ArticleLiterature Review

Aging in Two Languages: Implications for Public Health

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... As Antoniou et al. (2013) have reported based on extensive studies on animal models, involvement in a complex environment can influence dendritic complexity and the generation of new neurons. This can enhance cognitive function and promote the ability to compensate for impairment (Albert, 2007;Billings, Green, McGaugh, & LaFerla, 2007). For example, the benefits of environmental enrichment have been found in aged mice with AD (Arendash et al., 2004) and Billings et al. (2007) have also demonstrated a delay in the onset of neuropathology in middle-aged mice through spatial training. ...
... This can enhance cognitive function and promote the ability to compensate for impairment (Albert, 2007;Billings, Green, McGaugh, & LaFerla, 2007). For example, the benefits of environmental enrichment have been found in aged mice with AD (Arendash et al., 2004) and Billings et al. (2007) have also demonstrated a delay in the onset of neuropathology in middle-aged mice through spatial training. ...
... For example, a 4-year (Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016), and more recently, 5-year (de Leon et al., 2020) delay of AD onset has been found in early bilinguals, compared to monolinguals. Some other cerebral benefits of bilingualism including enhancement of gray matter (GM) density (Della Rosa et al., 2013;Sutherland et al., 2012), increased white matter (WM) integrity (Golestani, Paus, & Zatorre, 2002) and thicker cortex have been found in bilinguals . ...
... Essas investigações sofisticadas sobre idade e cognição mostraram vantagens para crianças bilíngues em relação às funções cognitivas, reportando evidências relacionadas às várias funções, tais como: memória, atenção, linguagem e percepção BIALYSTOK et al., 2016;ZELAZO, 2004;MARTIN-RHEE;BIALYSTOK, 2008;CARLSON;MELTZOFF, 2008). Entretanto, a área que mostrou resultados mais interessantes foi a que relaciona bilinguismo e funções executivas, e é dela que tratarei nesta seção. ...
... Tais estudos, assim como os conduzidos por Bialystok e seu grupo de pesquisa, têm mostrado que crianças bilíngues apresentam melhor desempenho do que crianças monolíngues em tarefas que requerem o controle da atenção para inibir informações distratoras, porque há uma necessidade de controlar a competição entre as línguas que estão ativas no cérebro (BIALYSTOK et al., 2016;MAR-TIN-RHEE;BIALYSTOK, 2008). Segundo esses autores, as funções executivas, sobretudo os processos envolvidos na atenção seletiva e na inibição, são extensivamente praticadas pelos bilíngues no momento em que eles selecionam a língua a ser utilizada. ...
... É fato que o grau e o tipo de controle inibitório em que os bilíngues demonstram tais vantagens diferem de estudo para estudo, dependendo da tarefa e das características dos sujeitos envolvidos nas testagens. Também é fato que as maiores evidências positivas foram reportadas em estudos com crianças (BIALYSTOK, 2010; MARTIN--RHEE; BIALYSTOK, 2008) e idosos (BIALYSTOK et al., 2016), o que parece coerente, visto que são épocas de vida em que as funções executivas impactam mais, porque na primeira está começando seu desenvolvimento, e na segunda, seu declínio. Por outro lado, sabemos também que algumas pesquisas com jovens adultos não mostraram evidências significativas para bilíngues (BIALYSTOK et al., 2016), trazendo questionamentos e dúvidas sobre as pesquisas na área de bilinguismo e cognição até então. ...
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As pesquisas contemporâneas relacionadas à área de bilinguismo e cognição têm sido conduzidas a partir de duas grandes descobertas. A primeira, relacionada ao processamento da linguagem, sugere que os bilíngues ativam informações sobre ambas as línguas mesmo quando usam apenas uma delas. A segunda, relativa ao processamento cognitivo, mostra que bilíngues parecem ter benefícios no desenvolvimento cognitivo devido ao desempenho diferenciado em tarefas que requerem ignorar fatores de distração e manter o foco, trocar de perspectiva e resolver conflitos (KROLL & BIALYSTOK, 2013). Este capítulo traz um breve panorama dos estudos relacionados a bilinguismo e cognição, focando os conceitos de funções executivas e discutindo as implicações, na sala de aula, para o aluno que possui dois sistemas linguísticos, processando as informações e construindo seu conhecimento por meio de suas línguas. BIALYSTOK, 2013).
... 3 Ao passar pela formalização da aquisição da escrita, a criança levanta hipóteses, comete "erros" desenvolvimentais e apresenta uma série de características comuns a essa fase, mas que resultarão inevitavelmente em sua alfabetização. Se ela estiver exposta a duas línguas, o mesmo ocorrerá, com o acréscimo dessas características na outra língua, mais os ganhos cognitivos indiscutíveis, comprovados por estudos (BIALYSTOK, 2009(BIALYSTOK, , 2016MEISEL, 2019). É a ideia de que aquisição da escrita simultânea é danosa para a criança que padece de estudos comprobatórios e se firma como mito. ...
... Essas investigações sofisticadas sobre idade e cognição mostraram vantagens para crianças bilíngues em relação às funções cognitivas, reportando evidências relacionadas às várias funções, tais como: memória, atenção, linguagem e percepção BIALYSTOK et al., 2016;ZELAZO, 2004;MARTIN-RHEE;BIALYSTOK, 2008;CARLSON;MELTZOFF, 2008). Entretanto, a área que mostrou resultados mais interessantes foi a que relaciona bilinguismo e funções executivas, e é dela que tratarei nesta seção. ...
... Tais estudos, assim como os conduzidos por Bialystok e seu grupo de pesquisa, têm mostrado que crianças bilíngues apresentam melhor desempenho do que crianças monolíngues em tarefas que requerem o controle da atenção para inibir informações distratoras, porque há uma necessidade de controlar a competição entre as línguas que estão ativas no cérebro (BIALYSTOK et al., 2016;MAR-TIN-RHEE;BIALYSTOK, 2008). Segundo esses autores, as funções executivas, sobretudo os processos envolvidos na atenção seletiva e na inibição, são extensivamente praticadas pelos bilíngues no momento em que eles selecionam a língua a ser utilizada. ...
Book
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A publicação tem como objetivo minimizar as lacunas na literatura brasileira em relação a temática da educação bilíngue, possibilitando o acesso às pesquisas, leituras, reflexões e experiências vividas por pesquisadores brasileiros no âmbito escolar bilíngue no Brasil. O livro Desafios e práticas na Educação Bilíngue, organizado por Antonieta Megale, traz temas sobre planejamento escolar e organização curricular, formação de professores e envolvimento das famílias no processo de ensino-aprendizagem, além de aspectos da prática pedagógica e da cognição bilíngue.
... Thirty-four of those satisfied the inclusion criteria of our study and were, thus, eligible for inclusion in this review. Of the 34 studies, 25 were original studies [13, and 9 were review studies [53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61]. Ten studies investigated the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive decline in healthy individuals. ...
... Ten studies investigated the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive decline in healthy individuals. As can be seen in Table 1b, we found eight original studies [29,32,34,36,44,48,50,51] (Table 1a) and two review studies [53,54]. In total, 4946 bilingual subjects and 4524 monolingual subjects participated in the studies on the relationship between bilingualism and cognitive decline. ...
... *Please note that in order not to count one study twice, we decided to list the review study by Bialystok and colleagues [53] here. As can be seen in Figure 2, with respect to the total number of original studies, in 52.00% (n = 13) of these studies evidence was found in favor of a cognitive reserve-enhancing effect of bilingualism, in 12.00% (n = 3) partial evidence was found, and in 36.00% ...
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A systematic review was conducted to investigate whether bilingualism has a protective effect against cognitive decline in aging and can protect against dementia. We searched the Medline, ScienceDirect, Scopus, and ERIC databases with a cutoff date of 31 March, 2019, thereby following the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) protocol. Our search resulted in 34 eligible studies. Mixed results were found with respect to the protective effect of bilingualism against cognitive decline. Several studies showed a protective effect whereas other studies failed to find it. Moreover, evidence for a delay of the onset of dementia of between 4 and 5.5 years in bilingual individuals compared to monolinguals was found in several studies, but not in all. Methodological differences in the setup of the studies seem to explain these mixed results. Lifelong bilingualism is a complex individual process, and many factors seem to influence this and need to be further investigated. This can be best achieved through large longitudinal studies with objective behavioral and neuroimaging measurements. In conclusion, although some evidence was found for a cognitive reserve-enhancing effect of lifelong bilingualism and protection against dementia, to date, no firm conclusions can be drawn.
... Bilingualism and cognitive efficiency during healthy aging As mentioned above, widespread evidence suggests that second language use promotes the maintenance of cognitive and neural efficiency during aging (e.g. Bialystok et al., 2004;Gold et al., 2013b;Abutalebi et al., 2015b;Bialystok et al., 2016;Del Maschio et al., 2018). An initial indication supporting the role of bilingualism as a booster of reserve stems from studies associating multiple language use to enhancements in executive control (EC) across the lifespan (for a review, see Bialystok, 2017), despite an ongoing debate questioning such benefits Duñabeitia et al., 2014;Gathercole et al., 2014;Paap et al., 2015). ...
... Indeed, there is now plenty of evidence reporting that older bilinguals do maintain better cognitive efficiency, outperforming their monolingual peers on a number of different cognitive measures not strictly limited to EC tasks (Bialystok et al., 2004(Bialystok et al., , 2008Gold et al., 2013b;Abutalebi et al., 2015b;Estanga et al., 2017;Del Maschio et al., 2018;Incera & McLennan, 2018;Rosselli et al., 2019;Zunini et al., 2019), but extending to executive-related memory recall tasks (Wodniecka et al., 2010;Ljundberg et al., 2013;Rosselli et al., 2019), semantic memory (Arce Rentería et al., 2019) and general intelligence (Bak et al., 2014). This evidence is usually put forward to explain why bilingualism could promote reserve (Perani & Abutalebi, 2015;Bialystok et al., 2016). ...
... Evidence supporting the role of bilingualism in fostering BR has indeed been reported both for young and for older adults. Several studies highlighted differences between bilinguals and monolinguals in gray and white matter density in areas involved in language/executive control and lexico-semantic processing (see Perani & Abutalebi, 2015;Bialystok et al., 2016), consistent with the aforementioned mechanisms underlying bilingual language processing, i.e., that language processing in bilinguals (unlike monolinguals) depends to a certain degree also on EC processes and engages more the lexico-semantic pathways. ...
Article
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There is an ongoing debate on potential neuroprotective effects of bilingualism against cognitive decline during healthy aging. In this paper, we consider the neural and cognitive mechanisms through which these protective effects may operate. We review the evidence suggesting that bilingualism can act as a booster of neuroplasticity and/or as a brain protection mechanism providing effective compensation. Our main aim is to better define the linkage between reserve and lifetime bilingual experience and their effects on the mind and brain. We first illustrate the concept of reserve and contextualize existing results of bilingualism research within the reserve framework. Then, we discuss how bilingualism-induced enhancements of certain cognitive functions may constitute the basis for the neural underpinnings of reserve, i.e., brain reserve (BR) and cognitive reserve (CR). Finally, we discuss how the interplay between BR and CR fostered by multiple language use can provide protection to the aging brain.
... For example, Bialystok, Craik, Klein & Viswanathan (2004) compared the performance of monolingual and bilingual middle-aged and older adults on the Simon task, and found smaller Simon effect costs for bilinguals in both age groups, as well as a greater bilingual advantage for older participants. Similarly, Bialystok, Craik, and Ryan (2006) found that adults in their 60s were slower than young adults in their 20s in performing a task designed to test executive control, more specifically response suppression, inhibitory control and task-switching, but the slowing down with age was less extreme in bilinguals than it was in monolinguals (see also a review by Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016). ...
