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Bilingualism is a long-term cognitively challenging experience that modulates metabolite concentrations in the healthy brain

Pliatsikas, C. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7093-1773, Pereira Soares, S. M., Voits, T., DeLuca, V. and Rothman, J. (2021) Bilingualism is a long-term cognitively challenging experience that modulates metabolite concentrations in the healthy brain. Scientific Reports. ISSN 2045-2322 (In Press)

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Abstract/Summary

Cognitively demanding experiences, including complex skills acquisition and processing, have been shown to induce brain adaptations, at least at the macroscopic level, e.g. on brain volume and/or functional connectivity. However, the neurobiological bases of these adaptations, including at the cellular level, are unclear and understudied. Here we use bilingualism as a case study to investigate the metabolic correlates of experience-based brain adaptations. We employ Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to measure metabolite concentrations in the basal ganglia, a region critical to language control and reshaped by bilingualism. Our results show increased myo-Inositol and decreased N-acetyl aspartate concentrations in bilinguals compared to monolinguals. Both metabolites are linked to synaptic pruning, a process underlying experience-based brain restructuring. Interestingly, both concentrations correlate with relative amount of bilingual engagement. This suggests that degree of long-term cognitive experiences matters at the level of metabolic concentrations, which might accompany, if not drive, macroscopic brain adaptations.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Neuroscience
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Clinical Language Sciences
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Language and Cognition
ID Code:96898
Uncontrolled Keywords:MRS, INS, NAA, Bilingualism
Publisher:Scientific Reports

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