HealthDay News — Bilingualism may have a positive effect on later-life cognition, according to a study published Annals of Neurology.

Thomas H. Bak, MD, from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues studied cognitive ability in 853 participants first tested in 1947 (mean age 11 years) and then retested in 2008 to 2010.

The researchers found that bilingual individuals performed significantly better than predicted from their baseline cognitive abilities. The strongest effects were seen in general intelligence and reading.

“Our results suggest a positive effect of bilingualism on later-life cognition, including in those who acquired their second language in adulthood,” Bak and colleagues conclude.


  1.  Bak TH. Ann Neurol. 2014;doi: 10.1002/ana.24158