Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Language skills reduce Alzheimer's risk

  • Comment

Strong language skills may help protect people from Alzheimer’s disease later in life, according to a study.

Researchers studied the brains of 38 women after they had died, and found that those with strong language skills in their teens and 20s were less likely to have developed memory problems.

Women with weaker lexicons were more likely to have experienced memory declines as they got older.

The Nun Study - an on-going health investigation involving Roman Catholic nuns in the US - examined women who had joined the convent at a young age.

The nuns had regular tests of memory and mental skills until they died, with researchers analysing essays written by 14 of the women when they began their lives as nuns.

Those who could write essays expressing large numbers of ideas and complex language had a lower incidence of later memory problems, and language scores were 20% higher for nuns whose memories remained intact.

Having good language skills at a young age appeared to protect the memory, even in women whose brains contained the physical hallmarks of Alzheimer’s.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.