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Knowing a Second Language Can Stave Off Dementia

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Learning a second language has a benefit that could make life much easier as you get older.

Dr. Thomas Bak, an expert of epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, found that people fluent in two languages seem to delay the onset of three kinds of dementia at least four years longer than those who only speak a single language.

By studying 648 people from India diagnosed with dementia, Bak learned that the majority of the 391 people who spoke two languages developed symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and other memory robbing-diseases later than people without the same skill.

Apparently, bilingualism improves reserve capacity in the brain that helps to stave off dementia.

Bak says that education really doesn’t factor into the equation because even illiterate people benefited from knowing two languages.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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