Delaying Dementia


Bilingual people with dementia show symptoms four years later than those who speak just one language. This 2007 finding from York University psychologist Ellen Bialystok suggests that speaking two languages stimulates the brain and helps build up cognitive reserve. Her research compared those who had grown up bilingual and who continued to switch back and forth between languages, to those who spoke only one language.

Bialystok’s discovery is significant, given that the longer a person can stave off the symptoms of dementia, the lesser the social and economic burden.

Bialystok, E., Craik, F. I. M., & Freedman, M. (2007). Bilingualism as a protection against the onset of symptoms of dementia. Neuropsychologia, 45(2), 459-464. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006.10.009

Bilingualism and Cognitive Development »