Learning another language may help the aging brain - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Learning another language may help the aging brain

© Hemera / Thinkstock © Hemera / Thinkstock
  • Wendy Damonte's Health Watch ReportsMore>>

  • Request Remind Me 2 Kit

    Request a Remind Me 2 Kit

         More >>
  • New Treatment for Deaf Children

    New Treatment for Deaf Children

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:56 PM EDT2014-07-25 22:56:18 GMT
    An experimental procedure is giving deaf children the chance to hear. Doctors at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles are taking part in an experimental trial.More >>
    An experimental procedure is giving deaf children the chance to hear. Doctors at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles are taking part in an experimental trial.More >>
  • Free Yoga Classes for MS Patients in South Lake Tahoe

    Free Yoga Classes for MS Patients in South Lake Tahoe

    Friday, July 25 2014 4:34 PM EDT2014-07-25 20:34:18 GMT
    Multiple Sclerosis patients can get complimentary weekly yoga classes starting next month in South Lake Tahoe. The free MS Yoga Project weekly classes begin Monday, August 4th.More >>
    Multiple Sclerosis patients can get complimentary weekly yoga classes starting next month in South Lake Tahoe. The free MS Yoga Project weekly classes begin Monday, August 4th.More >>

MONDAY, June 2, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Speaking two or more languages helps protect your brain as you age, even if you learn new languages as an adult, new research suggests.

The study included 835 people born in Scotland in 1936 whose first language was English. They were given mental skills tests at age 11 and again in their early 70s. Of the participants, 262 were able to speak at least two languages, with 195 of them learning a second language before age 18, and the rest after that age.

Those who spoke two or more languages did much better on the mental skills tests when they were older than what would be expected from the tests they took when they were younger, especially in the areas of general intelligence and reading, the study authors found.

The positive effects of bilingualism were seen whether people learned new languages when they were children or adults, the researchers noted in the report published online June 2 in the journal Annals of Neurology.

According to study author Dr. Thomas Bak, from the Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh, this study is the first to take into account for childhood intelligence while examining whether learning a second language affects mental skills later in life.

"These findings are of considerable practical relevance. Millions of people around the world acquire their second language later in life. Our study shows that bilingualism, even when acquired in adulthood, may benefit the aging brain," Bak concluded in a journal news release.

Although the study showed an association between learning a second language and having a sharper mind later in life, it was not designed to determine a cause-and-effect link between the two.

The findings provide "an important first step in understanding the impact of learning a second language and the aging brain," Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, an associate editor for Annals of Neurology and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, wrote in an accompanying commentary.

More information

HealthinAging.org offers tips to keep your brain young as you age.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.