According to a recent Spanish study, speaking 2 languages on a regular basis enhances brain health and delays cognitive decline and dementia associated with aging.

Unlike in previous studies, the researchers concentrated on differences in terms of the benefit gained from different degrees of bilingualism, and not only between monolingual and bilingual people. They created a bilingualism gradient, including the age of acquisition of the second language, the use made of each language, and switching between languages in the same context.

The study shows that the more you use both languages and the better your language skills, the more neuroprotective advantage you have. In fact, active bilingualism is an important predictor of delay of mild cognitive impairment, a prior phase of Alzheimer’s disease, because it contributes to cognitive reserve. You can regard speaking 2 languages as a lifelong training for the brain, keeping it strong and healthy.

In the future, the researchers want to see whether bilingualism is also beneficial for other diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

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