Monday, February 28, 2011

Medical News: AAN: Third Language a Charm in Warding Off Dementia - in Meeting Coverage, AAN from MedPage Today

Speak English? Parlez français? Habla español?

Those who can say yes, oui, or sí to all three questions are significantly more likely to avoid cognitive problems late in life than those who speak only two languages, according to Magali Perquin, PhD, of the Public Research Center for Health in Luxembourg, and colleagues.

Moreover, the effect appears to add up -- more languages equal a lower risk of cognitive impairment, Perquin and colleagues reported in a study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in Honolulu in April.

Action Points  
  • Note that this study was to be published as an abstract and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

  • Note that in this study multilingualism was protective against cognitive impairment in seniors, and the more languages spoken the better.
  • Point out that this study cannot determine causality.
  • "It appears speaking more than two languages has a protective effect on memory in seniors who practice foreign languages over their lifetime or at the time of the study," Perquin said in a statement.

    The findings, from a study of 230 people with an average age of 73, fit into the context of a growing body of literature that suggests a so-called "cognitive reserve" -- developed by intellectual activities -- protects against dementia.

    Click on the "Via" link to read the full article.

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