Navigation Links
Tel Aviv University finds connection between mental fitness and multi-lingualism
Date:5/7/2008

Children who speak a second or third language may have an unexpected advantage later in life, a new Tel Aviv University study has found. Knowing and speaking many languages may protect the brain against the effects of aging.

Dr. Gitit Kav, a clinical neuro-psychologist from the Herczeg Institute on Aging at Tel Aviv University, together with her colleagues Nitza Eyal, Aviva Shorek, and Jiska Cohen-Manfield, discovered recently that senior citizens who speak more languages test for better cognitive functioning. The results of her study were published in the journal Psychology and Aging.

However, Kav says that one should approach these findings with caution. There is no sure-fire recipe for avoiding the pitfalls of mental aging. But using a second or third language may help prolong the good years, she advises.

Exercising the Brain

A person who speaks more languages is likely to be more clear-minded at an older age, she says, in effect exercising his or her brain more than those who are monolingual. Languages may create new links in the brain, contributing to this strengthening effect.

The research was based on a survey taken in 1989 on people between the ages of 75 and 95. Each person was asked how many languages he or she knew, what his or her mother tongue was, and which language he or she spoke best. The researchers compared bilingual speakers to tri- and multilingual speakers.

Analyzing the results, the researchers found that the more languages a person spoke, the better his or her cognitive state was. A persons level of education was also strongly associated with cognitive state, but the number of languages contributed to the prediction of cognitive fitness beyond the effect of education alone.

A Matter of Words, Not Degrees

Although the easiest way to explain the findings was to point out the relationship between higher education and number of languages, this was not the whole story. In fact, Dr. Kav says, We found that more languages were most significantly correlated with cognitive state in those people who had no education at all."

Dr. Kav, however, adds a note when interpreting the statistics. The study looked at the final result and not the cause, she says.

Use It or Lose It?

A future question for research, according to Kav, is whether languages reflect an initial potential for prolonged mental fitness, or that learning and speaking more languages actually do something to the brain over time.

While the controversy continues as to whether or not parents should introduce their young children to a second language, Kav thinks that learning a new language is only a good thing, even if it isnt intended to stave off mental decline in old age.

In my professional opinion, learning a new language can only do good things, she believes. Other languages are good for you at any age. They allow for a flexibility of thought and a channel for understanding another culture better, as well as your own, says Kav.


'/>"/>

Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Health Care Corporate Compliance Certificate Program to Be Offered at Hamline University School of Laws Health Law Institute
2. Boston Medical Center/Boston University School of Medicine researcher receives award
3. University Hospitals Physician Authors Working Womans Pregnancy Book
4. Amscot Financial Contributes to Bethune-Cookman University School of Nursing, Supporting Healthcare Education
5. Princeton University survey finds pain gap
6. Study by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Confirms Training With Vision Software Enhances Hitting Skills
7. Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christophers Hospital for Children Extend Current Agreement With Independence Blue Cross
8. Digirad Corporation and University of Chicago Medical Center Sign Letter of Agreement
9. Hahnemann University Hospital and St. Christophers Hospital for Children Receive Prestigious Tenet Circle of Excellence Award
10. Drug developed at the University of Chicago wins FDA approval
11. Savannahs Memorial Health University Medical Center to Pay U.S. $5.08 Million to Resolve Fraud Allegations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/10/2016)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... Water Brand. There were three leading bottled water brand owners that topped the list ... that enhance connectivity and optimize conversion. The premier brand was Tibet 5100, a top ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... bring together more than 200 of the country’s top healthcare executives to share ... “The true benefit of the Forum is the provider-centric perspective, experience, expertise and ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... ... Armune BioScience signed a definitive agreement with ARCpoint Labs ... country. Launched in April of 2015, Apifiny is the only cancer specific, non-PSA blood ... exceeded 3,000 tests in 2015. Primary care physicians and urologists have utilized Apifiny to ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... the Ohio Safety Congress and Expo event March 9-11, 2016. Hosted by Ohio's ... Convention Center. , As the longest running and largest worker's compensation event ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32224, February 26th: Amateur & Professional Divisions - Time: ... Time: 7:00pm – 10:00pm | Ticket Prices $30, Social Media: http://www.USPoleSportsFed.org ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... WOONSOCKET, R.I. , Feb. 10, 2016  CVS ... vaccines to people living in Santa Clara ... of Meningitis B on the Santa Clara University campus. ... vaccines available to protect patients against the disease. Students ... are encouraged to get vaccinated. In addition, anyone who ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Feb. 10, 2016  Oxis International Inc. (OTC/QB: OXIS) ... was described as a "clinical trial triumph" after one ... into complete cancer remission. Daniel Vallera ... Masonic Cancer Center. --> Daniel Vallera ... Masonic Cancer Center. --> An article ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016  LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, a leading provider ... launch of LexisNexis Provider Performance Monitor , ... and optimize the quality and efficiency of provider ... scores. By measuring provider performance through Provider Performance ... better outcomes, improve the patient experience and reduce ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: