Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Bilingualism has lifelong benefits

10 January 2013, 08:50

Seniors who have spoken two languages since childhood are faster than single-language speakers at switching from one task to another, according to a study published in the issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Compared to their monolingual peers, lifelong bilinguals also show different patterns of brain activity when making the switch, the study found.

The findings suggest the value of regular stimulating mental activity across the lifetime.

As people age, cognitive flexibility -the ability to adapt to unfamiliar or unexpected circumstances - and related “executive” functions decline.

Recent studies suggest lifelong bilingualism may reduce this decline -a boost that may stem from the experience of constantly switching between languages.

However, how brain activity differs between older bilinguals and monolinguals was previously unclear.

How the study was done

In the current study, Brian T Gold, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare the brain activity of healthy bilingual seniors (ages 60-68) with that of healthy monolingual seniors as they completed a task that tested their cognitive flexibility.

The researchers found that both groups performed the task accurately.

However, bilingual seniors were faster at completing the task than their monolingual peers despite expending less energy in the frontal cortex -an area known to be involved in task switching.

“This study provides some of the first evidence of an association between a particular cognitively stimulating activity -in this case, speaking multiple languages on a daily basis - and brain function,” said John L. Woodard, PhD, an ageing expert from Wayne State University, who was not involved with the study.

“The authors provide clear evidence of a different pattern of neural functioning in bilingual versus monolingual individuals.”

Brain activity in younger people

The researchers also measured the brain activity of younger bilingual and monolingual adults while they performed the cognitive flexibility task.

Overall, the young adults were faster than the seniors at performing the task. Being bilingual did not affect task performance or brain activity in the young participants.

In contrast, older bilinguals performed the task faster than their monolingual peers and expended less energy in the frontal parts of their brain.

“This suggests that bilingual seniors use their brains more efficiently than monolingual seniors,” Gold said.

“Together, these results suggest that lifelong bilingualism may exert its strongest benefits on the functioning of frontal brain regions in ageing.”

(EurekAlert, January 2013)


What To Do If She Has A Boyfriend

20 October 2016, 16:35

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
S Mbinya
What To Do If She Has A Boyfriend

Here are tips to help you get a girl who has a boyfriend: Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
Kalonzo blasts DP Ruto for ‘grabb...

11 Kamba MPs declared their allegiance to Jubilee last month. Read more...

Submitted by
George Vodongo
President Uhuru Kenyatta pardons ...

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday released 7,000 petty offenders to create room in the prisons. Read more...

Submitted by
Ben Wangui
Why Mashujaa Day celebrations wer...

Find out why this year's Mashujaa Day celebrations were held in Machakos. Read more...

Submitted by
S Mbinya
Foods that burn belly fat fast

You can take your best foods and snacks and still be able to get rid of that pot belly. Read more...