This study investigate bilingualism & cognition. The study was a meta analysis of studies. Inclusion criteria was studies investigating bilingualism in the elderly with relation to Alzheimer’s disease risk. 6 prospective cohort studies were selected and 8 retrospective studies were selected. Of the 14 studies, only 2 had a monolingual control group. 14 studies selected for analysis. Study indicated that bilingualism may be protective against memory decline in older adults.
Meta analysis indicates that one exception, the studies support the idea that bilingualism reduces risk of memory decline. . However, only a small sample of studies included, although selected studies generally of a good sample size (>500). Only two of the studies included participants with Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. Moreover, only two studies had a control group. Further, two of the studies included only Hispanic subjects, which may have impacted results.
A notable limitation of the meta analysis is that it did not include any statistical analysis methods (i.e p value) and this is a significant limitation. Further large scale research is required to explore effects of bilingualism on cognition, and whether bilingualism may be protective against cognitive decline.
Abstract available here
Klimova, B., Valis, M., and Kuca, K. (2017). Bilingualism as a strategy to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Clin. Interv. Aging 12, 1731–1737.