Bilingualism could offset brain changes in Alzheimer's

Posted on February 14, 2018

The study is the first to assess the structure of MCI and AD patients' language and cognition control regions and demonstrate an association between those regions of the brain and memory function in these groups, and the first to control for immigration status in these groups.
Natalie Phillips, a professor in the Department of Psychology in Concordia University and her team are the first to use high-resolution, whole-brain MRI data and sophisticated analysis techniques to measure cortical thickness and tissue density within specific brain areas. Namely, they investigated language and cognition control areas in the frontal regions of the brain, and medial temporal lobe structures that are important for memory and are brain areas known to atrophy in MCI and AD patients.
Their research contributes to the hypothesis that having two languages exercises specific brain regions and can increase cortical thickness and grey matter density. It extends these findings by demonstrating that these structural differences can be seen in the brains of multilingual AD and MCI patients.
"Our results contribute to research that indicates that speaking more than one language is one of a number of lifestyle factors that contributes to cognitive reserve," Phillips says. "They support the notion that multilingualism and its associated cognitive and sociocultural benefits are associated with brain plasticity."


Source material from Science Daily

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