This recent report is an old story, but I never tire of reading about it. I am assuming that multilingual people are even more protected from Alzheimer's. No why is it that I seem to forgetting things, and misplacing things more and more?
The paper by Canadian researchers, published Thursday, suggests bilingual people have higher cognitive reserves as they get older. Higher cognitive reserve is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's and other memory-destroying dementias.
It's not exactly clear why. But one theory is that managing two different languages boosts brain regions that are critical for general attention and cognitive control.
"We know that if you know two languages, and that there are two languages you could be speaking at any time, then both of those languages are always active – they're always kind of 'available' in your mind," she said.
"That means that every time you want to say something or understand something or write something, there's potential interference from the other language."
When that happens, the brain's executive-control system kicks in to man-age the conflict between languages.
The executive-control system is the basis for our ability to multi-task and to stay focused on what's relevant and avoid distraction.
In bilinguals, that brain network gets "massive practice," said Bialystok, a Distinguished Research Professor at York.