Bilingualism is better for ageing brains

12th Jan 2017

New research shows bilingualism makes the brain more efficient and economical with resources. Bilingual people are better at saving brain power.

The research team at University of Montreal, compared the functional brain connections in monolingual and bilingual elderly people. They established that years of bilingualism change how the brain carries out tasks that require concentrating on one piece of information without becoming distracted by other information.

The two groups of seniors performed a task that involved focusing on visual information (colour of the object) while ignoring spatial information (the position of the object). Using fMRI to measure the functional brain connections of the two groups, the researchers found that monolinguals recruited a larger circuit with multiple connections, whereas bilinguals used a smaller circuit that was more appropriate for the required information. 

The two groups were equally good at controlling the task but their brains were not doing it the same way. The bilinguals were much more economical in terms of using brain power, and are better equipped at staving off the signs of cognitive ageing and dementia.

To read the full article, please head to Science Direct website

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