Edited by Ellen Bialystok and Margot D. Sullivan
[Studies in Bilingualism 53] 2017
► pp. 205–218
Chapter 10. The effect of language skills on dementia in a Swedish longitudinal cohort
Recent findings indicate that bilingualism delay the onset of dementia. Using data from the Betula longitudinal cohort study on memory, health and aging (
Monolingual (n = 736) and bilingual (n = 82) participants (≥ 60 years) without dementia at inclusion were followed for incident dementia over a time-period up to 10 years. In total, 112 participants developed dementia. Analyses were performed with Cox proportional hazards regression adjusted for age, sex, and presence/absence of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4 allele, with dementia outcome as the dependent variable.
Results showed no delayed onset of dementia in bilinguals compared to monolinguals. However, because of the findings from a study using participants from the same population showing beneficial longitudinal effects of bilingualism on episodic memory; we argue that our results may depend on the frequency of use of the second language after retirement.