Bilingualism May Delay Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

Learning and speaking more than one language could delay the onset of dementia by as many as four or five years. In a recent study, researchers at the University of Ghent found that the average age of diagnosis for Alzheimer’s patients who only speak one language was 73. For bilinguals, the age was 77. For some, multilingualism delayed onset by five years.

Between March 2013 and May 2014, researchers at the Belgian university studied the case history of 69 monolingual patients and 65 bilingual patients, all of which were undergoing treatment for probable Alzheimer’s disease. The analysis revealed that both manifestation and diagnosis of the neurodegenerative disease occurred four to five years later for Belgians who spoke more than one language

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