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Speaking more than one language may ward off three types of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. There is evidence that speaking a second language can delay the onset of dementia later in life.

Learn to speak Italian and you may delay the onset of Alzheimer's or you may help prevent it. Recent studies are showing that bilingual people may not suffer from the disease the same way monolingual people do. In bilingual people the onset of the disease happens much later or is mitigated. *

Conducted in Hyderabad, India, the largest study of its kind so far found that speaking two languages slowed the start of three types of dementia — including Alzheimer’s disease — by an average of 4.5 years.

How exactly does learning a language do this? As your brain works to incorporate the new vocabulary and conversational skills, new neural pathways are created, improving brain and memory function. The same way exercise helps keep your heart healthy, exercising your brain with language lessons helps you fight off Alzheimer’s.

That kind of attention keeps the brain nimble and may ward off not only Alzheimer’s disease, but other cognitive conditions such as Frontal temporal dementia and vascular dementia, the new study found.

* Excerpted from Caroline Ruddy – PickTheBrain blog.
* Also from Dr. Ellen Bialystok’s research


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