Learning a new language may slash your risk of dementia | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Learning a new language may slash your risk of dementia

27 August, 2023

Middle-aged people who take education classes have a 19 percent lower risk of dementia five years later, according to a new study.

It is well known that brainteasers, sudokus or even certain video games can help protect against the likes of Alzheimer’s.

But new research suggests learning a new language or skill could also be beneficial.

Researchers analysed data on 282,000 British volunteers who were between 40 and 69 years old, and followed them for seven years.

Participants were given an individual risk score for dementia based on their DNA and self-reported if they took any adult education classes.

Throughout the study they were given a battery of psychological and cognitive tests, for example reaction time and memory tests.

Over the course of the study 1.1 per cent developed dementia. Analysis revealed participants who were taking part in adult education classes at the start of the study had a 19 per cent lower risk of developing dementia than those who did not.

These people kept up their fluid intelligence – the ability to learn, assess and navigate new situations – and nonverbal reasoning, which is the ability to solve problems presented in diagram or picture form, better than those who did not take classes.

Dr Hikaru Takeuchi, the study’s first author from Tohoku University in Japan, said: ‘Here we show that people who take adult education classes have a lower risk of developing dementia five years later.’

His co-author, Dr Ryuta Kawashima, added: ‘One possibility is that engaging in intellectual activities has positive results on the nervous system, which in turn may prevent dementia.’

They called for further trials to prove any protective effect of adult education.Their findings were published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. -Daily Mail.uk