheimer disease: Bilingualism as a form of cognitive reserve the authors presented there strong evidence to suggest that older adults who maintain an active lifestyle in terms of social, mental, and physical engagement are protected to some degree against the onset of dementia. 

The author Bialystok of York University in Toronto believes the experience of using two languages effectively reorganizes your brain.

They found that the bilingual patients had been diagnosed 4.3 years later and had reported the onset of symptoms 5.1 years later than the monolingual patients. There were no gender differences.

In her recent article Bilingualism is good medicine for the brain by CNN Martha Shade, quoted Bialystok, “In later life language learning we can see narrower — but significant — benefits of the same variety that we see in lifelong bilinguals.”

So as you see, it is never too late for an older person to enjoy the benefits of a second language. So why not reading bilingual books to the little explorers in their life?

Craik FI, Bialystok E, Freedman M. Delaying the onset of Alzheimer disease: bilingualism as a form of cognitive reserve. Neurology. 2010;75(19):1726-1729. doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181fc2a1c