31/08/2016 Linguistics Psychology
DOI: 10.5334/JEPS.375 SemanticScholar ID: 151511863 MAG: 2516102118

Does Bilingualism Delay the Development of Dementia

Publication Summary

It has been suggested that bilingualism (where individuals speak two languages) may delay the development of dementia. However, much of the research is inconclusive. Some researchers have reported that bilingualism delays the onset and diagnosis of dementia, whilst other studies have found weak or even detrimental effects. This paper reviews a series of nine empirical studies, published up until March 2016, which investigated whether bilingualism significantly delays the onset of dementia. The article also explores whether the inconsistent findings can be attributed to differences in study designs or the definitions of bilingualism used between studies. Based on current evidence, it appears that lifelong bilin gualism, where individuals frequently use both languages, may be protective against dementia. However, becoming bilingual in adulthood or using the second language infrequently is unlikely to substantially delay onset of the disease.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Amy Atkinson

Dr. Amy Atkinson

Lancaster University - Lecturer in Developmental Psychology

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