Brain plasticity in bilingualism delays possible cognitive impairment

January 15, 2014

Brain plasticity in bilingualism delays possible cognitive impairment

This is what has emerged from a study carried out in the Indian city of Hyderabad. It is the largest global study on this topic carried out in a region of India where bilingualism is widespread. The continuous passage from diverse grammatical forms and phonetics would exercise brain plasticity, thus delaying for an average of five years, the occurrence of various forms of dementia. This is reported in the Journal of Neurology by a group of researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India, coordinated by Suvarna Alladi. The study was conducted on 648 Indian subjects with a diagnosis of dementia.

“These results lead to the hypothesis that bilingualism affects dementia more effectively than any medication available today”, said Thomas Bak, a researcher at the University of Edinburgh who participated in the research. “Consequently, the study of the relationship between bilingualism and cognition is one of our highest priorities and further studies are needed to determine the mechanism that causes the delay in the appearance of various types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, caused by ischemic lesions that determine multifocal destruction of brain tissue, and frontotemporal dementia, characterized by a degeneration of the frontotemporal lobes of the brain.”