Bilingualism retards senility: Canadian study
Yahoo News
January 12, 2007

Speaking one or more languages can stall the onset of dementia, according to a new Canadian study."Our study found  that speaking two languages throughout one's life appears to be associated  with a delay in the onset of symptoms of dementia by four years compared  to those who speak only one language," Ellen Bialystok, lead researcher and  professor at York University in Toronto, said in a statement.Her research  team examined the medical records of 184 patients with cognitive complaints.  Ninety-one spoke one language and 93 were bilingual, speaking  a combination of 25 different languages, including Polish, Yiddish,  German, Romanian and Hungarian.They found that monolingual patients showed  evidence of Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia at 71.4 years of age on  average, while the bilingual group manifested symptoms at 75.5 years.This  difference remained even after considering the possible effects of cultural  differences, immigration, formal education, employment and gender on  the results."There are no pharmacological interventions that are this  dramatic," said Morris Freedman, study co-author and an expert on the  mechanisms underlying cognitive impairment due to diseases such as  Alzheimer's.The results will be published in the February issue  of Neuropsychologia.