More evidence this week that stretching our brains is important for ageing as best we can. A neuroscientist at Edinburgh University has found that learning a language, just trying to learn a language, can delay some kinds of dementia by six years. That might not sound a great deal of time, however this is better than some drugs can perform.
In any case learning a new language can be a fun activity with the latest websites and apps that we can use, often for free. My personal favourite is Duolingo which, like most modern teaching, introduces you to a new language naturally, as children learn, building up your language reserves without you having to memorise verbs by rote etc. Duolingo is brightly coloured and user-friendly – giving out rewards and encouragement, even if it is from a little robotic owl. The reinforcement can be very amusing too, as in when the owl congratulates you for being “5% fluent!”. There are other tools around so you can take your pick, but adding a fun language site to your brain exercise is another useful way to keep our brains exercised and well-functioning. Try it!