Learn a language to delay dementia

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Learn a language to delay dementia

Nicholas Hellen

April 23 2017, 12:01am, The Sunday Times

Learning a second language can delay the onset of some kinds of dementia by six years, according to new research.

Even five hours a week of learning can build up a “cognitive reserve” counteracting the effects of brain disease and boosting function in all age groups.

Thomas Bak, a neuroscientist at Edinburgh University, found that people benefited by attempting a second language even if they were far from fluent.

It defers the onset of a type of frontotemporal dementia by six years, Alzheimer’s by 3.2 years and stroke-related dementia by 3.7 years. “Compared with anything that drugs can do, these are very long periods,” he said.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said: “We are told to eat five-a-day to keep our bodies healthy and now we know that spending five hours a week learning a language in later life helps to keep our brains healthy, too.”

Mary Hobson, 90, who learnt Russian aged 56 so she could read War and Peace in the original, has won awards for her translations. She said: “It has transformed my life.”

An interesting article. If you would like to learn a language locally check out our courses at www.modernlanguageschool.co.uk we teach Italian, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Japanese so plenty of choice!