• The potential benefits of bilingualism for the aging brain: a comparative analysis of the white matter integrity, gray matter volume, and cognitive functioning in aging bilinguals and monolinguals

      Schroeder, Alina (2020-05)
      Cognitive decline in association with decline of white matter (WM) integrity and gray matter volume (GMV) have been associated with aging. Researchers have noticed that while some individuals are extremely susceptible to cognitive decline and age-related neural deterioration, the others seem to fare better. Further observation has led to the conclusion that seniors that participate in daily activities over an extended period of time, such as playing a musical instrument or speaking a second language, have increased cognitive outcomes as compared to individuals of the same age who did not participate in such activities. This literature review aims to examine bilingualism as a factor that modulates the white matter integrity, gray matter volume, and cognitive functioning of early aging bilinguals. Multiple studies have observed increased white matter integrity in the corpus callosum, superior longitudinal fasciculus, and inferior longitudinal fasciculus of aging bilinguals. In the gray matter volume, there were multiple studies that observed an increase in the temporal lobe, inferior parietal lobule, and anterior cingulate. These measures were further correlated to increased cognitive control in the aging bilinguals.