Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Sophie: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Sophie.

  • Neil: Watashi-wa Ni-ru.

  • Sophie: What did you say?

  • Neil: Watashi-wa Ni-ru. "I'm Neil." It's Japanese, Sophie.

  • Sophie: Very good, Neil! So your Japanese language lessons are going well, then?

  • Neil: They are indeed. And did you know, Sophie,

  • that scientists believe learning a second language can boost brainpower?

  • Bilingualismor speaking two languages equally wellis a form of brain training.

  • Sophie: Brain training is where you're learning ways to increase your memory or intelligence.

  • That's great Neil, but you're not exactly... bilingual... are you?

  • Neil: Uh... not yet. No.

  • Sophie: Well, brain training is the subject of today's show.

  • And ways to train your brain might be doing a crossword puzzle, playing chess, or studying a new language!

  • Now I have a question for you, Neil.

  • Neil: I hope my brain is up to the challenge.

  • Sophie: I'm sure it is. Can you tell me:

  • How many neuronsor nerve cellsare there in the typical human brain?

  • