Speaking 2 Languages Keeps Your Brain Sharp Later in Life

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Being bilingual comes with obvious benefits (watch our explainer video for examples), but a new study shows that bilingualism can actually keep your brain sharper later on in life, even if you pick up a second language as an adult.

The study, published this week in the Annals of Neurology, started all the way back in 1947 when a group of 11-year-old participants took an intelligence test. Decades later, when the participants were well into their 70s, they were retested for cognitive performance.


Those who spoke two languages performed better on general intelligence and memory tests, and had better verbal, reading and mental processing abilities than their monolingual peers.

“Our study is the first to examine whether learning a second language impacts cognitive performance later in life while controlling for childhood intelligence,” said author Dr. Thomas Bak, of the University of Edinburgh, in a press release. "Our study shows that bilingualism, even when acquired in adulthood, may benefit the aging brain.”


More good news? Don't worry about reaching "native-like perfection," the study says. Varying levels of language proficiency can still help slow the effects of aging in the brain. Fire up the Rosetta Stone and get cracking.

h/t CTV News

Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.