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Language-Learning After 10 May Be Better for the Brain

Update Date: Jan 12, 2015 05:43 PM EST
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How does it look when earth is bombarded with dark matter?

Learning new languages after the age of ten is better for the brain, according to a new study.

New findings revealed that people who began learning English around age 10 showed significant improvements in white matter structure compared to other people who grew up speaking only English.

Researchers noted that improvements in the brain's "higher levels of structural integrity" boost language learning and semantic processing.

The latest study involved 45 participants around the age of 30. All participants had lived in the UK for at least 13 months. Twenty participants had started learning English as a second language around age 10, and 25 participants only spoke English.

Researchers said the latest findings mirrors those of previous studies that showed improvements in the brain's white matter structure in people who learned a second language at a significantly earlier age.

"Everyday handling of more than one language functions as an intensive cognitive stimulation that benefits specific language-related brain structures by preserving their integrity, and therefore it protects them against deterioration in older age," lead researcher Christos Pliatsikas of the University of Kent School of Psychology, said in a news release.

The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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