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01-15-2013, 03:17 AM
  #10
Fugu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danja View Post
I am very confused about this story. The NPR article contains a link to the actual study. The name of the study is "Lifelong Bilingualism Maintains Neural Efficiency for Cognitive Control in Aging". The article is probably behind a paywall but I have access because I'm a student... I searched the pdf and there is exactly one appearance of the word "Alzheimer": it's in the title of one of the papers that is cited. I skimmed through the text and found no mention of Alzheimer's or any other specific neurodegenerative disease. The article shows that old people who are bilingual perform better at a certain task than monolingual people.

There is absolutely no data shown about any of the molecular pathology of Alzheimer's. Nothing about Amyloid B plaques. Nothing about tau protein neurofibrillary bundles. Nothing even about soluble amyloid levels in the brain. I honestly don't see how NPR got Alzheimer's out of the article. Am I missing something?
From the cited article, and then another linked one therein:
Neuroscientists think that having more reserve brain power helps compensate for age-related declines in thinking and memory, and may help protect against the losses caused by Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012...entia-symptoms
It reviews the state of research on bilingual adults, and finds they maintain better executive functioning later in life than monolingual people. That extra "cognitive reserve" may allow the brain to better cope with the damage caused by dementia, thereby delaying symptoms. (Being physically and mentally active has also been shown to have cognitive benefits.) The article, also co-authored by Bialystock, is in the current issue of Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

The title could have been more accurate by saying cognitive reserve may help delay the onset of dementia, including Alzheimer's?

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