To Slow Brain Aging, Learn a New Language

by | June 3, 2014 at 12:40 PM | Health

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Even if you’re already an adult, researchers suggest.

By Matt Cantor, Newser Staff

We’ve already heard that being bilingual can help you fight dementia. Now, some follow-up good news: Even if you’re an adult, it may not be too late to reap the cognitive benefits of learning a new language, the BBC reports.

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Researchers performed intelligence tests on 262 bilingual people in their seventies and compared the results with the subjects’ test scores at age 11. The subjects’ cognitive scores in their seventies were significantly better than baseline expectations—whether they picked up their second language early or later in life, a press release notes.

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Some 195 of the participants became bilingual as children, but 65 didn’t learn new languages until adulthood. “Millions of people around the world acquire their second language later in life,” a researcher says.

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“Our study shows that bilingualism, even when acquired in adulthood, may benefit the aging brain.”

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.