A recent study has indicated that speaking two languages can help protect the brain in the event of a stroke.
More than 600 stroke patients in India were studied to find that those who spoke more than one language had double the chance of recovering than people who spoke just one language. The results showed a clear correlation, with 40% of bilingual patients recovering their normal cognitive function following a stroke, as opposed to 20% of monolingual patients.
Cognitive functions were defined in the study as attention, memory and visuospatial skills. Experimental Psychology applicants should investigate whether these are the best indicators of cognitive function and if the parameters of the study hold up as demonstrable proof of the benefits of bilingualism.
Students applying to Biological Sciences should explore what is meant by the ‘cognitive reserve’ and how this aids stroke recovery.