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Study: Foreign Languages May Protect Memory

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- A new study suggests that speaking more than two languages over an entire lifespan may lower the risk of developing memory problems.

Researchers looked at 230 people with an average age of 73 years who had spoken or currently speak two to seven languages, and evaluated their thought processes by psychological evaluation. The authors – taking into account the participants’ age and education – discovered that people who spoke three or four languages during their lifetime or picked up a new language in their senior years were approximately three times less likely to develop memory problems than people who spoke two languages.

Authors of the study – conducted by Fonds National de la Recherché Luxembourg and presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology – concluded that practicing multiple languages over an entire lifespan can be as protective for memory as practicing languages as a senior.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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