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The effect of lifelong bilingualism on regional grey and white matter volume.
Brain Res 2015; 1612:128-39BR

Abstract

Lifelong bilingualism is associated with the delayed diagnosis of dementia, suggesting bilingual experience is relevant to brain health in aging. While the effects of bilingualism on cognitive functions across the lifespan are well documented, less is known about the neural substrates underlying differential behaviour. It is clear that bilingualism affects brain regions that mediate language abilities and that these regions are at least partially overlapping with those that exhibit age-related decline. Moreover, the behavioural advantages observed in bilingualism are generally found in executive function performance, suggesting that the frontal lobes may also be sensitive to bilingualism, which exhibit volume reductions with age. The current study investigated structural differences in the brain of lifelong bilingual older adults (n=14, mean age=70.4) compared with older monolinguals (n=14, mean age=70.6). We employed two analytic approaches: 1) we examined global differences in grey and white matter volumes; and, 2) we examined local differences in volume and cortical thickness of specific regions of interest previously implicated in bilingual/monolingual comparisons (temporal pole) or in aging (entorhinal cortex and hippocampus). We expected bilinguals would exhibit greater volume of the frontal lobe and temporal lobe (grey and white matter), given the importance of these regions in executive and language functions, respectively. We further hypothesized that regions in the medial temporal lobe, which demonstrate early changes in aging and exhibit neural pathology in dementia, would be more preserved in the bilingual group. As predicted, bilinguals exhibit greater frontal lobe white matter compared with monolinguals. Moreover, increasing age was related to decreasing temporal pole cortical thickness in the monolingual group, but no such relationship was observed for bilinguals. Finally, Stroop task performance was positively correlated with frontal lobe white matter, emphasizing the importance of preserved white matter in maintaining executive function in aging. These results underscore previous findings implicating an association between bilingualism and preserved frontal and temporal lobe function in aging. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Memory Å.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M6A 2E1.Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M6A 2E1.Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON, Canada M3J 1P3.Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M6A 2E1; Cerebral Imaging Centre, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, 6875 LaSalle Boulevard, Montreal, QC, Canada H4H 1R3; Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, 1033 Pine Avenue West, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1A1; Department of Biomedical Engineering, McGill University, 3775 Rue University, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 2B4.Harvard Graduate School of Education, Appian Way, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M6A 2E1; Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3G3; Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 250 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5T 1R8.Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Health Sciences, 3560 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M6A 2E1; Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON, Canada M3J 1P3. Electronic address: ellenb@yorku.ca.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25725380

Citation

Olsen, Rosanna K., et al. "The Effect of Lifelong Bilingualism On Regional Grey and White Matter Volume." Brain Research, vol. 1612, 2015, pp. 128-39.
Olsen RK, Pangelinan MM, Bogulski C, et al. The effect of lifelong bilingualism on regional grey and white matter volume. Brain Res. 2015;1612:128-39.
Olsen, R. K., Pangelinan, M. M., Bogulski, C., Chakravarty, M. M., Luk, G., Grady, C. L., & Bialystok, E. (2015). The effect of lifelong bilingualism on regional grey and white matter volume. Brain Research, 1612, pp. 128-39. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2015.02.034.
Olsen RK, et al. The Effect of Lifelong Bilingualism On Regional Grey and White Matter Volume. Brain Res. 2015 Jul 1;1612:128-39. PubMed PMID: 25725380.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The effect of lifelong bilingualism on regional grey and white matter volume. AU - Olsen,Rosanna K, AU - Pangelinan,Melissa M, AU - Bogulski,Cari, AU - Chakravarty,M Mallar, AU - Luk,Gigi, AU - Grady,Cheryl L, AU - Bialystok,Ellen, Y1 - 2015/02/25/ PY - 2014/05/08/received PY - 2015/02/12/revised PY - 2015/02/13/accepted PY - 2015/3/1/entrez PY - 2015/3/1/pubmed PY - 2016/2/18/medline KW - Aging KW - Bilingual KW - Cognitive reserve KW - Hippocampus KW - MRI KW - Volumetric SP - 128 EP - 39 JF - Brain research JO - Brain Res. VL - 1612 N2 - Lifelong bilingualism is associated with the delayed diagnosis of dementia, suggesting bilingual experience is relevant to brain health in aging. While the effects of bilingualism on cognitive functions across the lifespan are well documented, less is known about the neural substrates underlying differential behaviour. It is clear that bilingualism affects brain regions that mediate language abilities and that these regions are at least partially overlapping with those that exhibit age-related decline. Moreover, the behavioural advantages observed in bilingualism are generally found in executive function performance, suggesting that the frontal lobes may also be sensitive to bilingualism, which exhibit volume reductions with age. The current study investigated structural differences in the brain of lifelong bilingual older adults (n=14, mean age=70.4) compared with older monolinguals (n=14, mean age=70.6). We employed two analytic approaches: 1) we examined global differences in grey and white matter volumes; and, 2) we examined local differences in volume and cortical thickness of specific regions of interest previously implicated in bilingual/monolingual comparisons (temporal pole) or in aging (entorhinal cortex and hippocampus). We expected bilinguals would exhibit greater volume of the frontal lobe and temporal lobe (grey and white matter), given the importance of these regions in executive and language functions, respectively. We further hypothesized that regions in the medial temporal lobe, which demonstrate early changes in aging and exhibit neural pathology in dementia, would be more preserved in the bilingual group. As predicted, bilinguals exhibit greater frontal lobe white matter compared with monolinguals. Moreover, increasing age was related to decreasing temporal pole cortical thickness in the monolingual group, but no such relationship was observed for bilinguals. Finally, Stroop task performance was positively correlated with frontal lobe white matter, emphasizing the importance of preserved white matter in maintaining executive function in aging. These results underscore previous findings implicating an association between bilingualism and preserved frontal and temporal lobe function in aging. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled SI: Memory Å. SN - 1872-6240 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25725380/The_effect_of_lifelong_bilingualism_on_regional_grey_and_white_matter_volume_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0006-8993(15)00134-1 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -