Knowing more than one language can lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), according to a recent study carried out by researchers at Concordia University in Quebec.
They suggest that people who are bilingual can make up for damage caused to the brain by AD by accessing other parts of the brain for processing memory.
The study focused on the effects of knowing a second language for patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI; which can lead to AD).
Natalie Philips’ study will be published in Neuropsychologia.
“Our new study contributes to the hypothesis that having two languages exercises specific brain regions and can increase cortical thickness and grey matter density. And it extends these findings by demonstrating that these structural differences can be seen in the brains of multilingual AD and MCI patients,” she said.
They used MRI data and sophisticated analysis techniques to measure cortical thickness and tissue density, which are much more effective than previous studies which used CT scans.
“Our results contribute to research that indicates that speaking more than one language is one of a number of lifestyle factors that contributes to cognitive reserve,” Phillips said.
“They support the notion that multilingualism and its associated cognitive and sociocultural benefits are associated with brain plasticity.”