... In many cases, the initial BA findings referred to above have been hard to replicate, and both methodological shortcomings and failure to take confounding factors into account have been mentioned. Furthermore, many have pointed to a possible publication bias at play: Journals tend to prefer to publish positive results, so that studies reporting non-results are less likely to be published.The findings of a delay of the onset of symptoms of dementia in bilinguals mentioned above (e.g.Bialystok et al. 2016;Alladi et al. 2013) have been criticised for being only retrospective, and the few existing prospective studies have failed to replicate the findings (see, for example,Mukadam, Sommerlad, & Livingston 2017). In a recent metaanalysis byLehtonen et al. (2018:1), which comprised 152 studies on the effect of bilingualism on executive functioning in adults, using a wide range of instruments, the authors concluded that: "[...] the available evidence does not provide systematic support for the widely held ...
Book
The aim of the present volume is to provide an authoritative overview of research on multilingualism and ageing. Multilingualism exists in all countries, partly for historical reasons, but currently also because large numbers of people are moving into different countries due to wars, conflicts, and more general trends of globalisation. Furthermore, the world's population is ageing, and therefore the number of elderly multilinguals is also increasing. Whereas ageing in itself should not be viewed as a problem, there are of course certain challenges involved for care provision in relation to increasingly older populations, particularly in terms of multilingualism. So far, there is limited research backing up endeavours for care and healthcare concerning multilingualism and ageing. Here we try to bring together research that addresses these issues. The authors are all part of Centre for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan at The University of Oslo, either as staff, or, as associated researchers. Multilingualism over the lifespan is the central topic of research within the centre, with among others a number of projects on healthy ageing, aphasia and dementia in early as well as late multilinguals. The present contribution brings together the expertise on this topic at the centre, and is a joint venture of members of staff from the centre and the editors. The volume provides an overview of psycholinguistic as well as sociolinguistic perspectives on multilingualism and ageing in concert; a take which is an explicit goal for the centre, and so far, rare in this field. The audience aimed at are students in graduate programs, researchers, practitioners and anyone who is interested in multilingualism and ageing.
... Ainda há a necessidade de se realizar mais pesquisas nesta área, mas, considerando que as evidências têm apontado para que a hipótese da reserva cognitiva decorrente do exercício do bilinguismo seja procedente, esta área de pesquisa possui relevantes implicações para a saúde pública. Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke e Kroll (2016) argumentam que os resultados que ligam o bilinguismo a um atraso no aparecimento dos sintomas de demência demonstram uma possibilidade: que o incentivo do bilinguismo e do multilinguismo através da educação e políticas públicas poderia evitar muitos casos de demência e gerar uma enorme economia, visto que cada vez mais se gasta com a saúde da população idosa. Mesmo considerando que o bilinguismo apenas atrasaria o aparecimento dos sintomas, em vez de, de fato, prevenir o surgimento da doença, é preciso considerar que muitos pacientes poderiam vir a falecer antes do agravamento da doença -gerando uma economia de recursos, uma redução no número de diagnósticos e uma vida mais saudável aos portadores de estágios iniciais demência, especialmente as supracitadas CCL e DA. ...
... Dadas estas críticas, os autores argumentam que o melhor desenho de pesquisa para se verificar de forma satisfatória a relação entre o bilinguismo e a demência seria a utilização de medidas comportamentais aliadas a medidas neurais, para que seja possível observar a relação entre a degeneração cerebral promovida pela demência e o exercício do bilinguismo em uma mesma análise. Tais pesquisas se fariam necessárias tanto por uma questão de saúde pública, como dito em Bialystok et al. (2016), quanto por uma questão de diagnóstico e de medidas neuropsicológicas, tal como dito em Anderson et al. (2017). Sobre a capacidade de memória de trabalho, as pesquisas apontam para vantagens bilíngues em contextos não-verbais e vantagens monolíngues em contextos verbais, porém há a necessidade da realização de mais pesquisas nesta área. ...
Article
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It is important to study the relation between bilingualism and cognition in elderly people because the cognitive reserve hypothesis has implications for the health of healthy elderly people, the ones with dementia and public health. Dr. Ellen Bialystok, main investigator of Lifespan, Cognition and Development Lab (York University, Canada) is one of the main researchers in this field and, because of her importance in the field, this research intended to review every data collection article related to the elderly that was published in a scientific journal by her in the years between 2012 and 2018, located in her lab's website. 13 articles that met the inclusion criteria were found, being them on different cognitive and neurophysiological aspects. The studies indicated significant neurophysiological differences between bilinguals and monolinguals and that there is evidence in favor of the cognitive reserve hypothesis in bilingual populations. Regarding working memory, a pattern was observed in which monolinguals showed advantage in verbal test based studies, while in non-verbal test based studies the bilinguals showed an advantage.
... Linguists claim that learning languages contributes to children's cognitive and metacognitive development and strengthens their linguistic abilities (Edelenbos & Kubanek, 2009). Similarly, bilingualism has been associated with improved executive function (Bialystok, 2015), and with advancement of additional language learning processes (Bialystok et al., 2016). In this regard, bilingual children are claimed to be better language learners, although this claim is difficult to validate due to vast diversity among bilingual language learners and the sociocultural factors involved in bilingualism (Bialystok et al., 2016). ...
... Similarly, bilingualism has been associated with improved executive function (Bialystok, 2015), and with advancement of additional language learning processes (Bialystok et al., 2016). In this regard, bilingual children are claimed to be better language learners, although this claim is difficult to validate due to vast diversity among bilingual language learners and the sociocultural factors involved in bilingualism (Bialystok et al., 2016). Indeed, from sociocultural and economic perspectives, knowledge of foreign languages is seen as a real asset. ...
Article
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English, the global lingua franca, enjoys a growing status worldwide. The high status of English is also linked to the increasing interest in teaching English to young learners (EYL), and is reciprocally linked to complex political, cultural and social forces. Research on the advantages of learning English at a young age is controversial and inconclusive, but despite uncertainties it seems that EYL will continue to be a growing trend. This study aimed to understand the forces that drive the EYL phenomenon and focuses on the analysis of parent’s discourse from a critical discursive sociocultural perspective. Findings illuminate the subtle, powerful ways in which parents’ discourse leads to the growing of EYL in Israel. Parents’ overenthusiasm to promote English in schools stems from their perceptions about the high value of English, global aspirations and their belief in the popular axiom ‘the younger the better’. Findings further suggest that decisions about EYL and its teaching are not necessarily based on professionals or academics but rather exist within the powers of the community, with parents being a dominant force.
... 114,122 Existing studies suggest two neural mechanisms, "neural reserve" and "neural compensation," by which cognitive reserve protects the brain against cognitive aging or AD pathology. [123][124][125] Neural reserve implies that specific brain regions or networks are resistant to the impact of neurodegeneration (consistent with MRI studies in bilingualism), 126 and neural compensation refers to alternative brain regions or networks recruited to compensate for degenerated brain regions in older adults 114 (in correspondence with FC studies in bilingualism). 32 It is proposed that cognitive reserve is more associated with the neural reserve in younger adults but neural compensation in older adults. ...
... Factors related to the methodology Inconsistencies in the research method and high variability in bilingualism findings have been a matter of debate in both behavioral and neuroimaging studies, 41,99,126,139 which make it difficult to compare the findings and make firm conclusions. For example, studies are different in terms of the age of classifying bilinguals into early (0, 3, 5, or 6 years) and late (6 or 12-15 years) bilinguals. ...
Article
The past decade marked the beginning of the use of resting‐state functional connectivity (RSFC) imaging in bilingualism studies. This paper intends to review the latest evidence of changes in RSFC in language and cognitive control networks in bilinguals during adulthood, aging, and early Alzheimer's disease, which can add to our understanding of brain functional reshaping in the context of second language (L2) acquisition. Because of high variability in bilingual experience, recent studies mostly focus on the role of the main aspects of bilingual experience (age of acquisition (AoA), language proficiency, and language usage) on intrinsic functional connectivity (FC). Existing evidence accounts for stronger FC in simultaneous rather than sequential bilinguals in language and control networks, and the modulation of the AoA impact by language proficiency and usage. Studies on older bilingual adults show stronger FC in language and frontoparietal networks and preserved FC in posterior brain regions, which can protect the brain against cognitive decline and neurodegenerative processes. Altered RSFC in language and control networks subsequent to L2 training programs also is associated with improved global cognition in older adults. This review ends with a brief discussion of potential confounding factors in bilingualism research and conclusions and suggestions for future research.
... However, it also holds relevance more broadly in the realm of understanding how the brain is able to acquire a skill, taking advantage of language learning being a very common task. Benefits of learning multiple languages have been discussed and debated at length (Bialystok, 2017;Antoniou, 2019), and recent reviews have discussed topics including general cognitive benefits, enhanced neuroplasticity, and protection against aging (Baum and Titone, 2014;Li et al., 2014;Bialystok et al., 2016;Grundy et al., 2017). While there are different theories on how these benefits develop and manifest themselves (Green and Abutalebi, 2013;Abutalebi and Green, 2016;Grundy et al., 2017), the aforementioned reviews detail the evidence that suggest benefits to acquiring multiple languages exist. ...
... the potential cognitive and brain advantages of learning multiple languages (Baum and Titone, 2014;Li et al., 2014;Bialystok et al., 2016;Grundy et al., 2017). VBM has been a common tool used in studies investigating the neuroanatomy of bilingualism, however, methodology has been quite variable and there is considerable heterogeneity across results. ...
Article
Full-text available
Bilingualism is of great interest to the neuroscience of language, and understanding the anatomical changes associated with second language learning help inform theories of bilingual advantage across the lifespan. While the literature on structural differences between bilinguals and monolinguals is robust, relatively few studies of gray matter (GM) have directly compared bilinguals with monolinguals in a whole-brain analysis. Overall, this and heterogeneity of study samples and methodology have led to a lack of clear anatomical support for major theories. Here, we engage in an activation likelihood estimate (ALE) meta-analysis of voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies of GM for cases that directly compare bilingual and monolingual subjects in a whole-brain analysis. The analysis (sixteen foci, from ten contrasts across eight studies) resulted in one cluster located primarily within the anterior lobe of the right cerebellum. However, when the one pediatric study was removed, the analysis revealed no consistent results across the studies included in this meta-analysis. This suggests that for VBM studies of bilingual and monolingual adults there is considerable heterogeneity of results that complicate the understanding of the bilingual brain. Future studies will need to include larger, more well-defined samples and interrogate more fine-grained anatomical features such as cortical thickness and surface area in order to more fully examine the anatomical changes associated with bilingualism across the lifespan.
... This particular fact has been proven by research on bilingualism, which reveals that people who learn a second language in their adulthood may prevent cognitive decline in later life by ∼4.5 years (cf. Bak et al., 2014;Bialystok et al., 2016). In addition, bilingualism represents a beneficial mental exercise for a large set of cognitive functions of the human brain (Bialystok et al., 2016). ...
... Bak et al., 2014;Bialystok et al., 2016). In addition, bilingualism represents a beneficial mental exercise for a large set of cognitive functions of the human brain (Bialystok et al., 2016). ...
Article
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The purpose of this review study is to explore the existing research focusing on the impact of foreign language learning among healthy seniors on their cognitive functions from the positive psychology perspective. The methods are based on a literature review of available sources found on the research topic in two acknowledged databases: Web of Science and Scopus. The search period was not limited by any time period since there are not many studies on this topic. Altogether seven original studies were detected. The findings of this review study thus reveal that foreign language learning (FLL) has a positive impact on the maintenance and/or enhancement of cognitive abilities irrespective of age. In addition, the FLL courses seem to offer new opportunities for healthy seniors in the area of socializing and integration into society, which consequently may positively affect their overall well-being. Furthermore, the research shows that it is partly through the stimulation of social well-being that the cognitive effects of FLL might be observed. Cognitive aspects of older age are to be further investigated, including the importance of learning a foreign language, as basically all research conducted proves at least some maintenance or even improvement of cognitive functions of older people when starting intensive language training.
... Wówczas włączanie do komunikacji drugiego języka odbywa się już na bazie pierwszego języka i przez ten język (z wykorzystaniem istniejącej już wiedzy językowej, społecznej i osiągniętego rozwoju funkcji poznawczych)(Wróblewska-Pawlak, 2013, s. 89-97; 2014, s. 239-250).3 Anderson, Mak, Keyvani Chahi, & Bialystok, 2018; Arabski, 1985, s. 64-65;Bialystok, 2015;2016;Bialystok & Barac, 2012;Bialystok, Craik, Green, & Gollan, 2009;Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016. ...
Article
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Early childhood bilingualism, natural bilingualism, and multilingualism, which occurs more often than ever before, are widely discussed in the secondary literature. Bilingualism entails acquiring a new identity and induces a change in linguistic thinking. This article contributes to the studies concerning the methods and strategies that are undertaken by such families that either raise or aim at raising a bilingual child; moreover, it puts forward a case study of a boy who is 2 years and 9 months old. In the introduction, the essential issues of raising a bilingual child are presented with a special emphasis put on the parents' attitude towards bilingual education and their conviction of its underlying benefits for the boy. The empirical part of this article focuses on language proficiency and communication competences, and their assessment.
... Investigators have increasingly recognized bilingualism, or the ability to use more than one language on a daily basis, as one of the most important modifiable risk factors for delaying the expression of clinical AD [2]. If symptoms of dementia could be postponed through promoting bilingualism, even for a few years, there could be major savings in both human costs and health economic considerations [3]. In fact, some, but not all studies, report a four-to-five year delay in onset of the clinical symptoms of dementia despite comparable neuropathology [4,5]. ...
Article
Background: Bilingualism is increasingly recognized as protective in persons at risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Objective: Compare MRI measured brain volumes in matched bilinguals versus monolinguals with AD. Methods: This IRB approved study analyzed T1 volumetric brain MRIs of patients with criteria-supported Probable AD. We identified 17 sequential bilinguals (any native language) with Probable AD, matched to 28 (62%) monolinguals on age and MMSE. Brain volumes were quantified with Neuroreader. Regional volumes as fraction of total intracranial volume (TIV) were compared between both groups, and Cohen's D effect sizes were calculated for statistically significant structures. Partial correlations between bilingualism and brain volumes adjusted for age, gender, and TIV. Results: Bilinguals had higher brain volumes in 37 structures. Statistical significance (p < 0.05) was observed in brainstem (t = 2.33, p = 0.02, Cohen's D = 0.71) and ventral diencephalon (t = 3.01, p = 0.004, Cohen's D = 0.91). Partial correlations showed statistical significance between bilingualism and larger volumes in brainstem (rp = 0 . 37, p = 0.01), thalamus (rp = 0.31, p = 0.04), ventral diencephalon (rp = 0.50, p = 0.001), and pallidum (rp = 0.38, p = 0.01). Bilingualism positively correlated with hippocampal volume, though not statistically significant (rp = 0.17, p = 0.26). No brain volumes were larger in monolinguals. Conclusion: Bilinguals demonstrated larger thalamic, ventral diencephalon, and brainstem volumes compared to matched monolinguals with AD. This may represent a neural substrate for increased cognitive reserve in bilingualism. Future studies should extrapolate this finding into cognitively normal persons at risk for AD.
... Second, all the tasks had reliabilities that were as good as or even better than those found in previous research (for a comparison of the reliability estimates in previous research, see Table 8 in Rey-Mermet et al., 2018, p. 15); as such, the tasks provided reliable measures of the participants' performance. Third, although we tested young adults who are often argued to be susceptible to ceiling effects in cognitive performance (Bialystok, 2017;Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016;Bialystok, Martin, & Viswanathan, 2005), there was a considerable variability in the performance of response-inhibition tasks (for similar findings see Samuel et al., 2018). Therefore, the limited common variance as represented by the response-inhibition factor cannot be attributed to the restricted variance in the individual response-inhibition measures. ...
Article
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Given prior studies that provided inconsistent results, there is an ongoing debate on the issue of whether bilingualism benefits cognitive control. We tested the Adaptive Control Hypothesis, according to which only the intense use of different languages in the same situation without mixing them in single utterances (called dual-language context) confers a bilingual advantage in response inhibition. In a large-scale correlational study, we attempted to circumvent several pitfalls of previous research on the bilingual advantage by testing a relatively large sample of participants and employing a more reliable and valid measurement of constructs (i.e., latent variable approach accompanied by Bayesian estimation). Our results do not support the Adaptive Control Hypothesis' prediction: the intensity of the dual-language context experience was unrelated to the efficiency of response inhibition in bilinguals. The results suggest that the Adaptive Control Hypothesis is not likely to account for the inconsistent results regarding the bilingual advantage hypothesis, at least in the case of the response-inhibition mechanism. At the same time, the study points to the problem of measuring the response-inhibition construct at the behavioral level. No evidence for a robust response-inhibition construct adds to the growing skepticism on this issue in the literature.
... In bilinguals, some studies have found lower performance on some languagebased neuropsychological tests relative to monolinguals (Gasquoine & Gonzalez, 2012), such as confrontation naming (e.g., Gollan, Fennema-Notestine, Montoya, & Jernigan, 2007), and higher performance on measures of attention, particularly inhibitory control (Rivera Mindt et al., 2008). Bilingualism is a possible protective factor in onset of dementia diagnosis (Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016), although these findings have been inconsistent (Zahodne, Schofield, Farrell, Stern, & Manly, 2014) and may be moderated by education level (Estanga et al., 2017;Gollan, Salmon, Montoya, & Galasko, 2011). Determination of the most appropriate language for neuropsychological assessment can be complex, particularly in the context of bilinguals with comparable proficiency in both languages, and bilingual individuals may be best assessed through a combination of languages (Judd et al., 2009;Rivera Mindt et al., 2008). ...
Article
Objective: Latinx populations are rapidly growing and aging in the United States. There is a critical need to accurately and efficiently detect those at risk for dementia, particularly those with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI diagnosis often relies on neuropsychological assessment, although cultural, demographic, and linguistic characteristics may impact test scores. This study provides a scoping review of neuropsychological studies on MCI in Hispanic/Latinx populations to evaluate how studies report and account for these factors in diagnosis of MCI. Method: Studies were identified using Web of Science, PubMed, and Scopus, using search terms (Hispanic* OR Latin* OR "Mexican American*" OR "Puerto Ric*" OR Caribbean) and ("Mild Cognitive Impairment" OR MCI). Studies using neuropsychological tests in diagnosis of MCI for Latinx individuals in the United States were identified. Sample characterization (e.g., country of origin, literacy, language preference and proficiency), neuropsychological testing methods (e.g., test selection and translation, normative data source), and method of MCI diagnosis were reviewed. Results: Forty-four articles met inclusion criteria. There was considerable variability in reporting of demographic, cultural and linguistic factors across studies of MCI in Latinx individuals. For example, only 5% of studies reported nativity status, 52% reported information on language preference and use, and 34% reported the method and/or source of test translation and adaptation. Conclusions: Future studies of diagnosis of MCI in Latinx individuals should report cultural details and use of appropriate neuropsychological assessment tools and normative data. This is important to accurately estimate the prevalence of MCI in Latinx individuals. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
... If so, a greater implication would be that bilingualism constitutes a more intensive mental gym for cognitive control regions than previously assumed. Broadly, this could be relevant for understanding cognitive reserve (Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016;Perani & Abutalebi, 2015), if bilingualism entails a greater need for cognitive control than monolingualism (an assertion that is disputed; Lehtonen et al., 2018;Paap et al., 2017;Antón, Carreiras, & Duñabeitia, 2019;Antón, Fernández García, Carreiras, Duñabeitia, 2016). Setting this debate aside, while silent reading seems to be a relatively passive task, only a handful of language switches on function words distributed across processing of an entire paragraph was sufficient to elicit significant activation of cognitive control regions of the brain. ...
Article
When switching languages, bilinguals recruit a language control network that overlaps with brain regions known to support general cognitive control, but it is unclear whether these same regions are recruited in passive comprehension of language switches. Using fMRI with a blocked design, 24 Spanish-English bilinguals silently read 36 paragraphs in which the default language was Spanish or English, and that had either (1) no switches, (2) function word switches or (3) content word switches. Relative to no switches, function switches activated the right IFG, bilateral MFG, and left IPL/SMG. In contrast, switching on content words produced limited neural switching costs observed only in the left IFG. Switching into the dominant language was more costly in the right SMG than switching into the nondominant language, and neural switching costs were correlated with switching costs in the dominant language in cued picture-naming. Seemingly passive reading comprehension involves brain regions known to support cognitive control in active switching during production, possibly reflecting the operation of a modality-general switch mechanism.
... se=.04). Discusión Debido a la prevalencia mundial del bilingüismo, los costos y beneficios de este fenómeno se han convertido en un área de estudio de las ciencias cognitivas (Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016). Por ello, el objetivo de este trabajo fue indagar la relación entre memoria y emoción en personas ml y bl. ...
Article
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La memoria emocional alude al efecto que poseen las emociones sobre la formación de recuerdos. En personas que utilizan un segundo idioma, este efecto presenta resultados controversiales. El objetivo de este trabajo fue indagar la relación entre memoria y emoción en sujetos monolingües (ML) y bilingües (BL) español-inglés a través de una tarea de valoración emocional y dos tareas de memoria. Participaron 49 sujetos quienes codificaron una lista de palabras en español (ML y BL) o en inglés (BL) indicando valencia y arousal para cada una. Inmediatamente y siete días después, se evaluó recuerdo libre y reconocimiento. Para aquellos sujetos que codificaron los estímulos en español (ML y BL) las palabras fueron calificadas con una mayor carga emocional que para aquellos participantes que las codificaron en inglés (BL). Además, el grupo ML presentó mayor cantidad de intrusiones que ambos grupos BL. Existirían factores particulares en el procesamiento de la información emocional que modularían el recuerdo emocional en BL y ML.
... Research has shown that foreign language learning is an important activity in later age because it may boost the cognitive reserve of seniors [6], as well as preserve lifelong brain plasticity [7], which has been also evidenced by studies on bilingualism. The findings from the studies on bilingualism claim that cognitive decline in healthy bilingual elderly may be delayed by several years [8,9]. ...
Article
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The aim of this article is to discuss the effect of learning a non-native language on the enhancement of cognitive performance in healthy native Czech elderly. In addition, special emphasis is put on the qualitative assessment. To do this, 42 Czech cognitively unimpaired seniors were enrolled into the study. These were then divided into an experimental group (i.e., 20 healthy elderly studied English as a non-native language for three months) and a passive control group (22 healthy elderly, who did not undergo any non-native language intervention). The main outcome measures included the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, statistical processing of the data, and a qualitative content analysis. The results indicate that the cognitive performance of the intervention group did not differ from the control group. Therefore, no cognitive enhancement through non-native language learning was achieved. However, the findings of the qualitative analysis show that such non-native language learning with the peers of the same age is especially beneficial for the overall well-being of healthy seniors, especially as far as their social networks are concerned. Furthermore, participant’s subjective feelings from their self-reports indicate that foreign language learning also contributes to acquiring new English words and phrases. However, as there are very few empirical studies on this research topic, further research is needed in order to confirm or refute the present research findings on the enhancement of cognitive performance through non-native language learning in healthy seniors.
... A growing body of research is emerging regarding the potential positive effects that bilingualism and language learning may have on old-age disorders [66,155]. These studies have typically focused on building up cognitive reserve across the lifespan in order to stave off clinical symptoms of dementia [60][61][62][63][64]. ...
Article
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Late-life depression (LLD) affects about an eighth of community-dwelling seniors. LLD impacts well-being, with loneliness and small social networks being typical. It has also been linked to cognitive dysfunction and an increased risk of developing dementia. Safety and efficacy of pharmacological treatments for LLD have been debated, and cognitive dysfunction often persists even after remission. Various cognitive interventions have been proposed for LLD. Among these, one has received special attention: foreign language learning could serve as a social intervention that simultaneously targets brain structures affected in LLD. Lifelong bilingualism may significantly delay the onset of cognitive impairment symptoms by boosting cognitive reserve. Even late-life foreign language learning without lifelong bilingualism can train cognitive flexibility. It is then counterintuitive that the effects of language learning on LLD have never been examined. In order to create a theoretical basis for further interdisciplinary research, this paper presents a status quo of current work through two meta-analyses investigating cognitive functioning in LLD on the one hand and in senior bilinguals or seniors following a language course on the other hand. While LLD was consistently associated with cognitive dysfunction, inconsistent results were found for bilingualism and language learners. Possible reasons for this and suggestions for future research are subsequently discussed.
