Predicting the Effects of Language Learning on Cognition and Well-being in Late-Life Depression: A systematic review and future directions [cancelled/postponed due to COVID-19]

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


    Late-life depression (LLD) is often overshadowed by other age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Studies estimate, however, that approximately a quarter of community-dwelling older adults, and nearly half of those in nursing homes experience depressive symptoms to varying degrees. This is problematic, as LLD and cognitive dysfunction are closely linked, which has even led some to consider LLD a prodromal form of dementia. Unsurprisingly, social well-being is negatively impacted in those with LLD, too, with loneliness and small social networks being characteristic of LLD patients. The effectiveness of antidepressants in LLD patients is not supported by meta-analyses, and many avoid seeking mental health professionals due to stigmas surrounding LLD. A proposed solution that is inherently social, while simultaneously targeting brain structures affected in LLD, is foreign language learning. It has been suggested that lifelong bilingualism boosts cognitive reserve, which significantly delays the onset of cognitive impairment symptoms. Recent research has suggested that even late-life foreign language learning can be beneficial in training cognitive flexibility, a useful skill in staving off rumination in LLD patients. Simultaneously, the classroom-based nature of a language intervention may reduce feelings of loneliness associated with depression in older adulthood. The present review, therefore, aims to systematically compare the cognitive domains that are weakened in LLD to those that are strengthened by foreign language training. Additionally, findings regarding changes in well-being as a result of group-based interventions will be discussed. Based on this systematic review, future directions for language training in relation to LLD will be presented.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15-Dec-2019
    EventCognitive Aging Conference 2020 - JW Marriott Atlanta Buckhead, Atlanta, United States
    Duration: 16-Apr-202019-Apr-2020


    ConferenceCognitive Aging Conference 2020
    Abbreviated titleCAC 2020
    Country/TerritoryUnited States

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