Bilingual speakers can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and its symptoms for between four and five years, according to studies conducted by researchers at Toronto’s Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest, wrote the Toronto Star Oct. 15 :
In a soon to be published study three researchers from Baycrest – Ellen Bialystok, Fergus Craik and Morris Freedman – found in a study of more than 100 bilingual patients and 100 monolingual patients that the bilinguals experienced the onset of symptoms and were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease between four and five years later than monolingual patients.
Bialystok, distinguished research professor in psychology in York’s Faculty of Health, Craik, a senior scientist at Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest, and Freedman, a neurologist at Baycrest, confirmed results from an earlier study in which they examined hospital records from about 100 bilingual and 100 monolingual patients.
Bialystok's research was profiled by Australia's ABC News Oct. 18.
She also commented on a new study out of the University of California, Los Angeles for Discovery News:
A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles has revealed that the ability to speak multiple languages is associated with better mental capacities.
“Being able to use two languages and never knowing which one you’re going to use right now rewires your brain,” Discovery News quoted Ellen Bialystok, distinguished research professor of psychology in York’s Faculty of Health, whose work has been cited by Jared Diamond of the University of California in his article.
Bialystok also added that bilinguals fare better at multitasking tasks, including ones that simulated driving and talking on a phone. However, being able to speak more than one language comes at a cost, she said. “Bilinguals have more 'tip-of-the-tongue’ problems,” Bialystock said. “Bilingual children have on average a smaller vocabulary in each of their languages than monolingual children,” she added.
Republished courtesy of YFile – York University’s daily e-bulletin.