Being Bilingual Can Sharpen Your Brain and Help you Avoid DementiaBy Audri Taylors, UniversityHerald Reporter
Understanding language is one of the most difficult things that your brain does, because language is complex and learning or speaking a foreign language is like giving your brain a good workout.
This is supported by a new study that suggests that bilingual people have stronger and more efficient brains compared to those who only speak one language. This is the reason why the brains of people who speak more than one language are better at buffering your brain against aging and dementia.
The researchers from the University of Montreal conducted a study to find the difference between the elderly people who are monolingual versus those who are bilingual, Daily Mail reported. They discovered that years of learning and speaking more than one language changes how the brain carries out tasks that require focus and concentration on a certain piece of information without being distracted.
This means that the monolingual brain requires multiple brain regions to perform a task while bilingual brains were more efficient.
In another study by the researchers from Northwestern University, in Illinois, and the University of Houston, it was found that bilingual speakers have brains that work better in filtering unnecessary words compared to monolinguals and it means that their brains work harder and more efficiently in completing the same mental tasks, Time reported.
The study used a so-called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at what's called coactivation and inhibition in the brain. Coactivation refers to the ability of a person to have both languages simultaneously active in the brain and inhibition means a person can select a correct language while listening to it or hearing more than one at a time.
This study made the researchers to come to a conclusion that indeed, being bilingual is a constant brain exercise.