- Speaking multiple languages may prevent cognitive decline
- June 2, 2014
Knowing a second language not only allows you to communicate with more people, but it also boosts brain power.
Research shows that bilingual children are better at problem-solving than children who only speak their native language.
Recently, a study was conducted at the University of Edinburgh that analyzed the connection between brain activity and multiple languages. Researchers discovered that individuals who speak two or more languages, even those who acquired the second language during adulthood, might slow down cognitive decline from aging.
“Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence,” said lead author Dr. Thomas Bak, Centre for Cognitive Aging Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.
The study included 836 people born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1936 whose native language was English. At age 11, they were given metal skills tests and again in their early 70s.
Of the participants, 262 people spoke at least two languages, with 195 of them learning a second language before age 18, and the rest after that age.Findings indicate that those who spoke two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities compared to what would be expected from their baseline. The strongest effects were seen in general intelligence and reading. The effects were present in those who acquired their second language early as well as late.
Delaying the process of an aging brain will not only help one’s health, but will also qualify them for lower life and health insurance premiums.
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