Good Language Skills While Young May Stave Off Alzheimers Later

07.09.09 | FL News Team

People with good language skills in their 20s appear to be less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease later in life. That's the finding of researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Participants in this just released research were part of the Nun Study, a continuing clinical study of Catholic sisters of the School Sisters of Notre Dame who live in the U.S. After death, the brains of 38 nuns were examined. Researchers were looking for plaques and other telling signatures of Alzheimer's. Essays written by those women as they entered the convent in their late teens or early 20s were examined for the average number of ideas expressed for every ten words. It turned out language scores were 20-percent higher in the women who never developed any sign of dementia compared to those who did even though both groups had indicators in their brains that they were predisposed to the disease.

 

Doctor Juan Troncoso, the author of the study, says "mental abilities at age 20 may be indicitive of a brain that will be better able to cope with diseases later in life." The full study is published in the July 9th online issue of "Neurology."