Study shows that being bilingual really does boost brain power

Study shows that being bilingual really does boost brain power
Published: 13 January 2015 (1690 Views)

 - Researchers studied brain scans from 20 people, all around the age of 30

 - They had started learning English as a second language around age 10

 - The study found improvements in the structure of the brain's white matter

 - These 'higher levels of structural integrity' were in areas responsible for language learning and semantic processing


Learning a second language in early childhood has long been known to boost brainpower

But a new study suggests that the effects extend to those who learn a language from the age of 10 onwards.

The research found that people who began learning English in middle childhood showed improvements in the structure of the brain's white matter.

These 'higher levels of structural integrity' were in areas responsible for language learning and semantic processing.

The findings mirror observations from previous studies that found these improvements in people who learned a second language at a much earlier age.

Researchers studied brain scans from 20 people, all around the age of 30, who had lived in Britain for at least 13 months.

They had all started learning English as a second language around age 10.

Their imaging analyses were compared to 25 people of similar age who spoke only English.

'Everyday handling of more than one language functions as an intensive cognitive stimulation that benefits specific language-related brain structures by preserving their integrity, and therefore it protects them against deterioration in older age,' said the study led by Christos Pliatsikas of the University of Kent School of Psychology.

Since previous studies had mostly relied on people who learned two or more languages beginning in infancy, scientists say more research is needed to close in on exactly when these positive brain changes begin to take root.

The research follows a similar study in June which found that Learning to speak a second language at any point in your life could help keep your brain sharp as you age, a study suggests.

Academics at the University of Edinburgh detected a pattern of slower mental decline among the bilingual in a group of 835 born in 1936.

They were given an intelligence test in 1947 at the age of 11, then retested in their early 70s between 2008 and 2010.

A total of 262 participants could communicate in at least one language other than English. Of those, 195 learnt the second language before the age of 18.

Those who spoke two or more languages had significantly better cognitive abilities in their 70s than their peers. The strongest effect of bilingualism was seen in general intelligence and reading tests.

Previous research had suggested that bilingualism might improve cognition and delay dementia.

But until now scientists were unsure whether learning a second language improved mental stamina, or whether those with better cognitive functions were more likely to become bilingual.

- Daily Mail

Tags: brain,
 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

MDC Alliance: The Election Bulletin - Issue 06

by MDC Communications | 17 July 2018 | 137 Views

Simple rigging proof mechanism

by S. Nhliziyo | 17 July 2018 | 133 Views

Chamisa to take ZEC head-on

by Staff rpeorter | 17 July 2018 | 125 Views

Matebeleland Chiefs petition Chiwenga over dispute

by Staff rpeorter | 17 July 2018 | 108 Views

Chamisa fails to shake off 'Grace Mugabe pact' claims

by Staff rpeorter | 17 July 2018 | 119 Views

Mnangagwa tells white farmers 'You are part of us'

by Staff rpeorter | 17 July 2018 | 121 Views

'Chigumba's arrogance reflective of her ignorance'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 106 Views

Zanu-PF looking beyond polls, says Mnangagwa

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 94 Views

Chamisa calls for SADC, AU to protect election

by AFP | 17 July 2018 | 102 Views

President Mnangagwa man of the moment

by Elijah Chihota | 17 July 2018 | 111 Views

Congratulations to France

by Thomas Murisa | 17 July 2018 | 86 Views

Will Mnangagwa defy odds on 30 July?

by Benny Gudo | 17 July 2018 | 92 Views

ZEC: A menace tormenting Zimbabwe

by Benny Gudo | 17 July 2018 | 82 Views

Mnangagwa misleads Zimbabweans

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 138 Views

Zimra board pockets $300,000

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 115 Views

Senior MDC-Alliance leaders jump ship

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 157 Views

Chiwenga urges deserters to, 'Come back home'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 124 Views

ZEC warns Chamisa, MDC-Alliance

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 137 Views

'Zanu-PF abusing State resources'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 96 Views

Zec sued over disclosure of voters' details

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 90 Views

Musindo showers lavish praise on Madiro

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 79 Views

Chamisa's supporters released without charge

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 73 Views

Serial car thief jailed

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 58 Views

Chamisa rules out presidential election run-off

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 91 Views

Mugabe challenges default judgment

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 79 Views

Chamisa turns heat over ballot paper design

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 84 Views

'We tried talking to Mugabe but failed'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 83 Views

Zec in fresh storm over polling booths

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 73 Views

Chiwenga embraces Chamisa's 'spaghetti roads'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 83 Views

Mnangagwa 'steals' campaign concept

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 97 Views

'Mugabe stalled border upgrade'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 50 Views

'Valerio Sibanda facilitated Mnangagwa's escape'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 52 Views

Chief Charumbira drops another bombshell

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 50 Views

MDC Alliance in a fight they will not win

by Lloyd Msipa | 17 July 2018 | 94 Views

Langton 'School Boy' Tinago dies

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 58 Views

Fight breaks over 'Mugabe prophet'

by Staff reporter | 17 July 2018 | 44 Views