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Bilinguals Do It Better: Speaking Both English & Spanish Slows Effects Of Aging, Studies Show

Culture & Community By Nena Lezama
Bilinguals Do It Better: Speaking Both English & Spanish Slows Effects Of Aging, Studies Show

Research shows that being bilingual actually slows the effects of aging.

Recent studies of English-Spanish speakers found that being bilingual protects against age-related cognitive decline and disease - and has other benefits as well...

A recent study conducted by the University of California, San Diego, observed elderly Spanish-English speakers and found that the more experience the participant had with bilingualism, the more resistant they were to Alzheimer's and dementia. 

Another study found that bilingual seniors 60-80 years old processed information and reacted more quickly than monolingual seniors of the same age. Turns out, speaking two (or more) languages is literally like a "workout" for your brain, keeping bilingual brains in better shape throughout childhood and long into adulthood, better and longer than monolingual brains.

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It seems that managing and operating two languages trains our brains to be more efficient in terms of focus, organization, attention, memory, and responses. And not only the elderly benefit, children being raised to speak two or more languages are also seeing the advantages of being bilingual or multilingual.

A study performed by the University of Strathclyde showed that bilingual and multilingual students outperformed their monolingual classmates on a variety of tasks including: attention, focus, and multitasking. One study showed that bilingual English-Spanish kindergarten children in America did better than their English monolingual peers when they had to choose one thing and ignore another- showing a strict discipline on focus.

Being bilingual pays off. Literally. Individuals who speak two or more languages can earn up 5 to 20 percent more than their monolingual colleagues. Speaking two languages, and if possible learning a new one, benefits not only our brains, but our careers as well.

Science confirms: bilinguals do it better.