Knowing more than one
language delays Alzheimer’s
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Consider yourself lucky if you are exposed to more
than one language as you may be protected against Alzheimer’s disease.
A study has said that mastering two languages acts as a “mental gymnasium” by
forcing the brain to multi-task.
The study showed that bilingual Alzheimer’s patients developed symptoms several
years later than those who spoke only one language.
The US study’s findings contradict popular assumptions that switching between
two or more languages has a confusing “tower of Babel” effect.
Professor Ellen Bialystok from York University in Toronto, Canada, looked at
more than 200 Alzheimer’s patients, half of whom were bilingual.
Infants raised bilingual from birth can distinguish not only between their two
native tongues but between two languages they’ve never been exposed to, just by
watching adults speak without hearing what they say, said psychologist Janet
Werker of the University of British Columbia
“Bilingual infants are able to keep their languages distinct from birth and may
develop an increased sensitivity to voice and face cues for different
languages,” Werker said.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in
Washington heard that bilingual speakers tend to outperform monolinguals in
certain mental abilities, such as editing out irrelevant information and
focusing on what is actually important.
Judith Kroll, psychology professor at the University of Maryland, said the
findings contradicted previous ideas that bilingualism somehow hindered
“The received wisdom was that bilingualism created confusion, especially in
children,” she said. “The belief was that people who could speak two or more
languages had difficulty using either.”
Courtesy: The Indian Express