Edited by Ellen Bialystok and Margot D. Sullivan
[Studies in Bilingualism 53] 2017
► pp. 219–242
Chapter 11. Bilingualism, cognitive reserve, aging, and dementia
What is the new ground to cover?
Research investigating the contribution of bilingualism to cognitive reserve has produced mixed findings. Previous reviews and commentaries have explored potential reasons for the inconsistent findings across studies, including language status, participant characteristics, and immigration-related variables. This chapter addresses several questions that have received relatively less attention. Specifically, in this chapter we aim to clarify the relationship between brain function and structure within a reserve framework (including data from our lab examining regional cortical thickness in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease). We also review the impact of bilingualism on memory functioning, and examine theoretical and practical issues (such as trajectory of change in cognitive function) surrounding the cognitive reserve hypothesis. We end by discussing the potential for -and practicalities of- using Big Data initiatives to contribute insight into the role of bilingualism in cognitive reserve and brain function.