Category Archives: Brain Facts

Early bilingualism develops sharper brain: Study

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A new research has demonstrated that adults who have been bilingual since childhood are granted with sharper brains and working more efficiently.

The study conducted by a team of researchers from the University Of Kentucky College Of Medicine revealed that those seniors with the ability of speaking two languages since they were children had better “cognitive flexibility” than the monolingual adults.

The team studied some 110 adults between ages 60 and 68 in two groups of monolingual and bilingual since childhood.

The participants were analyzed by brain imaging tests while they did a cognitive flexibility test, according to the study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

The researchers found that both the monolingual and bilingual participants were able to complete the task, however, the ones who were bilingual were able to do so more quickly.

The study also indicated that the frontal cortex brain regions of bilingual seniors used less energy compared with those ones in participants who were able to speak only one language.

“The results also suggest that lifelong bilingualism may exert its strongest benefits on the functioning of frontal brain regions in aging,” said the study researcher Dr. Brian T. Gold.

Meanwhile, an earlier research published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences suggested that being bilingual could actually help to protect the brain from age-related disease such as Alzheimer’s.

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What is the brain?

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The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, adult sea squirts and starfish do not have one, even if diffuse neural tissue is present. It is located in the head, usually close to the primary sensory organs for such senses as vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell. The brain of a vertebrate is the most complex organ of its body. In a typical human the cerebral cortex (the largest part) is estimated to contain 15–33 billion neurons, each connected by synapses to several thousand other neurons. These neurons communicate with one another by means of long protoplasmic fibers called axons, which carry trains of signal pulses called action potentials to distant parts of the brain or body targeting specific recipient cells.

 

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