Impact of Bilingualism on Cognitive Outcome After Stroke
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.
Methods—We examined 608 patients with ischemic stroke from a large stroke registry and studied the role of bilingualism in predicting poststroke cognitive impairment in the absence of dementia.
Results—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 poststroke cognitive impairment.
Conclusions—Our results suggest that bilingualism leads to a better cognitive outcome after stroke, possibly by enhancing cognitive reserve.
- Received June 12, 2015.
- Revision received September 16, 2015.
- Accepted September 24, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.