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The Relationship of Bilingualism Compared to Monolingualism to the Risk of Cognitive Decline or Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Mukadam, N; Sommerlad, A; Livingston, G; (2017) The Relationship of Bilingualism Compared to Monolingualism to the Risk of Cognitive Decline or Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease , 58 (1) pp. 45-54. 10.3233/JAD-170131. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Bilingualism may contribute to cognitive reserve, protect against cognitive decline, and delay the onset of dementia. OBJECTIVE: We systematically reviewed evidence about the effect of bilingualism on subsequent cognitive decline or dementia. METHODS: We searched electronic databases and references for longitudinal studies comparing cognitive decline in people who were bilingual with those who were monolingual and evaluated study quality. We conducted meta-analyses using random effects models to calculate pooled odds ratio of incident dementia. RESULTS: We included 13/1,156 eligible articles. Meta-analysis of prospective studies of the effects of bilingualism on future dementia gave a combined Odds Ratio of dementia of 0.96 (95% CI 0.74-1.23) in bilingual participants (n = 5,527) compared to monolinguals. Most retrospective studies found that bilingual people were reported to develop symptoms of cognitive decline at a later age than monolingual participants. CONCLUSION: We did not find that bilingualism protects from cognitive decline or dementia from prospective studies. Retrospective studies are more prone to confounding by education, or cultural differences in presentation to dementia services and are therefore not suited to establishing causative links between risk factors and outcomes.

Type: Article
Title: The Relationship of Bilingualism Compared to Monolingualism to the Risk of Cognitive Decline or Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Location: Netherlands
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3233/JAD-170131
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-170131
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 – IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved. This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Bilingualism, cognitive decline, dementia, prospective cohort studies
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1551617
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