... More to the point, further research results showed that early bilingualism is associated with better results for planning and decision-making skills by bilingual children compared to monolingual peers (Bialystok, Craik, Green, & Gollan, 2009). These cognitive benefits of early bilingualism extend across the life span (Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016). In addition, the same topic was investigated in a Korean-English context with 56 four-year-olds and it was found that bilingual children had a more operational network of executive controls for conflict resolution, better speed in attention processing and problem-than monolingual children (Yang, Yang, & Yang, 2011). ...
Article
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Abstract: Expectations of the globalized society and changes in family dynamics have a significant impact on children’s development as supported by the Ecological Systems Theory. Parents have become more interested in raising their children as bilinguals as it has become an inescapable trend, particularly in certain regions of the world. Children of the Gulf are also affected by this bilingualism movement. Therefore, this study attempts to understand the bilingual children of the Gulf in the case of Oman by addressing three major research questions: (1) “why and how bilingualism is being promoted by parents”, (2) “how bilingualism is impacting on the intergenerational relationships in the Gulf family”, and (3) “how bilingualism is impacting Gulf children's everyday lives”. Participants were ten parents whose children were enrolled at a bilingual education program at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU). The data was collected through interviews and the case study approach was deployed in data analysis. Findings were revealed about why and how parents promote bilingualism, to what extent the bilingualism impact on the intergenerational relations, and the effects of bilingualism on children’s everyday lives. Implications and recommendations for policy, practice, and research are offered. Keywords: bilingual education; early childhood bilingualism; early childhood education; language development; intergenerational relations.
... Dewaele and van Oudenhoven 2009;Dewaele 2012), which is an important complement to the rich ongoing research on the cognitive consequences of FL proficiency (cf. Valian 2015;Bialystok et al. 2016). Second, it enhances our understanding of the psychological profiles of bilinguals in China, where the number of FL-knowing Chinese already reached 416 million in 2000 (Wei and Su 2012), but the Chinese context remains 'under-investigated' (Wei andHu 2019, 1209). ...
Article
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Psychological variables remain a much under-investigated sub-category of individual differences (IDs) compared with cognitive ones. The present paper aims to gain a better understanding of the psychological effects of bilingualism by investigating national identity (NI), a socio-psychological construct, based on big data, that has rarely been examined. Drawing upon the 2015 Chinese Social Survey (CSS), which utilised a nationally representative sample (N = 10242), we employed a 'more refined' version of hierarchical regression analysis on the influence of foreign-language (FL)-based bilingualism and other sociobiographical variables on NI. Out of the 18 initial independent variables, satisfaction with life (1.7%-2.2%) and age (1.2%-1.4%) emerged as important predictors for NI as their minimum effect size value (ΔR 2 , see the range in brackets) exceeded the 'typical' benchmark (1%); in contrast, the influence respectively from FL mastery (.006%-.040%) and FL use (.000%-.004%) was negligible. In other words, our key finding is that a person's FL-based bilingualism had little to do with his/her NI. Implications for China's plan to reform FL (e.g. English) learning are discussed, and future research directions are also proposed.
... Such a conclusion is in line with a study by Alladi et al. (2016), who found that post-stroke, cognitive functions remain intact considerably more often in bilinguals than in monolinguals (with the exception of aphasia). Thus, our findings support the broad thesis that bilingualism, as well as intensive new/second language learning, may protect one from the development of some post-stroke cognitive impairments (Alladi et al., 2016) and in ageing healthy elderly people may, for example, delay the onset of dementia symptoms (Bak, Long, Vega-Mendoza, & Sorace, 2016;Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016). In sum, our findings shed new light not only on the functional organization of the bilingual brain, but also on general mechanisms of brain plasticity and emphasize even more the potential of non-native language learning for brain health and neurorehabilitation. ...
Article
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The impact of bilingualism on lateralized brain functions such as praxis – the control of skilled actions – and language representations themselves, particularly in the auditory domain, is still largely unknown. Recent studies suggest that bilingualism affects both basic (fundamental frequency) sound and action-related speech processing. Whether it can impact non-verbal action sound processing is a question of debate. Here we examined twenty bilinguals using a dichotic listening paradigm, in which in addition to repeating the just heard action words, participants named – in Polish or English – one of two simultaneously presented tool sounds from attended ears. The results were compared with data from these same participants tested with reading the same words in a visual-half field paradigm. In contrast to typical outcomes from monolinguals, the laterality indices of action-related sound processing (verbal and non-verbal) were not left lateralized but hemispherically balanced. Notably, despite similar organization of tool- and action-word sound processing, their auditory (balanced) and visual-language (left-lateralized) representations might be independent because there were no significant correlations between any of their laterality indices. This indicates that bilingualism might involve reshuffling/reorganization of typically lateralized brain functions and such plasticity will have consequences for second language learning strategies, as well as for neurorehabilitation.
... Rather, it is a highly individual experience, relating to social contexts in which the languages are used, but that especially in older adulthood also interacts with personality traits and well being levels [14]. Indeed, differences in bilingual experiences in relation to (social) variables are especially prominent at an advanced age [15] and, most compellingly, have been linked to clear demonstrations of differences in brain structure. In older adulthood, lifelong bilinguals show greater white matter integrity in certain brain areas and stronger anterior to posterior functional connectivity [16]. ...
Article
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Bilingualism has been put forward as a life experience that, similar to musical training or being physically active, may boost cognitive performance and slow down age-related cognitive decline. In more recent years, bilingualism has come to be acknowledged not as a trait but as a highly individual experience where the context of use strongly modulates any cognitive effect that ensues from it (cf. van den Noort et al., 2019). In addition, modulating factors have been shown to interact in intricate ways (Pot, Keijzer and de Bot, 2018). Adding to the complexity is the fact that control processes linked to bilingualism are bidirectional—just as language control can influence cognitive control, individual differences in cognitive functioning often predict language learning outcomes and control. Indeed, Hartsuiker (2015) posited the need for a better understanding of cognitive control, language control as well as the transfer process between them. In this paper, we aim to shed light on the bidirectional and individual cognitive, social and linguistic factors in relation to bilingualism and second language learning, with a special focus on older adulthood: (1) we first show the intricate clustering of modulating individual factors as deterministic of cognitive outcomes of bilingual experiences at the older end of the lifespan; (2) we then present a meta-study of work in the emergent field of third-age language learning, the results of which are related to lifelong bilingualism; (3) objectives (1) and (2) are then combined to result in a blueprint for future work relating cognitive and social individual differences to bilingual linguistic outcomes and vice versa in the context of third-age language learning.
... One path toward resolving these questions lies in studies of older adults rather than young adults, since young adults tend to perform at ceiling on many executive function tasks, yet many studies continue to use convenience samples of young adults. Addressing these questions may also impact public health, since advantages may include cognitive reserve, neural reserve, and/or a delay in the onset of dementia (e.g., Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016). These two strands complement Singleton and Pfenninger's (2019) research agenda, which addresses age in broader terms (not only older adults) and multilingual classrooms in which students already know more than one language. ...
Article
Calls to diversify second language acquisition (SLA) (e.g., Ortega, 2013) have led to increased interest in multilingualism and inclusion of groups less represented in samples of university students, such as individuals at older ages. Nevertheless, we still have more questions than we do answers. This article outlines a research agenda targeting older adult language learning and multilinguals at older ages, both in and beyond the classroom. Since a key difference between young and older adults is cognitive aging, I follow a cognitive approach, focusing on how individual differences in cognition may affect language and vice versa, and how relevant sociocultural factors add to the interplay between language and cognition. Notably, this is not always a story of decline and deficits, but instead of both strengths and weaknesses that differ from those of young adults.
... Lifelong bilingualism has been shown to confer executive control benefits for older adults, allowing bilinguals on average to outperform monolingual peers (Bialystok et al. 2016). Although positive effects for bilinguals compared to monolinguals are less likely to be found in young adults (e.g., Paap and Greenburg 2013;Paap and Sawi 2014;von Bastian, Souza and Gade 2016), research with children has produced both positive and null results (e.g., Dick et al 2019; Duñabeitia et al. 2014; see Leivada et al. 2020 for a review on the "phantom-like" effects of bilingualism). ...
Article
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Previous studies have reported bilingualism to be a proxy of cognitive reserve (CR) based on evidence that bilinguals express dementia symptoms ~ 4 years later than monolinguals yet present with greater neuropathology at time of diagnosis when clinical levels are similar. The current study provides new evidence supporting bilingualism’s contribution to CR using a novel brain health matching paradigm. Forty cognitively normal bilinguals with diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance images recruited from the community were matched with monolinguals drawn from a pool of 165 individuals in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) database. White matter integrity was determined for all participants using fractional anisotropy, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity scores. Propensity scores were obtained using white matter measures, sex, age, and education as predictive covariates, and then used in one-to-one matching between language groups, creating a matched sample of 32 participants per group. Matched monolinguals had poorer clinical diagnoses than that predicted by chance from a theoretical null distribution, and poorer cognitive performances than matched bilinguals as measured by scores on the MMSE. The findings provide support for the interpretation that bilingualism acts as a proxy of CR such that monolinguals have poorer clinical and cognitive outcomes than bilinguals for similar levels of white matter integrity even before clinical symptoms appear.
... On the one hand, it has been well-documented that bi/multilinguals make up a significant portion of the population, and multilingualism has become an international fact of life (Grosjean 2010), which means that we are dealing with increasing numbers of multilingual children with a variety of different cultural backgrounds in our schools (Meijer et al. 2003). On the other hand, the profile of second language (L2) skill development that has been obtained for monolingual early and late starters of an L2 may be different in crucial respects from that of children who are developing two languages in childhood and establishing basic cognitive competencies through the mediation of two languages (for a recent review see Bialystok et al. 2016). Bilinguals are often regarded as particularly talented language learners, and research has corroborated the belief that the more languages you know the easier it is to learn an additional language (e.g. ) -although the opposite has also been found, i.e. a whole body of evidence questioning the notion of a general bilingual advantage has emerged recently (see e.g. ...
Book
This book deals with the phenomenon of third language (L3) acquisition. As a research field, L3 acquisition is established as a branch of multilingualism that is concerned with how multilinguals learn additional languages and the role their multilingual background plays in the process of language learning. The volume points out some current directions in this particular research area with a number of studies that reveal the complexity of multilingual language learning and its typical variation and dynamics.
... Further case studies, surveys and interviews (Swain & Lapkin, 2011;Lenet et al., 2011;Ware et al., 2017) compared young adults with older adults. The advantages of studying foreign languages in older adults from the point of view of 'cognitive reserve', as well as language learning strategies to attain both general language proficiency and literacy skills were researched by European and American authors (Antoniou et al., 2013;Bialystok et al., 2016). In the context of our research, we consider that it is important to focus on socio-affective aspects of English language competence formation in the third age: its influence on changes in lifestyle, learning motives, well-being, self-esteem, general communicative skills and identification of a person in a third age (Pfenninger & Polz, 2018). ...
... In addition, bilinguals who frequently switch between languages in daily life may have better task-switching skills (e.g., Prior & Gollan, 2011). Furthermore, cognitive benefits of bilingualism have been linked to delays in the onset of diseases such as dementia and to less decline associated with healthy ageing, with possible implications for public health (Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016;Perani et al., 2017). This attractive idea termed "bilingual advantage" (e.g., Kroll & Bialystok, 2013) has been quickly adopted by the mass media publishing headlines and statements such as: "Bilingual adults have sharper brains" (Huffington Post, 2013); "Being bilingual really does boost brain power" (Dailymail.com, ...
