A study of 650 dementia patients in India indicates that people who speak two or more languages tend to have a delayed onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, vascular dementia and frontotemporal dementia.
People who speak more than one language typically develop dementia up to five years later than monolingual people. This bilingual advantage appears to extend to illiterate people and appears to be independent of formal education and socio-economic status.
Speaking a second language may delay dementia. Edinburgh: BBC News (Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland), November 7th 2013.
This commentary and the original study are covered by an NHS Choices critical appraisal:
Being bilingual may slow the onset of dementia. London: NHS Choices; Behind the Headlines, November 7th 2013.
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Alladi, S. Bak, TH. [and] Duggirala, V. [et al] (2013). Bilingualism delays age at onset of dementia, independent of education and immigration status. Neurology, Published online November 6th 2013. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).