(HealthDay News) — Bilingualism may have a positive effect on later-life cognition, according to a study published online June 2 in the Annals of Neurology.

Thomas H. Bak, MD, from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, and colleagues studied cognitive ability in 853 participants. The participants were first tested in 1947 (age, 11 years) and then retested in 2008–2010.

The researchers found that bilingual individuals performed significantly better than predicted from their baseline cognitive abilities. The strongest effects were seen in general intelligence and reading.

“Our results suggest a positive effect of bilingualism on later-life cognition, including in those who acquired their second language in adulthood,” Bak and colleagues conclude.

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