According a study, individuals that speak more than 2 languages could lower their risk of developing memory problems. It seems speaking more than 2 languages provides a protective effect on memory in elderly people who practice foreign languages throughout their life time or during the time of the research.
The study included 230 individuals having an average age of 73 that had spoken or presently spoke 2 to 7 languages. Of these individuals, 44 documented cognitive issues; the remainder of the group experienced no memory problems. The researchers found that those individuals who spoke 4 or more languages were 5 times more unlikely to develop cognitive issues in comparison to those individuals who spoke only 2 languages.
Individuals who spoke 3 languages were 3 times more unlikely to have cognitive issues in comparison to bilinguals. Furthermore, individuals who presently spoke more than 2 languages were also 4 times more unlikely to have cognitive impairment. The outcomes took into account the age as well as the education of the individuals.
Additional studies are necessary to try to confirm these results and see if the protection is restricted to thinking skills linked to language or if it also extends beyond that and is of benefit to additional areas of cognition.