It is being reported that speaking two or more languages will help delay the onslaught of memory loss as you get older. While speaking a second language like German won’t reduce your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can help push back the effects by about 4 years. In the patients that developed memory loss, but spoke at least 2 languages, the deterioration in the brain wasn’t any different from those that spoke just one. The difference is in how the brain was able to better cope due to the increased cognitive reserve, which is the brain’s capacity to work even when stressed or damaged.
Ellen Bialystok, a bilingualism researcher at Toronto’s York University said that “speaking two languages isn’t going to do anything to dodge the bullet,” but the increased cognitive reserve is the “same as the reserve tank in a car: Once the brain runs out of fuel, it can go a little farther.”
Source: Wall Street Journal
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