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Study Reveals How Being Bilingual Can Delay Alzheimer’s Disease
Current research reveals how being bilingual can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The Department of Experimental Psychology and Department of Neurology at Ghent University conducted a study that supports such findings. Bilingual and monolingual participants were compared for time of clinical manifestation and diagnosis of AD. Woumans et al. (2013) from Ghent University states, “Results indicated a significant delay for bilinguals of 4.6 years in manifestation and 4.8 years in diagnosis. Our study therefore strengthens the claim that bilingualism contributes to cognitive reserve and postpones the symptoms of dementia.”
Additional studies are being conducted to consider socioeconomic status, gender, occupation, social support, and other factors that can potentially influence the onset of AD. Woumans et al. (2013) comments how new research supports considerable cognitive control and brain plasticity in people who speak more than two languages, which is thought to be beneficial for cognitive health. Multilingual individuals displayed symptoms of dementia about four and half years later than people who spoke one language. Overall, the study reported how bilinguals showed a delay in the onset of AD in comparison with monolinguals who experienced dementia and AD symptoms much earlier. Other relevant factors are continued to be studied to support such findings.
Woumans, E., Santens, P., Sieben, A., Versijpt, J., Stevens, M., & Duyck, W. (2013). Bilingualism delays clinical manifestation of Alzheimer’s disease.Ghent University. Department of Experimental Psychology. Retrieved from: http://users.ugent.be/~wduyck/articles/WoumansSantensSiebenVersijptStevensDuyckInPress.pdf
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