First they tell us turmeric in food is good for your health. Now they tell us speaking more than one language protects against senility. By the time they tell us oversized, gold-rimmed aviator glasses are better than Viagra, we’ll all have turned into our fathers:
… Researchers are finding that bilingualism — be it in French, Greek, Portuguese or Hindi — has lifelong benefits.
“Does bilingualism protect you from cognitive decline? Every study we’ve done suggests that it does,” Prof. Bialystok said… while both groups started showing cognitive decline by age 60, the rate of slowing for bilinguals was much slower…
Brain-imaging research released this week shows that the physical inability to silence mental noise is key in making the elderly prone to distraction and poor multitaskers… the elderly lose the ability to power up brain regions, such as the frontal lobe, needed to focus on a task, and to turn down activity in inner brain regions that are most active when a person is in idle or default mode.
In contrast, the brain images of people between ages 20 and 30 displayed a far more dramatic see-saw effect activating and de-activating regions as they shifted out of idle to task. The study found this pattern begins to dull in middle age and actually results in cognitive deficits beyond age 60. [Link]
A new study of 100 university undergraduates in Toronto has found that video gamers consistently outperform their non-playing peers in a series of tricky mental tests. If they also happened to be bilingual, they were unbeatable. [Link]
In 2000, a video game based on the Ramayana legend won Thailand’s national game software competition… The prize-winning game portrays several wars between King Rama and Ravana… Rama and Laksman must successfully manoeuvre through four rounds of fight in order to rescue Sita.
The Thai threesome turned to the epic Ramakien, as the Thai version is called, for its unmatched fighting scenes and more than fifty interesting human and semi-human characters… [Link]