It’s no surprise to anyone watching the news that it’s often sad or depressing.
Uplifting stories are often brief, almost an afterthought. If they appear at all.
Two very sad stories of persons with Alzheimers symptoms made the news yesterday. So sad that I started to look for uplifting stories or ideas…
And I came across a couple. First, Alzheimer’s disease is often described as “The Long Good-bye.” Maria Shriver has a different take. Her father R. Sargent Shriver had Alzheimer’s. She describes the disease as “The New Hello.”
What a gentle way to turn the painful goodbye into something positive!
Hey, with Alzheimer’s symptoms you take good news wherever you can find it!
There are studies in Toronto Canada showing that bilingual people have a delay in Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Apparently it’s seen in folks who regularly speak two languages fluently. Not just enough to read a menu.
Bilingual folks actually form a different nerve path in the brain. So they think differently, and use that pathway for non-language activities such as multitasking.
It’s only with the recent development of new imaging studies that learning about this phenomenon became possible.
So what happens in bilingual brains?
- There’s a rewiring of the nerves, forming a different pathway for fluency in two languages.
- Bilingual persons then can use these language nerve pathways or circuitry for doing thing that are non-language.
- When a bilingual person develops Alzheimer’s symptoms, there’s a delay of five or six years compared to folks who speak only one language. Apparently the person is able to cope because of an increase in their brain reserve.
So can we add bilingualism to increased physical activity such as walking, increased cognitive activity such as doing crossword puzzles or crafts, and increased socialization to possible opportunities to delay Alzheimer’s disease?
And maybe just maybe…
Find a cure or more effective treatment.
Although it took some digging, uplifting information about Alzheimer’s disease IS available 😉
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Claudia Dreifus. The Bilingual Advantage. The New York Times, May 30, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2011, from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/science/31conversation.html.
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