|Title of PI||Bilingualism as a protective factor in age-related neurodegenerative disorders|
- United Kingdom
Economic and Social Research Council
- Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
- Parkinson’s disease
- Neurodegenerative disease in general
Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, bilingual, parkinson’s disease
Various lifestyle factors are thought to reduce the risk of developing age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other dementias. Recent studies of people with AD suggest that people who are bilingual develop symptoms several years later than people who are monolingual. However previous studies have left open the possibility that this effect may be due to other differences between the two groups.
This study aims to establish whether this delayed onset effect is robust by comparing bilinguals and monolinguals drawn from a population which is otherwise similar in social and cultural terms. It is also important to understand why this delayed onset effect arises. In general people who are bilingual tend to outperform monolinguals in capacities such as planning or switching between different tasks. These capacities are called ‘executive functions’. Executive functions become impaired in age-related conditions such as AD and Parkinson’s Disease (PD).
This study aims to find out if people who are bilingual are more resilient in the face of impairments in executive functions when they develop these disorders. This will be done by comparing the performance of bilingual and monolingual healthy older people, people with AD, and people with PD on tests of executive function.
- Basic research