Monday, January 15, 2007

Bilingualism helps fight dementia

It seems speaking two languages may help delay dementia as reported in the Indo-Asian News Service New York, January 13, 2007. Read below for more....

Speaking two languages in daily life could delay the onset of dementia, a disorder characterised by a general loss of intellectual abilities, says a new study.

Those who speak two languages put in extra effort than those speaking only one language. This extra effort apparently boosts blood supply to the brain and ensures that nerve connections remain healthy - two factors thought to help fight off dementia, reported the online edition of New Scientist.

Ellen Bialystok and colleagues at York University in Toronto studied 184 elderly patients with signs of dementia. They attended a memory clinic between 2002 and 2005. Of them, 91 spoke only one language while 93 were bilingual.

The onset of dementia could be delayed by up to four years in bilingual people as compared to people who speak only one language, the study said.

This difference remained even after considering the possible effect of cultural differences, immigration, formal education, employment and even gender in the results.

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