Navigation Links
Speaking Several Languages Might Protect Memory
Date:2/22/2011

By Charnicia Huggins
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 22 (HealthDay News) -- The ability to speak several languages not only looks good on a resume when you're young, it may have neurological benefits well after you pass retirement age.

A new study finds that seniors who speak three, four or more languages may have a lower risk of impaired memory than their peers.

Most people already know the cultural advantages of learning foreign languages, but now it appears there are also health benefits to being able to speak in more than one tongue, said lead researcher Magali Perquin, of the Center for Health Studies from the Public Research Center for Health in Luxembourg.

"People who practice different languages might develop particular cognitive processes that may help them to be more resistant to brain aging and cognitive decline when getting old," Perquin added. "It might even provide additional motivation to learn new languages, which is quite interesting."

Perquin and colleagues studied hundreds of males and females who were randomly invited to participate in the MemoVie study, a long-term study of mental function in the elderly. The seniors, who were 73 years old on average and had completed about 12 years of formal education, underwent neurological and psychological examinations and were categorized as having normal mental function, impaired mental function or dementia. After excluding those with dementia, the researchers looked at the number of languages the seniors spoke currently or at some point in life to determine if any associations existed between multilingualism and cognitive impairment.

The investigators found that the more languages the seniors currently spoke, or had spoken previously, the better protected they were against experiencing memory loss.

The findings, released online Tuesday, are scheduled to be presented in April during the American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting in Honolulu.

All of the adults currently spoke or had spoken anywhere from two to seven languages, but 44 of the 230 study participants (19 percent) had impaired mental function.

Seniors who were fluent in three languages were nearly four times as likely as their bilingual peers to be protected against cognitive impairment, the researchers found. Those who spoke four or more languages were more than five times as likely as bilingual seniors to be protected against memory problems, according to the study authors.

The association remained true even after the researchers took into consideration age and years of education.

"We showed multilingualism protects from cognitive impairment and, because the earliest stage of Alzheimer's disease is the occurrence of cognitive impairment, it's probably not too audacious to think that multilingualism could delay or lower the risk of [Alzheimer's disease] onset," said Perquin.

The researchers were unable to tease out a difference between seniors with current, rather than prior, fluency in multiple languages, and were unable to say exactly why multilingualism is so important in reducing the risk of cognitive impairment.

"We still have so many things to learn about brain capacities," Perquin said.

One potential explanation, according to Dr. Richard Lipton, a neurologist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, is the "'use it or lose it' theory of brain function," he said. "You have to use more of your brain to speak multiple languages."

"There's been a longstanding notion that engagement in cognitively stimulating activities protects against Alzheimer's disease," he added. "Speaking multiple languages is a form of cognitive stimulation."

Lipton said he views Perquin's findings in the context of his "crossword puzzle study." Formally known as the Einstein Aging Study, it found that engaging in mentally stimulating activities, like doing crossword puzzles, may protect against age-related mental decline.

It is unknown, however, whether fluency in multiple languages protects against mental decline or is simply a marker of potentially protective traits, like increased intelligence and superior ability, Lipton said, describing it as "sort of a chicken-and-egg problem."

"My preference is to believe that all forms of cognitive engagement will help you to age better and protect against dementia," he noted.

Whether that cognitive engagement includes playing bridge or chess or learning multiple languages, Lipton said, "I want to believe what we do makes a difference."

Research presented at meetings has not been subjected to the same review process given to studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals, experts note.

More information

For more information on memory loss and aging, visit the American Academy of Family Physicians.

SOURCES: Magali Perquin, Ph.D., researcher, Public Research Center for Health (CRP-Sante), Luxembourg; Richard Lipton, M.D., professor and vice chair, neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Feb. 22, 2011, news release, American Academy of Neurology; April 2011, presentation, American Academy of Neurology annual meeting, Honolulu


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Speaking the same language means better health care quality, Wayne State University study finds
2. New standards of care and novel treatment options for several forms of lymphoma unveiled
3. Alcohol consumption lowers risk of developing several arthritic conditions
4. Lakeside Medical Group, Heritage Provider Network, CEO Dr. Richard Merkin, Featured on Several Segments of Fox National News and Fox Business Channel on Current Healthcare Payment Structures to Physicians
5. Rocketboy Media Wins Award for Masonic Lodge Web Site; Announces Signing of Several New Clients
6. Sign languages help us understand the nature of metaphors
7. Gold Standard/Elsevier promotes medication safety and compliance via New MEDcounselor languages
8. DiabetesCare.net Goes Spanish…and French…and 50 Other Languages
9. Simple spit and blood tests might detect burnout before it happens
10. Education Might Help Kidney Recipients Spot Skin Cancer
11. That Squeaking Sound Might Come From Your New Hip
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Speaking Several  Languages Might Protect Memory
(Date:1/20/2017)... FL (PRWEB) , ... January 20, 2017 , ... Source ... botanicals and 100 percent pure essential oils, announced the company had a successful visit ... , The annual ECRM event gives companies that work in the nutritional, sports and ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... International Protein, a company based out of Australia that ... the January ECRM trade show in Hilton Head, SC. , International Protein was ... create a line of products that would elevate her fitness regime. At this ECRM ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... “The Angel”: a ... has set out for each of his children. “The Angel” is the creation of ... Music in New York City, and impassioned writer. , When asked of her new ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... ... “Journey to Christmas:” a beautiful and enchanting tale that teaches children the true meaning of ... three in Oklahoma City, and a devoted woman of faith. , “Becoming a parent ... the back of my mind for years, but actually doing it might have been a ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... ... January 19, 2017 , ... ... E-learning system for Clinical and Regulatory education for Physicians, Physician Advisors, Case ... successful education methodology of Disease Specific Documentation Improvement. , The Aerolib Learning ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017  Sensus Healthcare, Inc. ... company specializing in the treatment of non-melanoma skin ... with superficial radiation therapy, today announced that it ... 2016 financial results on Thursday, February 2, 2017 after ... hold a conference call with the investment community ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... England , January 19, 2017 ... and Otsuka in the Milner Therapeutics Consortium   ... scientists in Cambridge   ... (NYSE: PFE ) as a partner to ... the Consortium, which enables the efficient transfer of materials ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 18, 2017 , , Marks E-QURE ... distribution agreement, following similar agreements in Israel ... care is $2 5 billion global ... Corp. (OTCQB: EQUR), a leader in medical devices for the treatment of advanced ... Equipos Médicos S.A.S. (TeckMedica) in Colombia for the Company,s ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: