From various points of view, being bilingual is an advantage, but an Italian study conducted by Daniela Perani (manager of the In Vivo Molecular and Structural Neuroimaging Unit of IRCCS San Raffaele) has pointed out that perfectly knowing two languages is effective protection against several diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
An analysis of the bilinguals in Italy – those of Alto Adige – revealed that bilingualism is an actual “cognitive reserve” that serves as a defence against the advancement of dementia. The cognitive control circuits of these people are stronger.
In fact, a bilingual is able to better compensate the neurodegenerative effects of Alzheimer’s. Cognitive impairment and dementia develop more slowly, despite the progress of the disease.
The study also pointed out that the more the two languages are used, the greater the effects at the cerebral level and the better performance are. So it is not only important to know two languages. It is even more important to use them actively and throughout one’s lifetime.
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