Learning a New Language Later in Life Helps Keep Your Brain Healthy

It's never too late to learn a new language. In fact, it's probably most beneficial to do so later in life.

Have you been dying to learn Spanish, Mandarin, or Italian but fear that the window for picking up new languages has already closed in your life? While it's true the brain's ability to adapt and change things (known as neuroplasticity) decreases over time, Mo Costandi of The Guardian explains how older language learners possess their own certain advantages. He also goes over the ample research suggesting links between bilingualism and the delayed onset of dementia. 


One of the big differences between the ways younger and older learners pick up language is how information is stored in the brain. Bilingual children store all their language information in the same location while an older learner, whose brains is already developed and set in its ways, utilizes different sectors for language activity. This means that learning a new tongue later in life stimulates more segments of the brain. Doing so is valuable for health because the brain, as with all body parts, needs exercise to ward off decrepitude. 

So while learning a language later in life is more difficult than in childhood, doing so is perhaps most beneficial when your brain's functions are beginning to decline. Doing so could help ward off conditions such as Alzheimer's. This means that if you're a 74-year-old monolinguist who's always wanted to dabble in Croatian or something, there's no better time to start than now.

For more, keep reading at The Guardian

Photo credit: Howard Sandler / Shutterstock

Billionaire warlords: Why the future is medieval

The world's next superpower might just resurrect the Middle Ages.

Videos
  • Russia? China? No. The rising world superpower is the billionaire class. Our problem, says Sean McFate, is that we're still thinking in nation states.
  • Nation states have only existed for the last 300-400 years. Before that, wealthy groups – tribes, empires, aristocracies, etc – employed mercenaries to wage private wars.
  • As wealth inequality reaches combustion point, we could land back in the status quo ante of the Middle Ages. Who will our overlords be? Any or all of the 26 ultra-rich billionaires who own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest. What about Fortune 500, which is more powerful than most of the states in the world? Random billionaires, multinational corporations, and the extractive industry may buy armies and wage war on their own terms.
Keep reading Show less

Golden blood: the rarest blood in the world

We explore the history of blood types and how they are classified to find out what makes the Rh-null type important to science and dangerous for those who live with it.

Abid Katib/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • Fewer than 50 people worldwide have 'golden blood' — or Rh-null.
  • Blood is considered Rh-null if it lacks all of the 61 possible antigens in the Rh system.
  • It's also very dangerous to live with this blood type, as so few people have it.
Keep reading Show less

5 of the worst keto diet side effects

The keto diet can help with weight loss, but at what cost?

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In addition to weight loss, there are a few well-known side effects of the keto diet, some of which can be unpleasant.
  • Some side effects of the keto diet are bound to occur, though others only happen when the diet is implemented poorly.
  • The keto diet doesn't have to lead to a host of negative side effects, but anyone considering undertaking the diet over the long term should be especially careful.
Keep reading Show less