Being bilingual may delay dementia

People who speak more than one language and who develop dementia tend to do so on average 4.5 years later than those who are monolingual, a new study has found writes .

The study, published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, observed the same delay in illiterate patients, indicating education isn’t an explanation for the differences.

 Researchers examined almost 650 dementia patients and found those who spoke two or more languages showed later onset of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as frontotemporal dementia and vascular dementia.

The benefit doesn’t extend beyond speaking two languages however, meaning speaking three or more languages doesn’t appear to further delay the onset of dementia.

The study was conducted by the University of Edinburgh and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences in Hyderabad, India. This region of India is home to multiple languages, which Barbara J. King, writing for NPR, believes adds extra credibility to the results.

In the Hyderabad region there are two dominant languages, Urdu and Telugu. Hindi and English are also routinely spoken, especially at school. So people raised in Hyderabad are often bilingual, with exposure to a third, sometimes fourth, language.

This impacts on the results as the researchers explained, “In contrast to previous studies, the bilingual group was drawn from the same environment as the monolingual one and the results were therefore free from the confounding effects of immigration.”

This study is the largest to look at the bilingual effect on dementia, independent of education, sex, occupation, cardiovascular risk factors, and urban vs rural dwelling, all of which have been investigated in the past as potential factors affecting the onset of dementia.

Further research is needed to determine the mechanism which is delaying dementia, say the study authors. They suggested bilingual switching between different sounds, words, concepts, grammatical structures and social norms constituted a form of natural brain training.

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Essential Items for Women to Stay Healthy on the Road

Whether you are planning a two week vacation or a three month backpacking sojourn, packing items to maintain your health and hygiene on the road should be your first priority. Trust me, falling sick on the road without the correct remedies will put a real dampener on your holiday! We have put together a handy list of the nine essential items that should be in your luggage before you hit the road:

1. Hand sanitizer

Maintaining high levels of personal hygiene is really important when travelling, and one of the best ways to do that is to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer with you at all times. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to wash your hands as often as you would at home and so this way you’ll at least know you have clean hands even when you can’t wash them. You can even pick up travel-friendly bottles of sanitizer so you don’t have to worry about packing a big bulky bottle – bonus!

2. High SPF sunscreen

Unfortunately, there are too many ladies out there that pack a low SPF sunscreen in the hope that they will get a tan quicker; this is not the case! The only thing that will happen if your sunscreen does not have a high enough SPF factor is you will get burnt, and it doesn’t look pretty, not to mention it has some serious consequences to your health!

3. Sterile first aid kit

It’s really important to take a comprehensive first aid kit with you. I would advise to take a first aid kit which comes with a syringe and needle so if you do need hospital treatment, you are safe in the knowledge that you have sterile equipment with you.

4. Women’s multi-vitamins

Our diet can be dramatically different when we travel, and therefore it can have a negative effect on our health. A great way to ensure that you are still getting essential nutrients is by packing a small bottle of women’s multi-vitamins.

5. Re-hydration sachets

Unfortunately, it can be quite common to contract a stomach bug when traveling. In order to combat this, one of the best products that you can take with you is rehydration sachets – these will restore your body’s salt and fluid balance; I don’t know what I would have done without these when I got sick in Thailand!

6. Fit kit

The fit kit is especially useful on longer vacations and backpacking trips; many women – myself included, do worry about their fitness levels when away from the routine of going to the gym. A great way to maintain your fitness levels is to take a FitKit with you – this has been specially designed for those that travel and so the contents come is a super small case that is the equivalent of a sunglasses case. The FitKit is basically a portable gym – it comes with a resistance tube, a jump rope, pedometer, resistance band and reflective arm band.

7. Bug spray

I never travel without a high impact bug spray – mosquitoes seem to absolutely love me, much to my annoyance! Not only is it dangerous to get bitten due to the risks of malaria and dengue fever, but bites also look so unsightly – especially if they get as big and swollen as they do on me! The bug spray that I use is one that has a high level of DEET – DEET is highly regarded as the best ingredient to prevent mosquitoes.

Before you use a DEET based product I would highly recommend doing a patch test first to see if DEET is compatible with your skin, and also seek the guidance of your doctor for the best ways to prevent getting bitten. If you are heading to an area where malaria is particularly prevalent then you will also want to pack a mosquito net and anti-malarial medication.

8. Funky sun hat

A lot of people don’t realize it, but dehydration and sun stroke are big risk factors when on the road! A fabulous (and stylish) way to minimize this risk is to pack a sun hat and wear it whenever you are out in direct sunlight. The great news is that there are some super stylish sun hat options out there so you don’t need to worry about looking ridiculous! My personal favorite is a cute straw hat with a brightly colored ribbon – there are also packable straw hat options on the market nowadays so you don’t need to worry about it getting squashed in your luggage.

9. Shewee

I’ll be the first person to admit that the bathroom facilities in many places overseas are not up to the same standard as they are at home. The best way to avoid having to sit on a filthy toilet and run the risk of contracting germs is to carry a shewee with you.

A shewee is a contraption that allows you to wee whilst standing up, so no matter how grimy the toilet is, your skin need never touch it! Having the shewee also means being able to go to the toilet outside (often more preferable than being stuck in a stinky loo) and you can stand up – much better than trying to find a spot to crouch down!

Guest Author: Emma Spires Emma is a keen traveller who has been on the road for a decade. In between sojourns she spends her time on the hunt for innovative ladies travel products to review for her site Ladies With Luggage with the aim of helping her readers have a more fun, safe and comfortable trip. She also loves to write specialised female travel packing lists – everything from a romantic weekend away to long term backpacking trips.

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