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Association between multilingualism and cognitive performance among older adults in rural southern India

Menon, AJ and Malo, PK and Jain, S and Gandhi, S and Sundarakumar, JS and Rai, P and Issac, TG (2024) Association between multilingualism and cognitive performance among older adults in rural southern India. In: Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice, 15 (1). pp. 81-85.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.25259/JNRP_376_2023


Objectives: Recent studies have shown that multilingualism may play an important role in enhancing cognitive health. The process of language acquisition constitutes a form of natural brain training, which in turn is hypothesized to increase neuroplasticity and hence, maintains the cognitive reserve. The study aimed to analyze the relationship between the number of languages known to an individual and its effect on cognitive functioning in both healthy and cognitively impaired study participants. Materials and Methods: This study utilized cross-sectional (baseline) data from Srinivasapura Aging, Neuro Senescence and COGnition study, which is an ongoing community-based, longitudinal aging cohort study conducted in a rural setting in southern India. A total of 3725 participants were considered for the study. The participants were separated into two groups, namely, monolinguals (participants knowing one language) and multilingual (participants knowing more than one language). The cognitive performance of the participants was assessed using the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) Scale. In addition, bivariate analyses and binary logistic regression analyses were carried out. Results: The result of CDR scores with respect to language category shows that, among the monolingual participants, 86.5 were healthy individuals and 13.5 were with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Similarly, among the multilingual, 94.3 were healthy and 5.7 were with MCI. The odds ratio value derived from logistic regression (0.69 95 CI (0.5-0.9)) that an individual has a higher chance of developing cognitive impairment if he/she is a monolingual. Conclusion: This study highlights that knowing more than one language might have a profound positive impact on cognitive health, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing cognitive decline. © 2024 Published by Scientific Scholar on behalf of Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice
Publisher: Scientific Scholar LLC
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to authors.
Keywords: adult; aged; Article; clinical dementia rating scale; cognition; cognitive defect; cognitive rehabilitation; cognitive reserve; cohort analysis; cross-sectional study; drug dependence; female; hearing impairment; human; India; longitudinal study; male; mental disease; mental performance; mild cognitive impairment; multilingualism; nerve cell plasticity; visual impairment
Department/Centre: Autonomous Societies / Centres > Centre for Brain Research
Date Deposited: 15 May 2024 03:41
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 03:41
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/84475

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