Research led by Fergus Craik of the University of Toronto’s Baycrest Center do not claim any ability of second-language learning to actually prevent the disease, however. It is not the case that the ravages of Alzheimer’s or other dementias are absent from affected brains, but some cognitive reserve fostered by bilingualism seems to marshal compensatory mental abilities hold the symptoms at bay. These symptoms are the familiar memory loss, planning and problem solving difficulties, confusion and so on, and any mitigating of their manifestations is good tidings indeed. A five-year reprieve is a very significant benefit and a good motivator for learning another language.
Current research has not come up with Alzheimer’s medications. Behavioral factors, however, such as the acquisition of another language and its frequent use, and also regular exercise and a healthy diet, do exercise a positive effect.
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