Delaying Dementia

Speaking a second language may delay dementia

Alzheimer's disease

People who speak more than one language and who develop dementia tend to do so up to five years later than those who are monolingual, according to a study.

Scientists examined almost 650 dementia patients and assessed when each one had been diagnosed with the condition.

They found people who spoke two or more languages experienced a later onset of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia.

The bilingual advantage extended to illiterate people.

The scientists said it confirmed the observed effect was not caused by differences in formal education.

Brain training

The study was by Edinburgh University and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad in India.

It is the largest study so far to gauge the impact of bilingualism on the onset of dementia, independent of a person’s education, gender, occupation and whether they live in a city or in the country, all of which have been examined as potential factors influencing the onset of dementia.

The team of researchers said further studies were needed to determine the mechanism, which causes the delay in the onset of dementia.

The researchers suggested bilingual switching between different sounds, words, concepts, grammatical structures and social norms constituted a form of natural brain training, which was likely to be more effective than any artificial brain training programme.

However, studies of bilingualism are complicated in that bilingual populations are often ethnically and culturally different from monolingual societies.

In places like Hyderabad, bilingualism is part of everyday life, knowledge of several languages is the norm and monolingualism is an exception.

Thomas Bak, of Edinburgh University’s school of philosophy, psychology and language sciences said: “These findings suggest that bilingualism might have a stronger influence on dementia than any currently available drugs.

“This makes the study of the relationship between bilingualism and cognition one of our highest priorities.”

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Key Terms…
  • delay ↔ adiar
  • tend to do so up to five years later than those who are ↔ tendem a fazê-lo até cinco anos mais tarde do que aqueles que são
  • assessed ↔ avaliou
  • experienced ↔ tiveram
  • later onset ↔ início mais tardio
  • so far ↔ até agora
  • gauge ↔ availar
  • gender ↔ sexo
  • further studies ↔ mais estudos
  • switching between ↔ alternar entre
  • more effective ↔ mais eficaz
  • part of everyday life ↔ parte da vida cotidiana
  • knowledge ↔ conhecimento
  • is the norm ↔ é a norma


delay adiar
I was at the airport for six hours because of a flight delay.
They decided to delay the wedding for a year.
Sorry, I was delayed by the traffic.
His delay cost the company thousands of dollars. ↔Seu atraso custou à companhia centenas de dólares.
tend to do so up to five years later than those who are tendem a fazê-lo até cinco anos mais tarde do que aqueles que são
Those who become part of the story tend to do so only in tragic circumstances.  
Why do you think men with strong mothers and absent fathers tend to do so well in politics?  
later onset início mais tardio
The results of our study suggest that excess weight may lead to a later onset of puberty in boys.  
gauge availar
something that can be used to measure or judge something else
▪ He does not believe that these tests are an accurate gauge of intelligence.
▪ Home sales provide a gauge of the state of the economy.
switching between alternar entre
I’ve been switching between ebooks and printed books for the last couple of years.  
part of everyday life parte da vida cotidiana
A censura e as perseguições fazem parte da vida quotidiana. ↔Censorship and persecution are part of everyday life.
Não é uma fuga dos problemas e atribulações da vida diária. ↔It is not an escape from the trials and tribulations of everyday life.


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