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Does Learning Another Language Make You Healthier?

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Scientists found a strong argument for learning another language – bilingual people have an “advantage” because they use less brain power to accomplish tasks, helping their brains to age better.

The study compared functional brain connections between monolingual and bilingual seniors and found brains of those who spoke two languages were more economical in how they processed information, utilizing fewer resources.

The study looked at performance of “interference control tasks” by the two groups. The tasks participants carried out involved concentrating on the color of objects while ignoring their positions. When focused on visual information (while ignoring spatial), brains of bilinguals used less circuitry. In contrast, monolingual brains engaged a number of brain regions to perform the given task, relying especially on brain areas located in the frontal lobe, which are responsible for visual and motor functions as well as interference control.

The Canadian researchers were led by Professor Ana Inés Ansaldo from the Université de Montréal.