UofE study on Bilingualism and Dementia takes the media by storm


A study about bilingualism and dementia led by the University of Edinburgh’s own Thomas Bak, in partnership with Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India has taken the media by storm.

It has been reviewed and reported in over a hundred media sources, including national networks such as the BBC and NBC news, CBS and SPS, dailies such as the Huffington Post and the Times of India and the Japan Times  and health web platforms such as the NHS or Health24, or scientific publications such as the New ScientistScienceDaily and the National Geographic.

The study, published in the American magazine Neurology, surveyed over 600 patients and found that on average, bilingual patients developed dementia 4.5 years later than monolingual ones, irrespective of educational achievement, sex, profession or lifestyle. This is the first study of its kind to include illiterate subjects, showing that bilingualism is a health asset for anyone. The study was even reported by the Daily Mail, which reads that being bilingual could be better than any currently available medication as a cure for dementia.

It is encouraging to see how widely this publication has been received, we hope that it will encourage parents to protect their linguistic heritage and teach their children to do the same.