Invited Speaker: Toms Voits
Title: The Cognitive and Neurological Effects of Bilingualism on Healthy Ageing and Dementia: Study Design (August 21st, 10:30 am)
Recent evidence has shown that bilingualism is a factor that has an impact on one’s cognitive abilities and brain structure in older age: cognitive abilities are better preserved (Bialystok et al., 2012), brain structures maintain their integrity for longer (Luk et al., 2011), and it has been suggested that bilingual individuals experience clinical onset of dementia later in life than comparable monolinguals (Alladi et al., 2013). Bilingual patients also maintain better cognitive function at higher levels of brain atrophy than monolinguals, suggesting bilingualism is related to higher cognitive reserve (Schweizer et al., 2012). However, to date, there is no longitudinal evidence linking bilingualism to the progression of dementia.
In this talk we present the design of a currently ongoing cross-sectional and longitudinal project testing monolingual and bilingual groups of patients with an early diagnosis of dementia and comparing them to healthy age-matched monolingual and bilingual individuals. Pilotdata for the first cross-sectional comparisons will be presented. The study consists of two – behavioural and brain imaging (MRI) – components. The behavioural testing battery includes assessment of cognitive abilities tapping into various aspects of cognition, such as, memory, verbal fluency and executive function, along with a questionnaire on participants’ language history and use (Anderson et al., 2017). The MRI protocol consists of structural scanning sequences examining grey matter volume (MPRAGE), white matter integrity and connectivity (DTI), white matter hyperintensities (FLAIR), brain metabolism (MRS) and resting-state functional connectivity (EPI BOLD). Participants will be tested twice using the same testing batteries with approximately 18 months between the testing visits. It is predicted that bilingualism will result in a slower dementia-related cognitive and structural decline over time and that bilinguals will exhibit increased brain atrophy when compared to monolinguals of matched cognitive ability due to increased cognitive reserve.
This talk will be immediately followed by a talk entitled: Bilingualism is a Spectrum: Effects of specific language experiences on brain function and executive control.
When: PLEASE NOTE THERE WAS A DATE AND TIME CHANGE FOR THIS EVENT, the correct time is: August 21, 2018, 10:30 am
Where: room 1552, 15th floor, 2001 McGill-College
Anderson JA, Mak L, Keyvani Chahi AK, & Bialystok E (2017). The language and social background questionnaire: Assessing degree of bilingualism in a diverse population. Behavior Research Methods, 1-14.
Alladi S, Bak TH, Duggirala V, Surampudi B, Shailaja M, Shukla AK, … Kaul S (2013). Bilingualism delays age at onset of dementia, independent of education and immigration status. Neurology, 81(22), 1938–1944.
Bialystok E, Craik FIM & Luk G (2012). Bilingualism: consequences for mind and brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(4), 240–50.
Luk G, Bialystok E, Craik FIM & Grady CL (2011). Lifelong bilingualism maintains white matter integrity in older adults. The Journal of Neuroscience, 31(46), 16808–13.
Schweizer TA, Ware J, Fischer CE, Craik FIM & Bialystok E (2012). Bilingualism as a contributor to cognitive reserve: evidence from brain atrophy in Alzheimer’s disease. Cortex, 48(8), 991–6.