Learning a new language requires the use of extensive neural networks and can represent a powerful tool to reorganize brain neuroplasticity. In this study, we analyze how a 4 months long second language learning program (16, 2 h sessions) can lead to functional changes in the brain of healthy elderly individuals. A large number of studies point out a decline of brain-skills with age; here it is analyzed how cognition together with functional brain organization can be improved later in life. Twenty-six older adults (59-79 years old) were enrolled in the present study. A complete neuropsychological examination was administered before and after the intervention to measure global cognition levels, short- and long-term memory, attention, language access and executive functions. At the end of the program, in the intervention group, the results showed a significant improvement in global cognition together with an increased functional connectivity in the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG), right superior frontal gyrus (rSFG) and left superior parietal lobule (lSPL). These findings can be added to the current neurobiological breakthroughs of reshaping brain networks with a short language learning practice in healthy elderly subjects. Therefore, learning a foreign-language may represent a potentially helpful cognitive intervention for promoting healthy aging.

Effects of second language learning on the plastic aging brain: Functional connectivity, cognitive decline, and reorganization

Bubbico G.
Primo
;
Chiacchiaretta P.
Secondo
;
Panara V.;Sepede G.;Ferretti A.
Penultimo
;
Perrucci M. G.
Ultimo
2019

Abstract

Learning a new language requires the use of extensive neural networks and can represent a powerful tool to reorganize brain neuroplasticity. In this study, we analyze how a 4 months long second language learning program (16, 2 h sessions) can lead to functional changes in the brain of healthy elderly individuals. A large number of studies point out a decline of brain-skills with age; here it is analyzed how cognition together with functional brain organization can be improved later in life. Twenty-six older adults (59-79 years old) were enrolled in the present study. A complete neuropsychological examination was administered before and after the intervention to measure global cognition levels, short- and long-term memory, attention, language access and executive functions. At the end of the program, in the intervention group, the results showed a significant improvement in global cognition together with an increased functional connectivity in the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG), right superior frontal gyrus (rSFG) and left superior parietal lobule (lSPL). These findings can be added to the current neurobiological breakthroughs of reshaping brain networks with a short language learning practice in healthy elderly subjects. Therefore, learning a foreign-language may represent a potentially helpful cognitive intervention for promoting healthy aging.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/709008
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