Off topic: Being bilingual protects the brain
Thread poster: Gillian Searl

Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:45
Member (2004)
German to English
Sep 18, 2007

We all knew this already but apparently bilingual people have quicker brains and are less likely to suffer dementia.

So keep on working y'all - it's good for youicon_wink.gif



Catherine Brix
Local time: 23:45
Swedish to English
+ ...
Same for taxi drivers Sep 18, 2007

I recently read a report that referred to a study of London taxi drivers. The contention was the taxi drivers' extreme use of spatial memory was effective in keeping dementia at bay. There was no mention of language in the study but if there's any substance to the studies (and why wouldn't there be, the old "you don't use it you lose it" adage applies to the brain too) just imagine the sparks flying in the heads of NY city's taxi drivers!



sofiablu (X)
Local time: 23:45
Good for us! Sep 18, 2007

Thank you very much, Gillian, for posting this very interesting article.

You made my day, at least I can hope my brain won't become a mush.


Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:45
Italian to English
+ ...
Being bilingual protects the brain Sep 18, 2007

Funny you should post this, Gillian - I've recently taken part in a poster session on "Brain and Behaviour" for my masters and one of my colleagues presented a poster on bilingualism, the brain and ageing. Very interesting. Mine was on diet and Alzheimer's and I'm currently working on links between the Mediterranean diet and Alzheimer's prevention.

Sadly I'm not truly bilingual, so I'll have to keep going at the sudoku...icon_smile.gif

Have a good day,

[Edited at 2007-09-18 08:50]


Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:45
Dutch to English
+ ...
Of course, some would argue ... Sep 18, 2007

... that you'd have to be batty to do this job in the first placeicon_smile.gif

Interesting link though, thanks Gillian


Maria Amorim (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:45
Swedish to Portuguese
+ ...
Nice article Sep 18, 2007

I have also got this information and I really hope it is true. Should you update this matter (here) in 2027?

Best regards, Maria


Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Dutch to German
+ ...
Nice, but... Sep 18, 2007

where are my car keys?icon_wink.gif


Angeliki Papadopoulou  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:45
English to Greek
+ ...
Wolfgang, you don't need to worry... Sep 18, 2007

Wolfgang Jörissen wrote:

where are my car keys?icon_wink.gif

...if you forget where your keys are; start worrying when you can no longer remember what they are FOR!



sylvie malich
Local time: 23:45
German to English
Hey wait a minute!! Sep 18, 2007

This study only proves that in Canada 52 middle-class educated people from India aged 38 to 88 who speak English and Tamil are "mentally sharp."

I've always been a statistics sceptic.


[Edited at 2007-09-18 16:15]


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 15:45
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
A very flawed study Sep 18, 2007

I agree with you Sylvie. My professor used to say, "If the statistics say that 85 % of people X, then always think of the 15% who don't X."

Not only is the study statistically unconvincing (the sample is too small and limited to one country/language combination) but think of all the potential confounding factors.

Hopeful news is nice but it has to have a sound foundation.


Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:45
German to English
+ ...
Reassuring! Sep 18, 2007

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:

Some would you argue that you'd have to be batty to do this job in the first placeicon_smile.gif

Yes, I have been accused of that on occasion, as I know other peers have.

I guess we live in a little world of our own. But it's a fascinating world and one than keeps me engrossed all the time.

I don't know whether the the research is definitive (and thanks for the post Gillian), but my plan is to keep on trucking, shout in both languages and exercise those grey cells. Maybe cut down to a few less clients at 65 and increase the diet of olive oil, tomatoes and red wine?

Do we want to do coffee mornings and golf, or do we want to do words?icon_wink.gif



Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
It might be the contrary as well... Sep 19, 2007

...It may be that being sharper makes you bilingual and not the contrary...

It is like the story of the egg and the hen, what came first?

Plus, it might also be that the Tamil-speaking persons had a better diet than the rest of the sample (I read for instance that certain spices can prevent brain ageing, like for instance curcumine, which is widely used in India).

And unfortunately, I have examples in my family of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, and both subjects were very well educated (MA), reading all the time and having a mediterranean diet (Italy), plus one of them was an English teacher.icon_frown.gif


[Modificato alle 2007-09-19 04:22]

[Modificato alle 2007-09-19 04:22]

[Modificato alle 2007-09-19 04:23]


Local time: 07:45
Italian to English
Reading helps too Sep 24, 2007

Reading helps too in keeping the brain "young and healthy". I keep telling my Italian students this...they notoriously do not read with respect to the British and the Americans....but most of them just refuse to open up a book...only sports magazines for them.



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