Article
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The heated debate regarding bilingual cognitive advantages remains ongoing. While there are many studies supporting positive cognitive effects of bilingualism, recent meta-analyses have concluded that there is no consistent evidence for a ’bilingual advantage’. In this paper we focus on several theoretical concerns. First, we discuss changes in theoretical frameworks, which have led to the development of insufficiently clear theories and hypotheses that are difficult to falsify. Next, we discuss the development of looking at bilingual experiences and the need to better understand language control. Last, we argue that the move from behavioural studies to a focus on brain plasticity is not going to solve the debate on cognitive effects, especially not when brain changes are interpreted in the absence of behavioural differences. Clearer theories on both behavioural and neural effects of bilingualism are needed. However, to achieve this, a solid understanding of both bilingualism and executive functions is needed first.
... Finally, in our work with immigrant and refugee families, we draw on scholarship in bilingualism, second language acquisition and home language maintenance and loss. We identify the following principles from this literature: 1) young children's language and learning in a second language is facilitated if their first language is intact (Snow, Griffin, & Burns, 1998); 2) cognitive and linguistic skills transfer across languages (Cummins, 2013); 3) bilingualism offers cognitive and other benefits across the lifespan (Bialystok et al., 2016); and 4) intergenerational family communication is enhanced when children maintain their first or home language (Wong-Fillmore, 2000). Put simply, there are compelling reasons to work with immigrant and refugee families in family literacy programs in maintaining their home languages. ...
Article
The purpose of this article is to reflect on three decades of working in family literacy initiatives in diverse communities. We review the literature on children’s emergent early literacy development and family literacy and describe the conceptual framework, including socio-cultural theory, cultural models of learning and ethnotheories, culturally responsive pedagogy, and bilingualism and first or home language maintenance. We also describe the development and evolution of the various projects and their contexts after which we share some of the key things we learned from working with families and communities, including challenges. In conclusion, we highlight key insights garnered from this body of work for various stakeholders including teachers.
... Performance-based assessments have been recommended as best practices to assess degree of bilingualism in Latinos (Artiola i Fortuny et al., 1999;Ostrosky-Solis et al., 2007;Pontón, 2001), as compared to self-report of bilingualism. However, while performancebased tests have been positively associated with cognition (Bialystok, Craik, Green & Gollan, 2009;Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016), they are also positively associated with more years of education and higher SES (Suarez et al., 2020b). These findings may reflect how the effect of bilingualism on cognition may be an indirect measure of educational attainment and social class (Acevedo et al., 2007;Luo & Waite, 2005;Rosselli & Ardila, 2003;Saez, et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Objectives We investigated the impact of culturally relevant social, educational, and language factors on cognitive test performance among Spanish speakers living near the US–Mexico border. Methods Participants included 254 healthy native Spanish speakers from the Neuropsychological Norms for the US–Mexico Border Region in Spanish (NP-NUMBRS) project (Age: M = 37.3, SD = 10.4; Education: M = 10.7, SD = 4.3; 59% Female). A comprehensive neuropsychological battery was administered in Spanish. Individual test scaled scores and T -scores (based on region-specific norms adjusted for age, education, and sex) were averaged to create Global Mean Scaled and T -scores. Measures of culturally relevant factors included a self-reported indicator of educational quality/access (proportion of education in Spanish-speaking country, quality of school/classroom setting, stopped attending school to work), childhood socioeconomic environment (parental education, proportion of time living in Spanish-speaking country, childhood socioeconomic and health status, access to basic resources, work as a child), and Spanish/English language use and fluency. Results Several culturally relevant variables were significantly associated with unadjusted Global Scaled Scores in univariable analyses. When using demographically adjusted T -scores, fewer culturally relevant characteristics were significant. In multivariable analyses, being bilingual ( p = .04) and working as a child for one’s own benefit compared to not working as a child ( p = .006) were significantly associated with higher Global Mean T -score, accounting for 9% of variance. Conclusions Demographically adjusted normative data provide a useful tool for the identification of brain dysfunction, as these account for much of the variance of sociocultural factors on cognitive test performance. Yet, certain culturally relevant variables still contributed to cognitive test performance above and beyond basic demographics, warranting further investigation.
... Kim et al., 2019). Lifelong bilingualism has also been reported associated with preservation of white matter (Abutalebi et al., 2014;Abutalebi et al., 2015a;Abutalebi et al., 2015b;Luk et al., 2011;Olsen et al., 2015) and gray matter density (Abutalebi et al., 2014;Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke, & Kroll, 2016;Coggins et al., 2004;García-Pent on et al., 2014;Li, Legault, & Litcofsky, 2014;Luk et al., 2011;Olsen et al., 2015;Pliatsikas et al., 2020). Altogether, these changes contribute to the build-up of a brain reserve, conferring a higher resistance against the effects on aging and AD pathology on the brain, and of a cognitive reserve so that bilingual individuals are able to retain a similar degree of residual cognitive function, compared to monolingual individuals, in spite of presenting more severe and extended brain hypometabolism. ...
Article
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Lifelong bilingualism is associated with delayed dementia onset, suggesting a protective effect on the brain. Here, we aim to study the effects of lifelong bilingualism as a dichotomous and continuous phenomenon, on brain metabolism and connectivity in individuals with Alzheimer's dementia. Ninety-eight patients with Alzheimer's dementia (56 monolinguals; 42 bilinguals) from three centers entered the study. All underwent an [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (PET) imaging session. A language background questionnaire measured the level of language use for conversation and reading. Severity of brain hypometabolism and strength of connectivity of the major neurocognitive networks was compared across monolingual and bilingual individuals, and tested against the frequency of second language life-long usage. Age, years of education, and MMSE score were included in all above mentioned analyses as nuisance covariates. Cerebral hypometabolism was more severe in bilingual compared to monolingual patients; severity of hypometabolism positively correlated with the degree of second language use. The metabolic connectivity analyses showed increased connectivity in the executive, language, and anterior default mode networks in bilingual compared to monolingual patients. The change in neuronal connectivity was stronger in subjects with higher second language use. All effects were most pronounced in the left cerebral hemisphere. The neuroprotective effects of lifelong bilingualism act both against neurodegenerative processes and through the modulation of brain networks connectivity. These findings highlight the relevance of lifelong bilingualism in brain reserve and compensation, supporting bilingual education and social interventions aimed at usage, and maintenance of two or more languages, including dialects, especially crucial in the elderly people.
... It is revealed that short-term intensive language training has a positive effect on cognitive components such as attention network in a healthy older age population (Bak, Long, Vega-Mendoza & Sorace, 2016). Additionally, research in bilingualism and aging has revealed that cognitive decline is delayed in bilinguals compared to monolinguals with Alzheimer's disease (Bialystok, Abutalebi, Bak, Burke & Kroll, 2016;Bialystok, Craik & Freedman, 2010). In the case of interpreters, the professional interpreting experience can be seen as an adaptive control process in a highly demanding dual language context. ...
Article
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The adaptive control hypothesis predicts adaptation of control mechanisms as a response to intensive language use in bilinguals. The present study aims to investigate this hypothesis in two memory experiments with professional and student interpreters. In experiment 1, we compared a group of interpreting students to translation students using a reading span task to test working memory (WM) and a digit span task to test short-term memory (STM). In experiment 2, we added a group of professional interpreters and compared them with the participants in experiment 1. Training-related improvement was found for WM but not for STM, with no differences between both student groups. Professional interpreters with over 20 years of interpreting experience showed better performance than translation students but not than interpreting students both on WM and STM. The results are discussed in light of the framework of interpreting as a type of extreme bilingualism.
Article
Despite the large number of elderly bilinguals at risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia worldwide, significant questions remain about the relationship between speaking more than one language and later cognitive decline. Bilingualism may impact on cognitive and neural reserve, time of onset of dementia symptoms and neuropathology, and linguistic competency in dementia. This review indicates increased cognitive reserve from executive (monitoring, selecting, inhibiting) control of two languages and increased neural reserve involving left frontal and related areas for language control. Many, but not all, studies indicate a delay in dementia symptom onset but worse hippocampal and mesiotemporal atrophy among bilinguals versus monolinguals with AD. In contrast, bilinguals do worse on language measures, and bilinguals with AD or dementia have difficulty maintaining and monitoring their second language. Together, these studies suggest that early-acquired and proficient bilingualism increases reserve through frontal-predominant executive control, and these executive abilities compensate for early dementia symptoms, delaying their onset but not the neuropathology of their disease. Finally, as executive control decreases further with advancing dementia, there is increasing difficulty inhibiting the dominant first language and staying in the second language. These conclusions must be interpreted with caution, given the problems inherent in this type of research; however, they do recommend more work on the pre-dementia neuroprotective effects and the dementia-related language impairments of bilingualism.
Article
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Experimental data supporting the claim that bilingual speakers have superior cognitive control abilities are often questioned with respect to certain methodological limitations. One such limitation is the use of between-group design, potentially confounding bilingual status with other factors (e.g., socioeconomic status). Here, we used a homogeneous sample of 57 young adult Russian–English late unbalanced bilinguals who were administrated Attention Network Task (ANT) together with an L2 proficiency task. We tested the correlation of L2 vocabulary performance with conflict and alertness measures and overall reaction times in ANT performance. Overall, participants demonstrated better conflict resolution with the increase in their second language competence, with 8% of variance in conflict resolution explained by L2 proficiency. Our results support the notion of regular correspondence between bilingualism and cognitive control.
Poster
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Neurodegenerative diseases (NDDs), which are among the most important aging-related diseases, are typically characterized by neuronal damage and a progressive impairment in neurological function during aging. Few effective therapeutic targets for NDDs have been revealed; thus, an understanding of the pathogenesis of NDDs is important. Forkhead box O (FoxO) transcription factors have been implicated in the mechanisms regulating aging and longevity. The functions of FoxOs are regulated by diverse post-translational modifications (e.g., phosphorylation, acetylation, ubiquitination, methylation and glycosylation). FoxOs exert both detrimental and protective effects on NDDs. Therefore, an understanding of the precise function of FoxOs in NDDs will be helpful for developing appropriate treatment strategies. In this review, we first introduce the post-translational modifications of FoxOs. Next, the regulation of FoxO expression and post-translational modifications in the central nervous system (CNS) is described. Afterwards, we analyze and address the important roles of FoxOs in NDDs. Finally, novel potential directions of future FoxO research in NDDs are discussed. This review recapitulates essential facts and questions about the promise of FoxOs in treating NDDs, and it will likely be important for the design of further basic studies and to realize the potential for FoxOs as therapeutic targets in NDDs.
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Objective: To evaluate the effects of bilingualism on the emergence of Alzheimer's clinical syndrome. Background: Studies have proposed an increase in cognitive and neural reserve from the management and control of two languages, with a consequent delayed expression of dementia. Methods: In a clinic with a large immigrant population, we identified 253 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease (AD) with intermediate or high evidence of AD pathophysiological process. These patients were reviewed for demographic variables, native language (L1) other than English, ages of onset and presentation, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), digit spans, word fluencies, naming, and memory. Results: Among these patients, 74 (29.2%) were bilinguals with various L1s (Farsi, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Arabic, others). When compared to the 179 monolingual AD patients, those who were bilingual had significant delays in ages of onset and presentation of approximately 4 years (p = 0.003). These delays persisted despite bilinguals having worse MMSE scores on presentation. There were no significant group differences on other variables except for worse naming in English among bilinguals versus monolinguals. Caregiver/informants reported that 66 (89.2%) of the 74 bilingual AD patients had gradually regressed to the predominant use of their L1. Conclusions: In line with published reports worldwide, we found that bilingualism delays the expression of Alzheimer's clinical syndrome. We also found frequent reversion to the first learned language. These findings suggest that, among bilinguals, the availability of an L1 "back-up" either facilitates compensation or masks emergence of the early symptoms of dementia.
