The Washington Post:
It did not take long for scientists to wonder whether these mental gymnastics might help the brain resist the ravages of aging. To find out, Bialystok and her colleagues collected data from 184 people with diagnoses of dementia, half of whom were bilingual. The results, published in 2007, were startling: Symptoms started to appear in the bilingual people an average of four years later than in their monolingual peers.
In 2010, they repeated the study with a further 200 people showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. In that group, there was a delay of about five years in the onset of symptoms in bilingual patients. The results held true even after factors such as occupation and education were taken into account. “I was as surprised as anyone that we found such large effects,” Bialystok says.
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