Lifelong bilingualism is associated with a delayed age at onset of dementia, but evidence from community-based studies is limited. We investigated the relationship between bilingualism and the prevalence of cognitive impairment in a linguistically diverse community.
A door-to-door community study was conducted from January to December 2021 in urban Bengaluru, India. 1234 individuals aged ≥60 years participated in the study. Participants were diagnosed with no cognitive impairment (NCI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or dementia using established diagnostic criteria.
Dementia prevalence was higher in monolinguals (4.9%) than bilinguals (0.4%) (P = .001). The prevalence of MCI was also higher in monolinguals (8.5%) than bilinguals (5.3%) (P = .001). The study also revealed better cognitive function in bilinguals than monolinguals with NCI, after controlling for confounding variables.
The current study provides significant support for the protective effect of bilingualism on cognitive impairment in an urban community with extensive bilingual interactional contexts in everyday life.

Bilingualism has been demonstrated to protect against dementia and mild cognitive impairment in a linguistically diverse community with extensive code-switching contexts.
Bilingual older individuals had superior baseline cognitive performance compared to monolingual older individuals.
Bilingualism was found to have an independent effect on general cognition after adjusting for major social determinants of health in the group without cognitive impairment.

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This post is Copyright: Aparna Venugopal,
Avanthi Paplikar,
Feba Anna Varghese,
Nithin Thanissery,
Divya Ballal,
Rakshith Maneshwar Hoskeri,
Revathi Shekar,
Binukumar Bhaskarapillai,
Faheem Arshad,
Vandana Valiyaparambath Purushothaman,
Aravind Banavaram Anniappan,
Girish Nagaraja Rao,
Suvarna Alladi | February 20, 2024

Wiley: Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Table of Contents