[Bilingualism as a factor in the protection of Alzheimer's disease: a systematic review]
November 16, 2020
Citation: Rev Neurol. 2020 Nov 16; 71(10): 353-364

INTRODUCTION Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most prevalent type of dementia today, with an incidence estimated at 30% of the population over 85 years of age, which is why it represents a health problem in today's society.
AIM To know if bilingualism can act as a protection factor for AD, thus increasing cognitive reserve.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS We searched for studies in the PsychInfo, Pubmed, Psicodoc, Medline and PubPych databases, based on the combination of various terms related to the keywords. Finally, ten studies were included.
RESULTS Seven of the ten selected studies suggest a significantly positive relationship between bilingualism and AD, although on the contrary two of the remaining studies find a partial relationship, where there is only a relationship in very specific circumstances (in the first one there is only one positive relationship when there is a low level of education, while in the second one there is only a relationship when more than two languages are spoken); only one of the studies found no significant relationship between bilingualism and AD.
CONCLUSIONS The aforementioned studies have found a delay at the time of diagnosis or at the onset of clinically significant symptoms, between 4.5 years and 7 years; thus, bilingualism could be considered a contributing factor of the cognitive reserve and as a consequence a probable protection factor to prevent or slow the onset of AD and its subsequent progression.