Speaking a second language delays dementias, even in the illiterate, study finds - NBC News.com: There’s more evidence that speaking a second language can delay the onset of dementia later in life — this time in a population where even illiterate people reaped the benefits of being bilingual.
Conducted in Hyderabad, India, the largest study of its kind so far found that speaking two languages slowed the start of three types of dementia — including Alzheimer’s disease — by an average of 4.5 years.
“Being bilingual is a particularly efficient and effective type of mental training,” said Dr. Thomas H. Bak, a researcher at The University of Edinburgh and a co-author of the study published Wednesday in the journal Neurology. “In a way, I have to selectively activate one language and deactivate the other language. This switching really requires attention.”