Speaking More Than One Language Delays Onset Of Alzheimer's
Where two or more languages are spoken regularly, there is likely to be a delay in the onset of Alzheimer's symptoms by more than four years. This was found by researchers from several universities in Canada and published in the November 9, 2010 edition of Neurology.
A total of 211 patients diagnosed with probable Alzheimer's between 2007 and 2009 were classified as monolingual (109) and bi-lingual (102). Along with this information, the patients' dates of diagnosis, age of onset, occupational history, and education and language history were recorded and compared.
There were no significant differences between the two groups on educational or occupational levels, no apparent differences in immigration status, and no gender differences. However, the bi-lingual patients were diagnosed with Alzheimer's 4.3 years later than the monolingual group. The study further shows the multiple impact of bi-lingualism, regular exercise, and healthy diet have on how the brain copes with age-related cognitive decline.
"Although a great deal of research is being focused on the development of new and more effective medications for Alzheimer's disease, there are currently no drug treatments that show any effects on delaying Alzheimer's symptoms, let alone delaying the onset of these symptoms by up to five years," said Dr. Freedman, head of Neurology and director of the Sam and Ida Ross Memory Clinic at Baycrest.
Never to late to take language classes. Choose a language that you can speak with your family, neighbors, or others in your community. If you don't actually use the second language in your daily life, it will not have as much of a health benefit. Get to it!