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  #1  
Old May 1st, 2012, 01:53 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default Ehancing the brain!

How do we benefit from learning new things? For example a second language?

A recent study shows that bilingual people are able to find the correct meaning of voice on a background of extraneous noise.




"Prof Nina Kraus, who led the research, said: "The bilingual's enhanced experience with sound results in an auditory system that is highly efficient, flexible and focused in its automatic sound processing, especially in challenging or novel listening conditions."

Co-author Viorica Marian said: "People do crossword puzzles and other activities to keep their minds sharp. But the advantages we've discovered in dual language speakers come automatically simply from knowing and using two languages.

"It seems that the benefits of bilingualism are particularly powerful and broad, and include attention, inhibition and encoding of sound."

Musicians appear to gain a similar benefit when rehearsing, say the researchers.

Past research has also suggested that being bilingual might help ward off dementia."


Perhaps, that's a going to extend to learning photography and ability to discern important things around us amongst the overabundance of stimulation we get every day. I wonder?


Asher
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  #2  
Old May 1st, 2012, 02:58 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Past research has also suggested that being bilingual might help ward off dementia.
What if one learns more than two languages, then? Is that a way to completely avoid dementia or is there a maximum number of languages which, when exceeded, makes you downright crazy?
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  #3  
Old May 1st, 2012, 03:00 PM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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What if one learns more than two languages, then? Is that a way to completely avoid dementia or is there a maximum number of languages which, when exceeded, makes you downright crazy?
I think two has done you in man - your mad. I learn scottish and a bit of ungerlish and I still canny make a proper picture - asher we are doomed !
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Old May 1st, 2012, 03:46 PM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
What if one learns more than two languages, then? Is that a way to completely avoid dementia or is there a maximum number of languages which, when exceeded, makes you downright crazy?
I'm still working on one language. One day I might have a go at Teenspeak.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 04:06 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot View Post
What if one learns more than two languages, then? Is that a way to completely avoid dementia or is there a maximum number of languages which, when exceeded, makes you downright crazy?
I doubt it! You are still going to have to take your wine and whisky or get yourself 2 more girlfriends to escape reality. Tom Dinning and I, being grandfathers can both drink and get away with stories that impress 4 year olds and they have no idea that we are not making up weird tales, that's just how we see things.

Seriously, the current evidence is that the adult brain is very plastic and not fixed in that it can learn new tasks and even repurpose sections of the brain to make up for lost circuits. The more the brain is stimulated, the more connections and computing power one has.

One new finding of considerable importance to us is that while one can get new brain cells for any new given learned skill or capability, it does not generally alter performance in unrelated tasks and challenges. However, in an amazing new study, exercise along with learning something new, makes the new cells have increased synapses and the performance of new unrelated skills is enhanced too!

So learn a new language, musical instrument, chess or a card game and exercise regularly. As brain cells are lost, your new activity will keep in good shape!

Asher
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Last edited by Asher Kelman; May 2nd, 2012 at 01:44 AM.
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Old May 1st, 2012, 11:22 PM
Jerome Marot Jerome Marot is offline
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I doubt it! You are still going to have to take your wine and whisky or get yourself 2 more girlfriends to escape reality.
Now, that seems a pleasant alternative. It may not cure dementia, but should make it quite bearable.
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 05:22 AM
Tom dinning Tom dinning is offline
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Now, that seems a pleasant alternative. It may not cure dementia, but should make it quite bearable.
That sounds like a better idea than telling stories to my GREAT-grandchilden. I'm joining you Jerome.

Good advise, Asher. I'm aware that genetics plays its part as well. That doesn't mean we give into them, just work with them. Having taught people with disabilities, some of which gained their disability by accident or disease later in life, its amazing how, with the right processes, they can relearn skills they lost by using other parts of the brain. There are some peculiar outcomes to this at times. Doing things a bit different is quite often surprising to the person as it is to observers. My friend, Lyn suffered horendous brain damage in a car accident. She lost her memory up to the point of the accident and has poor short term memory, lost all speach, vision, and muscle coordination. After 8 years she can talk (strangely enough, with a New Zealand accent because her speech therapist is from there), her vision is back, and she is relatively active. She is only just figuring out how to add and subtract or use simple things like a remote for the TV. Yet she is now a reputable artist even having never done anything artistic in her prevous 45 years. She had to learn to recognise her own mother and daughter all over again. They say she is not the same person they knew before the accident but they love the new Lyn just as much. I never knew the old Lyn. The new one is a very motivated person and a great advocate for brain damage victims.
You can read more about Lyn here:
http://lyntemby.com.au/

Cheers
Tom
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Old May 2nd, 2012, 10:24 AM
Michael Seltzer Michael Seltzer is offline
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Originally Posted by Jerome Marot:
What if one learns more than two languages, then? Is that a way to completely avoid dementia or is there a maximum number of languages which, when exceeded, makes you downright crazy?
-------------

Amounts to the same thing, doesn't it?

I'm guessing this is related to what some have said, that learning a second language can be difficult, but once you have two, adding another is easier. Once your bilingual, the structures and functions in the brain that multilingualism need are already in place, so the next language is simply a matter of learning syntax, vocabulary, usage, etc., not building synapses. Probably also means the big bump in benefits comes with two. After that, the ROI decreases a bit. But maybe there are benefits they don't know about yet with more than two… (like a bigger pool to get those two more girlfriends from).
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