Pregnancy, Babies, Parenting News & Tips

Speaking two languages leads to a healthier brain, new study says

By Staff Reporter / Jun 02, 2014 01:44 PM EDT
  • Learning a new language alters brain development
  • (Photo : Flickr) Learning a new language alters brain development

Speaking two languages does not only come in handy when you travelling, but it also has a positive effect on cognition later in life, according to a new study released Monday.

Individuals, who speak two or more languages, even those who acquired the second language in adulthood, may slow down cognitive decline from aging, the research found. 

Like Us on Facebook

"Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence," said lead author Thomas Bak from University of Edinburgh. 

However, researchers are unable to clearly pinpoint what helps with cognitive performance, whether it's that learning a second language helps or if people with high cognitive performance are more likely to know more than one language.

 "The crucial question is whether people improve their cognitive functions through learning new languages or whether those with better baseline cognitive functions are more likely to become bilingual," said Bak, who is also a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.

The study was based on data from the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936, which involved 835 native English speakers who were born and resided in Scotland in the UK. Of the 835 participants tested, 262 were able to speak two or more languages. Of these, 195 learned a second language before the age of 18 (19 before the age of 11) while 65 learned a second language after the age 18.

This is not the first study of its kind. Another study of bilingualism in 2013 found that bilingual patients suffer dementia onset an average of 4.5 years later than those who speak only one language. A significant difference in age at onset was found across Alzheimer's disease dementia as well as other kinds of dementia.

© 2014 ParentHerald.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Cigarette smoking by U.S. adults reaches record low: CDC

A woman smokes a cigarette in this illustration picture taken in Paris, October 8, 2014.

Read More »

Breast cancer recurrence risk down since 1980s

The world's largest awareness ribbon made of flowers is seen from above during the UAE leg of the Avon Walk around the world for Breast Cancer Awareness walkathon in Zaabeel park in Dubai, November 16, 2007.

Read More »

U.S. approves GSK's purchase of Novartis vaccine business: companies

The signage for the GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013.

Read More »

U.S. government says 462,125 people signed up for 2015 Obamacare plans

A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this October 2, 2013 photo illustration. The federal government's portal logged over 2.8 million visitors by afternoon October 2, largely in an attempt to sign up for Obamacare.

Read More »

East Coast storm threatens Thanksgiving travel

Cars make their way through the Washington bridge in New York November 26, 2014.

Read More »

Ebola vaccine from Glaxo passes early safety test

Ebola vaccine from Glaxo passes early safety test

Read More »

Physicists solve mystery of why cats rule, dogs drool

A Greyhound dog drinks water after a race in Santiago city, in this file picture taken March 1, 2014.

Read More »

U.N. to miss Dec 1 Ebola target due to rising Sierra Leone cases

A health worker fixes another health worker's protective suit in the Aberdeen district of Freetown, Sierra Leone, October 14, 2014.

Read More »

U.S. introduces menu calorie labeling to fight obesity

A pizza is served in Chicago January 20, 2010.

Read More »

New York's Cuomo warns snow-hit Buffalo of risk to roofs

Wreckage lays at a collapsed house following a massive snow storm in Alden, New York November 24, 2014.

Read More »

Dutch to destroy 8,000 ducks to prevent bird flu outbreak

Dutch to destroy 8,000 ducks to prevent bird flu outbreak

Read More »

Saudi Arabia tackles MERS virus, still hunting source

Saudi Arabia tackles MERS virus, still hunting source

Read More »

Real Time Analytics