Impact of Bilingualism on Stroke Recovery

2015-1220 Bilingualism

The following information is from an abstract published by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Researchers and Authors of Report

  1. Suvarna Alladi, DM,
  2. Thomas H. Bak, MD,
  3. Shailaja Mekala, PhD,
  4. Amulya Rajan, MA,
  5. Jaydip Ray Chaudhuri, DM,
  6. Eneida Mioshi, PhD,
  7. Rajesh Krovvidi, DM,
  8. Bapiraju Surampudi, PhD,
  9. Vasanta Duggirala, PhD
  10. Subhash Kaul, DM

Background and Purpose

Bilingualism has been associated with slower cognitive aging and a later onset of dementia. In this study, we aimed to determine whether bilingualism also influences cognitive outcome after stroke.


We examined 608 patients with ischemic stroke from a large stroke registry and studied the role of bilingualism in predicting post-stroke cognitive impairment in the absence of dementia.


A larger proportion of bilinguals had normal cognition compared with monolinguals (40.5% versus 19.6%; P<0.0001), whereas the reverse was noted in patients with cognitive impairment, including vascular dementia and vascular mild cognitive impairment (monolinguals 77.7% versus bilinguals 49.0%; P<0.0009). There were no differences in the frequency of aphasia (monolinguals 11.8% versus bilinguals 10.5%; P=0.354). Bilingualism was found to be an independent predictor of post-stroke cognitive impairment.


Our results suggest that bilingualism leads to a better cognitive outcome after stroke, possibly by enhancing cognitive reserve.

My Opinion

Click here to read another Beyond Adversity post.

Although the study did not examine all aspects of bilingualism, I am curious whether or not learning a second language after a stroke would improve post-stroke cognition.


Thanks to the people who designed and implemented the study; the people who reported the study findings; the people whose information was used in the study; the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for sharing an abstract of the study findings; Google for helping me find the abstract; and the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to share the picture and text in this post.

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