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Being Multilingual May Reduce Alzheimer Symptoms

October 18, 2011 by  

Being Multilingual May Reduce Alzheimer Symptoms

Health researchers at St. Michaels Hospital in Canada have determined that being multilingual can ward off symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

A team of researchers studied CT scans of patients who had been diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s disease and who had similar levels of education and cognitive skills, such as attention, memory, planning and organization. Half were fluently bilingual; the other half spoke only one language.

The study published in Cortex determined that though both groups performed similarly in regard to cognitive performance, the bilingual patients were doing so with higher levels of dementia-related brain damage.

Previous observational studies have found that bilingualism delays the onset of Alzheimer’s symptoms by up to five years, but Dr. Tom Schweizer, a neuroscientist who headed the research, said that this is the first time that doctors have physical proof through CT scans that the brains of multilingual people combat Alzheimer’s more effectively.

“This is unheard of – no medicine comes close to delaying the onset of symptoms and now we have the evidence to prove this at the neuroanatomical level,” he said.

Schweizer said that researchers must now reproduce the results, using a larger base of patients and more sophisticated MRI equipment to better understand how to approach dementia prevention.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Janet

    Mary Newport MD is on a video about her husband’s Alzheimer’s.

    Informative and interesting.

  • coal miner

    Brain imaging shows playing Tetris leads to a … Is Tetris Good For The Brain? … Computers & Math

  • eddie47d

    Being multilingual is what moves businesses in the world and gives some companies the edge.

  • s c

    Bilingual skills will probably be shown to enhance complex skills that force the brain to function, rather than let the brain suffer because of misuse or inactivity. In addition to continual use via language skills, proper nutrition provides a constant flow of ‘energy’ to coax mind and body to perform, rather than ‘rust’ from misuse. Once the role of genetics is understood, perhaps deep, sustained research can verify or disprove what amount to preconceived errors.
    The American medical establishment is on a collision course with nutrition – quality nutrition, that is. While some MDs continue to preach that fats in general are bad, this is an oversimplification which leads to the use of drugs that can seem to trigger the onset of what appears to be dementia (further research is needed to establish and verify symptoms).
    The brain NEEDS quality fat in order to function. Without that fat, a door can be opened. Once an MD uses a drug protocol, the patient is literally between a rock and a hard place. Good intentions have no place when drugs are used to compensate for the complex functions of nutrition.
    Eat your quality fats. Let your MD take the pills and worry about cholesterol. Then, perhaps, a patient and an MD can have reasons to compare notes. Patients deserve more options than rest home observations and TV ads for pseudo-wonder pills.

    • coal miner


      Very well said.I agree with you.

      We should start with Latin to enhance our multilingual skills in grade schools,starting in the third grade.The earlier,the better.


      Ut satus per gradus in scholis Latine augendae nostrae multilingues tellus, placerat in tertio gradus.


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