Being Bilingual Could Protect Your Brain

Speaking more than one language may slow down some age-related decline

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MONDAY, June 14, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Being fluent in two languages could protect against age-related cognitive decline, says a study in the June issue of Psychology and Aging.

Researchers from York University in Toronto compared the results of 154 bilingual and monolingual middle-aged and older adults on the Simon Task, which measures reaction time and aspects of cognitive function that decline with age.

All the bilingual people in the study had used two languages every day since the age of 10.

The study found that both older and younger bilingual people performed better than those who spoke just one language. Being bilingual offers widespread benefits across a range of complex cognitive tasks, the authors concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has information about forgetfulness and aging.

SOURCE: American Psychological Association, news release, June 13, 2004

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