Since November is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, it’s a great time to focus on learning about how to delay dementia as we age. And according to some recent research, speaking more than one language will help. The most recent study, conducted in India and published in the journal Neurology, joins many other studies that have also reached this conclusion.
Researchers say there’s something special about switching from one language to another in the course of routine communication that helps explain why bilingual people tend to develop dementia five years later than other people. The latest study is especially exciting because it included illiterate people that also seemed to benefit. This means formal education may not play a role.
It is easier to learn a new language when we are younger, so this research gives a good reason to expose children to language-learning at a young age. It’s never too late, though, so if you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, this discovery is a great reason to start. Dementia has no cure but some of the effects can be delayed with proper treatment. Contact your Orange County psychiatrist if you have any concerns about your mental alertness.