Young Researchers in the Science of Learning

Abstract

Jubin Abutalebi, Dr. Assoc. Prof. abutalebi.jubin@hsr.it Bilingualism induces neural benefits for aging populations Culture, education and of other forms of acquired capacities act on individual differences in skill to shape how individuals perform cognitive tasks. Of interest, bilingualism also appears to be a factor that shapes individual performance on tests of cognitive functioning. Bilingualism seems to affect also brain structure, inducing increased gray matter in brain areas responsible for executive control. This neural benefit may potentially offer protection to bilinguals against cognitive decline in aging. The primary aim of this presentation is to illustrate how the bilingual brain becomes more resistant to cognitive decline. The results of our combined comparative behavioral and neuroimaging studies carried out in aging bilinguals and monolinguals show that if well matched for demographic and behavioral variables such as age, socioeconomic status, education, and global cognitive functioning, bilinguals have generally increased grey matter densities as compared to monolinguals in brain areas usually affected by physiological aging and in areas involved in cognitive control. Increased grey matter also correlates with the superior performance of bilinguals on executive control tasks. Interestingly, in order to keep such a neural benefit the degree of proficiency of the second language has to be relatively high and bilinguals have to be constantly exposed to their second language. In conclusion, bilingualism may represent a neural reserve for healthy aging. However, the benefits are most prominent when second language proficiency and exposure are kept high. Elizabeth Barrett, Dr. (Supervisor: Edwin M.L. Yiu) Barrett1@hku.hk Whole-body vibration as a potential treatment to improve phonatory function Background: Whole-body vibration, the oscillatory movement transmitted from a mechanical vibration source to the body, has been shown to cause neurogenic adaption of the skeletal muscles and facilitate muscular function improvement (Cardinale & Wakeling, 2005). Phonatory function, in terms of intensity, has been found to improve following whole-body vibration at around 10 -15 Hz when compared to vibration below 10 Hz (Yokoyama and Hoshino, 1973). Aim: To identify whether whole-body vibration, compared to resonant voice training, would improve voice related quality of life and vocal function, in terms of maximum frequency and intensity. Method: Adults with self-perceived voice problems were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: 1) resonant voice training, 2) whole-body vibration, or 3) a combined treatment. Vocal folds were visually examined. Preand post-treatment outcome measures included: maximum fundamental frequency, intensity and voice related quality of life. Participants attended individual therapy three times a week for three weeks. Results: All treatment groups showed an improvement in their voice related quality of life following treatment. The whole-body vibration and resonant voice training groups showed similar improvements on vocal function outcomes, with an increase in maximum fundamental frequency and intensity. Conclusion: Similar vocal function outcomes were observed after nine sessions of wholebody vibration or resonant voice training.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Gao2015YoungRI, title={Young Researchers in the Science of Learning}, author={Andy Chufan Gao and Cathryn Donohue and Meng Wah Terrace}, year={2015} }