People who regularly speak two languages protect themselves from senile dementia.
Open University of Catalonia (Spain) posted a note about the benefits of communication in different languages. Scientists have noticed that in people who speak two or more languages a day, the brain ages more slowly. For example, in multilingual regions, senile dementia occurs 50% less frequently, and cognitive impairment is diagnosed much later in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers write that regular use of two languages increases the brain’s cognitive reserve, strengthens memory, and delays the onset of dementia symptoms. Scientists came to such conclusions by studying the population of Barcelona, which speaks Catalan and Spanish to varying degrees. The study involved 63 healthy people, 135 patients with mild cognitive impairments such as memory loss, and 68 people with Alzheimer’s disease. They performed five exercises for memory and perception. In addition to the results of these tests, the person’s age, the degree of proficiency in two languages, and other factors were taken into account.
As a result, scientists came to the conclusion that knowing two languages is not only a task for memory. The ability to quickly switch from one language to another, avoiding mixing them, cultivates the neuroprotective functions of the brain.
In the future, researchers want to find out if bilingualism is beneficial for other diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.