The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – According to a study conducted in Scotland, speaking more than one language helps to preserve mental health in old age. Speaking at least one second language speeds up thinking in old age, even if it has been learned in adulthood.
According to previous studies, if a bilingual person develops dementia, it will be four or five years later than a monolingual person, so explained Dr. Thomas H. Bak of the Center for Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He further explained that it is difficult to define whether knowing another language extends the brain activity or those who learn another language have a different or healthier brain.
Adults who participated in the study by Dr. Bak revealed that bilinguals had better cognitive performance tests, despite not having done well in intelligence tests made during their youth.
Data from 853 Scotsmen who had participated in an experiment in 1947 when they were 11 years and the next one in 2008 when they were 70 or older, showed that 262 of them learned a second language but only 90 of them were still using it.
The study revealed that despite having had a bad performance in the first test decades ago, during their youth, the elderly bilinguals did better on verbal fluency, reading and general intelligence level than those who learned only one language.
What is not clear is what comes first, bilingualism or the state of mental health of people, said Dr. Bak, and added that those who learn a second language do so out of necessity and not because they are brilliant or having any greater interest.
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose, Costa Rica