Being bilingual may offset effects of Alzheimer's, boost brain plasticity

Being bilingual could offset the effects of Alzheimer's disease and strengthen brain plasticity, according to a recent statement explaining new research from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.  

The study, published in the January issue of Nueropsychologia, is the first of its kind to use whole-brain MRI data and analysis techniques to measure cortical thickness and tissue density in areas of the brain responsible for memory function that are impacted by Alzheimer's.  

“Our new study contributes to the hypothesis that having two languages exercises specific brain regions and can increase cortical thickness and grey matter density and it extends these findings by demonstrating that these structural differences can be seen in the brains of multilingual AD and MCI patients.” said Natalie Phillips, PhD, a psychology professor at Concordia and founding director of university's Cognition, Aging and Psychophysiology (CAP) Lab.  

According to the issued statement, Phillips and her colleagues believe their research is the first to demonstrate the association between the mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's patients' language and cognition function. 

Read the entire statement below for more information and study findings: