Of Interest to All Interpreters: Speaking more than one language gives your brain a good workout with valuable benefits which may delay the onset of dementia.

A large study of over 600 participants, conducted in India and published recently in the journal Neurology, details that the delay of dementia in bilingual speakers was independent of education and socio-economic factors as previously believed. Being bilingual in India is common since most everyone speaks two or three languages regardless of their station in life, religion, habits or literacy levels. Dr. Suvarna Alladi, a researcher at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India, said in a journal, “Speaking more than one language is thought to lead to better development of the areas of the brain that handle executive functions and attention tasks, which may help protect from the onset of dementia.”

Bilingualism may help delay dementia including Alzheimer’s disease for at least five years the study concludes. There is something unique about switching from one language to another in the brain which combines a variety of different mental activities, in the course of even a simple conversation. The activities, or brain exercises, include: switching sounds, grammar, words and even cultural concepts when we “interpret” or alternately speak two languages in conversation. Duolingo here we come!

To learn more on how language activity can protect the brain, please visit the following links:

www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2013/11/14/244813470/new-study-shows-brain-benefits-of-bilingualism

www.nhs.uk/news/2013/11november/pages/being-bilingual-may-slow-the-onset-of-dementia.aspx