Language skills may indicate Alzheimer's risk

July 8, 2009 2:03:07 PM PDT
A new study shows that people with superior language skills early in life may be less likely to develop the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease later in life. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University followed a small group of Catholic nuns, testing them regularly for any signs of memory problems. After their deaths, their brains were examined for the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease.

The researchers found that superior language skills early in life may predict the brain's ability to cope with the early stages of Alzheimer's disease decades later. They conclude this is due to differences in mental reserves.