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Speaking two languages into old age can prevent dementia

Posted by Shez B.

New Canadian research found that knowing two languages or more can postpone the onset of dementia in old age by more than four years.

The researchers examined the participants for knowledge of languages and the age at which signs of dementia began to appear.

Men who spoke only one language were found to develop dementia at an average age of 70.8, while men who spoke at least two languages were more likely to develop dementia at 76.1 Uni-lingual women developed the disorder at 71.9 on average, while multi-lingual women developed dementia at an average of 75.1 years old.

Speaking more than one language delays the onset of dementia by 4.1 years.

The benefits of knowing multiple languages seem to not be influenced by level of education, occupation, cultural upbringing or immigration history, since the study revealed that participants with the highest education tended to speak only one language.
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There may definitely be something to this! My grandfather died peacefully in his sleep at age 98.5. His native tongues were Russian and Yiddish, but he left those behind for English as a kid. He learned Hebrew, French and German by the time he was a young adult. He kept up the Hebrew all his life for going to synagogue and he re-learned French when he retired, to "keep his mind sharp". He read Les Miserables in the original French at the end of his life and was sharp as a tack to his last day.
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