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Mounting evidence supports training-induced brain changes from extended musical practice that can translate into cognitive and neural reserve in advanced age with potential to reduce cognitive decline. We will review current evidence supporting structural and functional changes from music training in the neural networks common to music, skilled movements, and auditory processing. The literature comparing professional and amateur musicians with nonmusicians will be considered in terms of innate and training-induced changes with potential to enhance cognitive and neural functions. The impact of instrumental musical practice on general cognition will be discussed with respect to neural network changes stimulated by task-specific cognitive enrichment. There will be a primary focus on how the timing of musical engagement and the years of musical activity influence cognitive and neural reserve. This theoretical framework will be considered in the context of modifiable lifestyle factors that delay expression of brain pathology. Models of environmental enrichment that can enhance neuroplasticity through multisensory stimulation are critical for development of compensatory neural networks that allow for adaptation of age-related cognitive declines.
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This chapter provides a detailed analysis of different types of metaphors that have been used in academic discourse to explain how different languages coexist and interact in a bilingual’s brain. These metaphors can be mainly related to three source domains: war in the first half of the twentieth century, and later sports and business competition. These different source domains can be schematically reduced to the notion of contentious activities between two parties. The contention metaphor scheme is not only ubiquitous in discourse on the effects of bilingualism on cognition, but even constitutive for theories proposed to explain the bilingual advantage or disadvantage. In line with our everyday understanding of these activities, war has disastrous consequences for the people involved, while sports and business competition are associated with enhanced performance of competitors. Thus, the idea that being bilingual entails conflict and/or competition between languages is consistent throughout the entire investigation period, while it receives different interpretations at different moments in time, leading to either negative or positive evaluations.
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O fenômeno do bilinguismo é a premissa essencial da tradução. Este trabalho apresenta modelos cognitivos contemporâneos que explicam o acesso lexical de bilíngues e multilíngues para o reconhecimento de palavras escritas, a partir de experimentos com homógrafos interlinguais. São abordados os trabalhos sobre conflito entre duas ou mais línguas,e como seus achados convergem para a hipótese de acesso não-seletivo ao léxico, o que elucida o impacto do bilinguismo nos processos de leitura e tradução. Como objetivo secundário, e a partir de uma perspectiva neurocientífica, também descrevemos as mudanças no cérebro e nos processos mentais decorrentes à experiência do bilinguismo e do multilinguismo. Os estudos mostram vantagens nas funções executivas (atualização, inibição e flexibilidade mental) e mudanças estruturais e funcionais em circuitos, especialmente envolvendo os córtices pré-frontais bilateralmente. Estas mudanças têm sido apontadas como fatores importantes de proteção (reserva cognitiva e cerebral) frente a diferentes situações de perdaneural.
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This develops the topic of Ageing in better health. Here we return to the biology of ageing, that was first introduced in Chap. 1, but with a special emphasis on brain plasticity, a very important topic that is the focus of a fast-developing research program, and we also review psychological health in old age. Initially mentally healthy persons may be at risk of experiencing serious deterioration of their mental capacities as they age; therefore, we devote a section in this chapter to review mental pathologies in the elderly. Special emphasis is given to the analysis of the various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. From there we proceed to address those aspects of ageing that affect sexual behaviour. The challenges experienced by people with a disability (mental or physical) who are becoming older are also the topic of a section in this chapter. We conclude the chapter with a section devoted to older people who reach very advanced ages: the centenarians, semi-supercentenarians, and supercentenarians.
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The purpose of this study was to research the assumptions about the connection between bilingualism and results in the field of cognitive functioning. Research showing the advantage of bilingual individuals in comparison with monolinguals in cognitive functioning is often explained by the mechanisms that allow bilingual individuals to control and represent the two languages in the brain. Our study included children aged 9 to 11 years: a group of bilingual children who speak Slovene and Hungarian and a control group of monolingual, Slovene speaking children. We tested them with the following cognitive abilities tests: executive functions with TMT and Stroop test, working memory with digit span task forward and backward, verbal abilities with verbal fluency test and vocabulary. The data showed that, although verbal fluency was lower in bilingual group, bilingual children performed better on versions of Stroop task, which could indicate advantage in speed of processing and to lesser extent also in ability of handling conflicting information.
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We explored 19 Latinx children’s literacies in Spanish and translanguaging by asking, “What are Latinx children’s experiences and beliefs regarding Spanish and translanguaging reading and writing? How do tutorial staff and teacher candidates (TCs) help the youth to resist hegemonic and bracketing practices of English-only?” This study took place in a South Texas tutorial agency, where children voluntarily attended for after-school homework help. Data sources consisted of questionnaires, interviews, focus groups, hobby essays, and newsletter articles. Most children reported negative school-related language experiences and expressed dislike and unease regarding Spanish and translanguaging reading and writing, although they lived less than 10 miles from the Mexico border. However, two tutorial staff and 15 TCs provided counter narratives and modeled that Spanish and translanguaged (hybrid) reading and writing are neither wrong nor difficult. Schools’ accountability pressures and the U.S. socio-political milieu move language to the center (centripetal forces), while forces that resist normalization are centrifugal. Implications relate to how neighborhood educational centers, TCs, and classroom teachers can help subaltern youth to resist centripetal language forces.
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In bilingualism research, there is a rapidly growing interest towards potential neuroprotective mechanisms against age-related cognitive decline, supported by dual and multiple language use. In this brief review, we discuss existing evidence, which generally suggests that bilingualism may foster neuroplastic changes resulting in beneficial consequences for the brain both at the structural level and at the functional one during later stages of life. First, we outline the interplay between the neural function and the bilingual experience. We then propose how bilingual and multilingual experience may protect the mind and the brain from the age-related cognitive decline and its consequences. We continue by discussing the notions of cognitive and brain reserve and contextualize existing findings from bilingualism literature with regard to this newly proposed reserve framework. We highlight how bilingualism-induced neural and cognitive changes may pave the way for the development of the neural foundations of reserve: both at the neuroanatomical and at the cognitive levels. We conclude our review by proposing possible models of bilingualism-induced successful aging.
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This chapter provides an overview of the development of research on the effects of bilingualism on cognitive performance from the beginning of the twentieth century until today. It presents the different stances that research has taken toward bilingualism at different moments in time and in different countries.
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The study investigated how narratives are influenced by both autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and bilingualism. We analyzed the short narratives of school-age Quebec French-speaking children: bilinguals with and without ASD, and monolinguals with and without ASD. Children were given sets of three picture cards depicting a scenario, and were asked to sequence the cards and tell a story. We measured: (1) language production (number of utterances, total number of words), (2) macrostructure (appropriate sequencing of events, number of events mentioned, coherence), (3) microstructure (character introductions, maintenance of referential terms, use of grammatical gender, use of connectives), and (4) evaluative devices (both linguistic and non-linguistic), and mental state terms. With respect to language production, bilinguals produced more utterances than monolinguals, despite having marginally lower receptive vocabulary scores in French. With respect to macrostructure, typically-developing children provided more coherent narratives. No significant differences were found on microstructure or evaluative devices, but evaluative devices were infrequent for all groups. There were no decrements in the narratives of bilingual children relative to monolingual children, both with and without ASD; in fact we found an increased number of utterances in the narratives of bilinguals. The current findings suggest that bilingualism does not negatively affect narrative skills in children with ASD.
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The current study investigated the effects of bilingualism on the clinical manifestation of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a European sample of patients. We assessed all incoming AD patients in two university hospitals within a specified timeframe. Sixty-nine monolinguals and 65 bilinguals diagnosed with probable AD were compared for time of clinical AD manifestation and diagnosis. The influence of other potentially interacting variables was also examined. Results indicated a significant delay for bilinguals of 4.6 years in manifestation and 4.8 years in diagnosis. Our study therefore strengthens the claim that bilingualism contributes to cognitive reserve and postpones the symptoms of dementia.
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The use of two or more languages is common in most of the world. Yet, until recently, bilingualism was considered to be a complicating factor for language processing, cognition, and the brain. The past 20 years have witnessed an upsurge of research on bilingualism to examine language acquisition and processing, their cognitive and neural bases, and the consequences that bilingualism holds for cognition and the brain over the life span. Contrary to the view that bilingualism complicates the language system, this new research demonstrates that all of the languages that are known and used become part of the same language system. The interactions that arise when two languages are in play have consequences for the mind and the brain and, indeed, for language processing itself, but those consequences are not additive. Thus, bilingualism helps reveal the fundamental architecture and mechanisms of language processing that are otherwise hidden in monolingual speakers.
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A series of discoveries in the last two decades has changed the way we think about bilingualism and its implications for language and cognition. One is that both languages are always active. The parallel activation of the two languages is thought to give rise to competition that imposes demands on the bilingual to control the language not in use to achieve fluency in the target language. The second is that there are consequences of bilingualism that affect the native as well as the second language. The native language changes in response to second language use. The third is that the consequences of bilingualism are not limited to language but appear to reflect a reorganization of brain networks that hold implications for the ways in which bilinguals negotiate cognitive competition more generally. The focus of recent research on bilingualism has been to understand the relation between these discoveries and the implications they hold for language, cognition, and the brain across the lifespan.
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It is a timely issue to understand the impact of bilingualism upon brain structure in healthy aging and upon cognitive decline given evidence of its neuroprotective effects. Plastic changes induced by bilingualism were reported in young adults in the left inferior parietal lobule (LIPL) and its right counterpart (RIPL) (Mechelli et al., 2004). Moreover, both age of second language (L2) acquisition and L2 proficiency correlated with increased grey matter (GM) in the LIPL/RIPL. However it is unknown whether such findings replicate in older bilinguals. We examined this question in an aging bilingual population from Hong Kong. Results from our Voxel Based Morphometry study show that elderly bilinguals relative to a matched monolingual control group also have increased GM volumes in the inferior parietal lobules underlining the neuroprotective effect of bilingualism. However, unlike younger adults, age of L2 acquisition did not predict GM volumes. Instead, LIPL and RIPL appear differentially sensitive to the effects of L2 proficiency and L2 exposure with LIPL more sensitive to the former and RIPL more sensitive to the latter. Our data also intimate that such differences may be more prominent for speakers of languages that are linguistically closer such as in Cantonese-Mandarin bilinguals as compared to Cantonese-English bilinguals.
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Objective: To test the hypothesis that foreign language and music instruction in early life are associated with lower incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and slower rate of cognitive decline in old age. Method: At enrollment in a longitudinal cohort study, 964 older persons without cognitive impairment estimated years of foreign language and music instruction by age 18. Annually thereafter they completed clinical evaluations that included cognitive testing and clinical classification of MCI. Results: There were 264 persons with no foreign language instruction, 576 with 1-4 years, and 124 with > 4 years; 346 persons with no music instruction, 360 with 1-4 years, and 258 with > 4 years. During a mean of 5.8 years of observation, 396 participants (41.1%) developed MCI. In a proportional hazards model adjusted for age, sex, and education, higher levels (> 4 years) of foreign language (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.687, 95% confidence interval [CI] [0.482, 0.961]) and music (HR = 0.708, 95% CI [0.539, 0.930]) instruction by the age of 18 were each associated with reduced risk of MCI. The association persisted after adjustment for other early life indicators of an enriched cognitive environment, and it was stronger for nonamnestic than amnestic MCI. Both foreign language and music instruction were associated with higher initial level of cognitive function, but neither instruction measure was associated with cognitive decline. Conclusions: Higher levels of foreign language and music instruction during childhood and adolescence are associated in old age with lower risk of developing MCI but not with rate of cognitive decline.
