A study has found that people who spoke two languages developed dementia four and a half years later than those who only spoke one language.
“Speaking more than one language is thought to lead to better development of the areas of the brain that handle executive functions and attention tasks, which may help protect from the onset of dementia.” said study author Suvarna Alladi at the Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India.
“Our study is the first to report an advantage of speaking two languages in people who are unable to read, suggesting that a person’s level of education is not a sufficient explanation for this difference.”
The study looked at 648 people with an average age of 66 who were diagnosed with dementia.
Of those 391 spoke two or more languages and these had a later onset of three different types of dementia.
“These results offer strong evidence for the protective effect of bilingualism against dementia,” Alladi said.