On The Bricks

March 28, 2019

All sorts of studies show that being bilingual is better for your brain.

Being able to speak more than one language fluently postpones symptoms of dementia. Several researchers say it can average four years or more that the bilingual person’s mind can ward off the symptoms of dementia.

A study in Scotland shows bilinguals recover brain function after a stroke more than twice as often as monolinguals. While both have the same risk of developing aphasia – a disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to process and use language – monolinguals are more likely to have a more severe form of the condition.

An occupational therapist who works primarily with patients after a traumatic brain injury said they would want to know if their clients were bilingual. If they were, then they would have a cognitive reserve that could boost their recovery.

Bilingualism also helps people pay attention to what’s relevant and focus when there’s a distraction. “It sounds like a trivial thing, but attention is the central aspect of cognition,” says Bialystok, a research professor in Toronto. “Attention develops early in infancy and matures throughout childhood. In older age, when we start to struggle with memory, attention is at the heart of everything significant of cognition.”

In one study, it showed measurable improved attention in people after just one week of language instruction. Those who practices a new language five hours a week over nine months maintained the positive effects.

All of this explains a lot.

I lived in another country one summer and never could pick up the language. And I tried.

Put that together with all the things I forget and the many mistakes I make … yep, my brain just isn’t quite as bueno as a lot of other people.

Sometimes the truth really hurts.

But it is still a good day on the bricks!