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ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests that education protects from dementia by enhancing cognitive reserve. However, this may be influenced by several socio-demographic factors. Rising numbers of dementia in India, high levels of illiteracy and heterogeneity in socio-demographic factors provide an opportunity to explore this relationship. OBJECTIVE: To study the association between education and age at dementia onset, in relation to socio-demographic factors. METHODS: Association between age at dementia onset and literacy was studied in relationship to potential confounding factors such as gender, bilingualism, place of dwelling, occupation, vascular risk factors, stroke, family history of dementia and dementia subtypes. RESULTS: Case records of 648 dementia patients diagnosed in a specialist clinic in a University hospital in Hyderabad, India were examined. All patients were prospectively enrolled as part of an ongoing longitudinal project that aims to evaluate dementia subjects with detailed clinical, etiological, imaging, and follow-up studies. Of the 648 patients, 98 (15.1%) were illiterate. More than half of illiterate skilled workers were engaged in crafts and skilled agriculture unlike literates who were in trade or clerical jobs. Mean age at onset in illiterates was 60.1 years and in literates 64.5 years (p=0.0002). Factors independently associated with age at dementia onset were bilingualism, rural dwelling and stroke, but not education. CONCLUSION: Our study demonstrates that in India, rural dwelling, bilingualism, stroke and occupation modify the relationship between education and dementia.
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There is an emerging literature suggesting that speaking two or more languages may significantly delay the onset of dementia. Although the mechanisms are unknown, it has been suggested that these may involve cognitive reserve, a concept that has been associated with factors such as higher levels of education, occupational status, social networks, and physical exercise. In the case of bilingualism, cognitive reserve may involve reorganization and strengthening of neural networks that enhance executive control. We review evidence for protective effects of bilingualism from a multicultural perspective involving studies in Toronto and Montreal, Canada, and Hyderabad, India. Reports from Toronto and Hyderabad showed a significant effect of speaking two or more languages in delaying onset of Alzheimer's disease by up to 5 years, whereas the Montreal study showed a significant protective effect of speaking at least four languages and a protective effect of speaking at least two languages in immigrants. Although there were differences in results across studies, a common theme was the significant effect of language use history as one of the factors in determining the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, the Hyderabad study extended the findings to frontotemporal dementia and vascular dementia.
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Recent evidence suggests a positive impact of bilingualism on cognition, including later onset of dementia. However, monolinguals and bilinguals might have different baseline cognitive ability. We present the first study examining the effect of bilingualism on later-life cognition controlling for childhood intelligence. We studied 853 participants, first tested in 1947 (age = 11 years), and retested in 2008–2010. Bilinguals performed significantly better than predicted from their baseline cognitive abilities, with strongest effects on general intelligence and reading. Our results suggest a positive effect of bilingualism on later-life cognition, including in those who acquired their second language in adulthood. Ann Neurol 2014
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Objective: Clinic-based studies suggest that dementia is diagnosed at older ages in bilinguals compared with monolinguals. The current study sought to test this hypothesis in a large, prospective, community-based study of initially nondemented Hispanic immigrants living in a Spanish-speaking enclave of northern Manhattan. Method: Participants included 1,067 participants in the Washington/Hamilton Heights Inwood Columbia Aging Project (WHICAP) who were tested in Spanish and followed at 18-24 month intervals for up to 23 years. Spanish-English bilingualism was estimated via both self-report and an objective measure of English reading level. Multilevel models for change estimated the independent effects of bilingualism on cognitive decline in 4 domains: episodic memory, language, executive function, and speed. Over the course of the study, 282 participants developed dementia. Cox regression was used to estimate the independent effect of bilingualism on dementia conversion. Covariates included country of origin, gender, education, time spent in the United States, recruitment cohort, and age at enrollment. Results: Independent of the covariates, bilingualism was associated with better memory and executive function at baseline. However, bilingualism was not independently associated with rates of cognitive decline or dementia conversion. Results were similar whether bilingualism was measured via self-report or an objective test of reading level. Conclusions: This study does not support a protective effect of bilingualism on age-related cognitive decline or the development of dementia. In this sample of Hispanic immigrants, bilingualism is related to higher initial scores on cognitive tests and higher educational attainment and may not represent a unique source of cognitive reserve.
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Objective Investigate the protective effect of multilingualism on cognition in seniors. Methods As part of the MemoVie study conducted on 232 non-demented volunteers aged 65 and more, neurogeriatric and neuropsychological evaluations were performed. Participants were classified as presenting either cognitive impairment without dementia (CIND) or being free of any cognitive impairment (CIND-free). Language practices, socio-demographic data and lifestyle habits were recorded. In this retrospective nested case-control design, we used as proxies of multilingualism: number of languages practiced, age of acquisition and duration of practice, emphasizing the temporal pattern of acquisition, and the resulting practice of several languages sequentially or concomitantly during various periods of life. This special angle on the matter offered to our work a dimension particularly original and innovative. Results 44 subjects (19%) had CIND, the others were cognitively normal. All practiced from 2 to 7 languages. When compared with bilinguals, participants who practiced more than 2 languages presented a lower risk of CIND, after adjustment for education and age (odds ratio (OR) = 0.30, 95% confidence limits (95%CL) = [0.10–0.92]). Progressing from 2 to 3 languages, instead of staying bilingual, was associated with a 7-fold protection against CIND (OR = 0.14, 95%CL = [0.04–0.45], p = 0.0010). A one year delay to reach multilingualism (3 languages practiced being the threshold) multiplied the risk of CIND by 1.022 (OR = 1.022, 95%CL = [1.01–1.04], p = 0.0044). Also noteworthy, just as for multilingualism, an impact of cognitively stimulating activities on the occurrence of CIND was found as well (OR = 0.979, 95%CL = [0.961–0.998], p = 0.033). Conclusion The study did not show independence of multilingualism and CIND. Rather it seems to show a strong association toward a protection against CIND. Practicing multilingualism from early life on, and/or learning it at a fast pace is even more efficient. This protection might be related to the enhancement of cognitive reserve and brain plasticity, thereby preserving brain functions from alterations during aging.
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This chapter focuses on a set of attentional or executive control processes, all inhibitory, that operate in the service of an individual's goals to narrow and constrain the contents of consciousness to be goal relevant. An uncluttered or narrowly focused "working memory," rather than a large one, is the ideal processing system. The narrow focus maximizes the speed and accuracy of on-line processing because it reduces the likelihood of switching attention to goal-irrelevant representations. The work is similar to that of other investigations in its focus on executive processes as a critical source of working memory variation as well as variation in many cognitive domains. The emphasis on inhibitory processes may be the characteristic that most differentiates their work from others.
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Background: Our goal was to forecast the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease and evaluate the potential impact of interventions that delay disease onset or progression. Methods: A stochastic, multistate model was used in conjunction with United Nations worldwide population forecasts and data from epidemiological studies of the risks of Alzheimer’s disease. Results: In 2006, the worldwide prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease was 26.6 million. By 2050, the prevalence will quadruple, by which time 1 in 85 persons worldwide will be living with the disease. We estimate about 43% of prevalent cases need a high level of care, equivalent to that of a nursing home. If interventions could delay both disease onset and progression by a modest 1 year, there would be nearly 9.2 million fewer cases of the disease in 2050, with nearly the entire decline attributable to decreases in persons needing a high level of care. Conclusions: We face a looming global epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease as the world’s population ages. Modest advances in therapeutic and preventive strategies that lead to even small delays in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease can significantly reduce the global burden of this disease.
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Speech comprehension and production are governed by control processes. We explore their nature and dynamics in bilingual speakers with a focus on speech production. Prior research indicates that individuals increase cognitive control in order to achieve a desired goal. In the adaptive control hypothesis we propose a stronger hypothesis: Language control processes themselves adapt to the recurrent demands placed on them by the interactional context. Adapting a control process means changing a parameter or parameters about the way it works (its neural capacity or efficiency) or the way it works in concert, or in cascade, with other control processes (e.g., its connectedness). We distinguish eight control processes (goal maintenance, conflict monitoring, interference suppression, salient cue detection, selective response inhibition, task disengagement, task engagement, opportunistic planning). We consider the demands on these processes imposed by three interactional contexts (single language, dual language, and dense code-switching). We predict adaptive changes in the neural regions and circuits associated with specific control processes. A dual-language context, for example, is predicted to lead to the adaptation of a circuit mediating a cascade of control processes that circumvents a control dilemma. Effective test of the adaptive control hypothesis requires behavioural and neuroimaging work that assesses language control in a range of tasks within the same individual.
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Three studies compared bilinguals to monolinguals on 15 indicators of executive processing (EP). Most of the indicators compare a neutral or congruent baseline to a condition that should require EP. For each of the measures there was no main effect of group and a highly significant main effect of condition. The critical marker for a bilingual advantage, the Group×Condition interaction, was significant for only one indicator, but in a pattern indicative of a bilingual disadvantage. Tasks include antisaccade (Study 1), Simon (Studies 1-3), flanker (Study 3), and color-shape switching (Studies 1-3). The two groups performed identically on the Raven's Advanced Matrices test (Study 3). Analyses on the combined data selecting subsets that are precisely matched on parent's educational level or that include only highly fluent bilinguals reveal exactly the same pattern of results. A problem reconfirmed by the present study is that effects assumed to be indicators of a specific executive process in one task (e.g., inhibitory control in the flanker task) frequently do not predict individual differences in that same indicator on a related task (e.g., inhibitory control in the Simon task). The absence of consistent cross-task correlations undermines the interpretation that these are valid indicators of domain-general abilities. In a final discussion the underlying rationale for hypothesizing bilingual advantages in executive processing based on the special linguistic demands placed on bilinguals is interrogated.
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Recent behavioral data have shown that lifelong bilingualism can maintain youthful cognitive control abilities in aging. Here, we provide the first direct evidence of a neural basis for the bilingual cognitive control boost in aging. Two experiments were conducted, using a perceptual task-switching paradigm, including a total of 110 participants. In Experiment 1, older adult bilinguals showed better perceptual switching performance than their monolingual peers. In Experiment 2, younger and older adult monolinguals and bilinguals completed the same perceptual task-switching experiment while functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed. Typical age-related performance reductions and fMRI activation increases were observed. However, like younger adults, bilingual older adults outperformed their monolingual peers while displaying decreased activation in left lateral frontal cortex and cingulate cortex. Critically, this attenuation of age-related over-recruitment associated with bilingualism was directly correlated with better task-switching performance. In addition, the lower blood oxygenation level-dependent response in frontal regions accounted for 82% of the variance in the bilingual task-switching reaction time advantage. These results suggest that lifelong bilingualism offsets age-related declines in the neural efficiency for cognitive control processes.
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The regular use of two languages by bilingual individuals has been shown to have a broad impact on language and cognitive functioning. In this monograph, we consider four aspects of this influence. In the first section, we examine differences between mono-linguals and bilinguals in children's acquisition of language and adults' linguistic processing, particularly in terms of lexical retrieval. Children learning two languages from birth follow the same milestones for language acquisition as mono-linguals do (first words, first use of grammar) but may use different strategies for language acquisition, and they generally have a smaller vocabulary in each language than do monolin-gual children learning only a single language. Adult bilinguals typically take longer to retrieve individual words than monolin-guals do, and they generate fewer words when asked to satisfy a constraint such as category membership or initial letter. In the second section, we consider the impact of bilingualism on nonverbal cognitive processing in both children and adults. The primary effect in this case is the enhancement of executive control functions in bilinguals. On tasks that require inhibition of distract-ing information, switching between tasks, or holding information in mind while performing a task, bilinguals of all ages outperform comparable monolinguals. A plausible reason is that bilinguals recruit control processes to manage their ongoing linguistic per-formance and that these control processes become enhanced for other unrelated aspects of cognitive processing. Preliminary evi-dence also suggests that the executive control advantage may even mitigate cognitive decline in older age and contribute to cognitive reserve, which in turn may postpone Alzheimer's disease. In the third section, we describe the brain networks that are responsible for language processing in bilinguals and demon-strate their involvement in nonverbal executive control for bilinguals. We begin by reviewing neuroimaging research that identifies the networks used for various nonverbal executive control tasks in the literature. These networks are used as a ref-erence point to interpret the way in which bilinguals perform both verbal and nonverbal control tasks. The results show that bilinguals manage attention to their two language systems using the same networks that are used by monolinguals performing nonverbal tasks. In the fourth section, we discuss the special circumstances that surround the referral of bilingual children (e.g., language delays) and adults (e.g., stroke) for clinical intervention. These referrals are typically based on standardized assessments that use normative data from monolingual populations, such as vocabulary size and lexical retrieval. As we have seen, however, these measures are often different for bilinguals, both for children and adults. We discuss the implications of these linguistic differences for standardized test performance and clinical approaches. We conclude by considering some questions that have important public policy implications. What are the pros and cons of French or Spanish immersion educational programs, for example? Also, if bilingualism confers advantages in certain respects, how about three languages—do the benefits increase? In the healthcare field, how can current knowledge help in the treatment of bilingual aphasia patients following stroke? Given the recent increase in bilingualism as a research topic, answers to these and other related questions should be available in the near future.
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Decline in executive function has been noted in the prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and may presage more global cognitive declines. In this prospective longitudinal study, five measures of executive function were used to predict subsequent global cognitive decline in initially nondemented older adults. Of 71 participants, 15 demonstrated significant decline over a 1-year period on the Dementia Rating Scale (Mattis, 1988) and the remaining participants remained stable. In the year before decline, the decline group performed significantly worse than the no-decline group on two measures of executive function: the Color-Word Interference Test (CWIT; inhibition/switching condition) and Verbal Fluency (VF; switching condition). In contrast, decliners and non-decliners performed similarly on measures of spatial fluency (Design Fluency switching condition), spatial planning (Tower Test), and number-letter switching (Trail Making Test switching condition). Furthermore, the CWIT inhibition-switching measure significantly improved the prediction of decline and no-decline group classification beyond that of learning and memory measures. These findings suggest that some executive function measures requiring inhibition and switching provide predictive utility of subsequent global cognitive decline independent of episodic memory and may further facilitate early detection of dementia.
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Monitoring and controlling 2 language systems is fundamental to language use in bilinguals. Here, we reveal in a combined functional (event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging) and structural neuroimaging (voxel-based morphometry) study that dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a structure tightly bound to domain-general executive control functions, is a common locus for language control and resolving nonverbal conflict. We also show an experience-dependent effect in the same region: Bilinguals use this structure more efficiently than monolinguals to monitor nonlinguistic cognitive conflicts. They adapted better to conflicting situations showing less ACC activity while outperforming monolinguals. Importantly, for bilinguals, brain activity in the ACC, as well as behavioral measures, also correlated positively with local gray matter volume. These results suggest that early learning and lifelong practice of 2 languages exert a strong impact upon human neocortical development. The bilingual brain adapts better to resolve cognitive conflicts in domain-general cognitive tasks.
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Much of the research on delaying the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has focused on pharmacotherapy, but environmental factors have also been acknowledged to play a significant role. Bilingualism may be one factor contributing to 'cognitive reserve' (CR) and therefore to a delay in symptom onset. If bilingualism is protective, then the brains of bilinguals should show greater atrophy in relevant areas, since their enhanced CR enables them to function at a higher level than would be predicted from their level of disease. We analyzed a number of linear measurements of brain atrophy from the computed tomography (CT) scans of monolingual and bilingual patients diagnosed with probable AD who were matched on level of cognitive performance and years of education. Bilingual patients with AD exhibited substantially greater amounts of brain atrophy than monolingual patients in areas traditionally used to distinguish AD patients from healthy controls, specifically, the radial width of the temporal horn and the temporal horn ratio. Other measures of brain atrophy were comparable for the two groups. Bilingualism appears to contribute to increased CR, thereby delaying the onset of AD and requiring the presence of greater amounts of neuropathology before the disease is manifest.
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Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common neurodegenerative disorder. Worldwide prevalence of the disease is estimated at more than 24 million cases. With aging of populations, this number will likely increase to more than 80 million cases by the year 2040. The annual incidence worldwide is estimated at 4.6 million cases which is the equivalent of one new case every seven seconds! The pathophysiology of AD is complex and largely misunderstood. It is thought to start with the accumulation of beta-amyloid (αβ) that leads to deposition of insoluble neuritic or senile plaques. Secondary events in this "amyloid cascade" include hyperphosphorylation of the protein tau into neurofibrillary tangles, inflammation, oxidation, and excitotoxicity that eventually cause activation of apoptotis, cell death and neurotransmitter deficits. This review will briefly summarize recent advances in the pathophysiology of AD and focus on the pharmacological treatment of the cognitive and functional symptoms of AD. It will discuss the roles of vascular prevention, cholinesterase inhibitors and an NMDA-antagonist in the management of AD. It will address the issues thought to be related to the lack of persistence or discontinuation of therapy with cholinesterase inhibitors shown in recent studies and some of the solutions proposed. These include setting realistic expectations in light of a neurodegenerative condition and available symptomatic treatments, slowly titrating medications, and using alternate routes of administration. Finally, it will introduce future therapeutic options currently under study.
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01-02-02 The goal was to forecast the global burden of Alzheimer’s disease and evaluate the potential impact of interventions that delay disease onset or progression.
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Within the current debates on cognitive reserve, cognitive aging and dementia, showing increasingly a positive effect of mental, social and physical activities on health in older age, bilingualism remains one of the most controversial issues. Some reasons for it might be social or even ideological. However, one of the most important genuine problems facing bilingualism research is the high number of potential confounding variables. Bilingual communities often differ from monolingual ones in a range of genetic and environmental variables. In addition, within the same population, bilingual individuals could be different from the outset from those who remain monolingual. We discuss the most common confounding variables in the study of bilingualism, aging and dementia, such as group heterogeneity, migration, social factors, differences in general intelligence and the related issue of reverse causality. We describe different ways in which they can be minimized by the choice of the studied populations and the collected data. In this way, the emerging picture of the interaction between bilingualism and cognitive aging becomes more complex, but also more convincing.
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Background and purpose: Bilingualism has been associated with slower cognitive aging and a later onset of dementia. In this study, we aimed to determine whether bilingualism also influences cognitive outcome after stroke. Methods: We examined 608 patients with ischemic stroke from a large stroke registry and studied the role of bilingualism in predicting poststroke cognitive impairment in the absence of dementia. Results: A larger proportion of bilinguals had normal cognition compared with monolinguals (40.5% versus 19.6%; P<0.0001), whereas the reverse was noted in patients with cognitive impairment, including vascular dementia and vascular mild cognitive impairment (monolinguals 77.7% versus bilinguals 49.0%; P<0.0009). There were no differences in the frequency of aphasia (monolinguals 11.8% versus bilinguals 10.5%; P=0.354). Bilingualism was found to be an independent predictor of poststroke cognitive impairment. Conclusions: Our results suggest that bilingualism leads to a better cognitive outcome after stroke, possibly by enhancing cognitive reserve.
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Purpose of review: We discuss the role of bilingualism as a source of cognitive reserve and we propose the putative neural mechanisms through which lifelong bilingualism leads to a neural reserve that delays the onset of dementia. Recent findings: Recent findings highlight that the use of more than one language affects the human brain in terms of anatomo-structural changes. It is noteworthy that recent evidence from different places and cultures throughout the world points to a significant delay of dementia onset in bilingual/multilingual individuals. This delay has been reported not only for Alzheimer's dementia and its prodromal mild cognitive impairment phase, but also for other dementias such as vascular and fronto-temporal dementia, and was found to be independent of literacy, education and immigrant status. Summary: Lifelong bilingualism represents a powerful cognitive reserve delaying the onset of dementia by approximately 4 years. As to the causal mechanism, because speaking more than one language heavily relies upon executive control and attention, brain systems handling these functions are more developed in bilinguals resulting in increases of gray and white matter densities that may help protect from dementia onset. These neurocognitive benefits are even more prominent when second language proficiency and exposure are kept high throughout life.
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Objective. —Several cross-sectional studies have found an association between Alzheimer's disease (AD) and limited educational experience. It has been difficult to establish whether educational experience is a risk factor for AD because educational attainment can influence performance on diagnostic tests. This study was designed to determine whether limited educational level and occupational attainment are risk factors for incident dementia.Design. —Cohort incidence study.Setting. —General community.Participants. —A total of 593 nondemented individuals aged 60 years or older who were listed in a registry of individuals at risk for dementia in North Manhattan, NY, were identified and followed up.Interventions. —We reexamined subjects 1 to 4 years later with the identical standardized neurological and neuropsychological measures.Main Outcome Measure. —Incident dementia.Results. —We used Cox proportional hazards models, adjusting for age and gender, to estimate the relative risk (RR) of incident dementia associated with low educational and occupational attainment. Of the 593 subjects, 106 became demented; all but five of these met research criteria for AD. The risk of dementia was increased in subjects with either low education (RR, 2.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.33 to 3.06) or low lifetime occupational attainment (RR, 2.25; 95% CI, 1.32 to 3.84). Risk was greatest for subjects with both low education and low life-time occupational attainment (RR, 2.87; 95% CI, 1.32 to 3.84).Conclusions. —The data suggest that increased educational and occupational attainment may reduce the risk of incident AD, either by decreasing ease of clinical detection of AD or by imparting a reserve that delays the onset of clinical manifestations.(JAMA. 1994;271:1004-1010)
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Background: The effectiveness of the 5 U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved pharmacologic therapies for dementias in achieving clinically relevant improvements is unclear. Purpose: To review the evidence for the effectiveness of cholinesterase inhibitors (donepezil, galantamine, rivastigmine, and tacrine) and the neuropeptide-modifying agent memantine in achieving clinically relevant improvements, primarily in cognition, global function, behavior, and quality of life, for patients with dementia. Data Sources: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, PREMEDLINE, EMBASE, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database, CINAHL, AgeLine, and PsycINFO from January 1986 through November 2006. Study Selection: English-language randomized, controlled trials were included in the review if they evaluated pharmacologic agents for adults with a diagnosis of dementia, did not use a crossover design, and had a quality score of at least 3 on the Jadad scale. Data Extraction: Data were extracted on study characteristics and outcomes, including adverse events. Effect sizes were calculated and data were combined when appropriate. Data Synthesis: 96 publications representing 59 unique studies were eligible for this review. Both cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine had consistent effects in the domains of cognition and global assessment, but summary estimates showed small effect sizes. Outcomes in the domains of behavior and quality of life were evaluated less frequently and showed less consistent effects. Most studies were of short duration (6 months), which limited their ability to detect delay in onset or progression of dementia. Three studies directly compared different cholinesterase inhibitors and found no differences in cognition and behavior. Limitations: Limitations of available studies included short duration, inclusion of only patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease, poor reporting of adverse events, lack of clear definitions for statistical significance, limited evaluation of behavior and quality-of-life outcomes, and limited direct comparison of different treatments. Conclusions: Treatment of dementia with cholinesterase inhibitors and memantine can result in statistically significant but clinically marginal improvement in measures of cognition and global assessment of dementia.
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Cognitive complaints are common in the geriatric population. Older adults should routinely be asked about any concerns about their memory or thinking, and any cognitive complaint from the patient or an informant should be evaluated rather than be attributed to aging. Several screening instruments are available to document objective impairments and guide further evaluation. Management goals for patients with cognitive impairment are focused on maintaining function and independence, providing caregiver support, and advance care planning. There are currently no treatments to effectively prevent or treat dementia. Increasing appreciation of the heterogeneity of Alzheimer disease may lead to novel treatment approaches. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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We present a study examining cognitive functions in late non-balanced bilinguals with different levels of second language proficiency. We examined in two experiments a total of 193 mono- and bilingual university students. We assessed different aspects of attention (sustained, selective and attentional switching), verbal fluency (letter and category) as well as picture-word association as a measure of language proficiency. In Experiment 2 we also compared students in their first/initial (Y1) and fourth/final (Y4) year of either language or literature studies. There were no differences between both groups in category fluency. In selective attention, bilinguals outperformed monolinguals in Y1 and this difference remained significant in Y4 despite overall improvement in both groups. Contrasting results were found in attentional switching and letter fluency: while no differences were found in Y1 in both tasks, in Y4 there was an advantage for bilinguals in attentional switching and for monolinguals in letter fluency. We conclude that overall late-acquisition non-balanced bilinguals experience similar cognitive effects as their early-acquisition balanced counterparts. However, different cognitive effects may appear at different stages of adult second language acquisition. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.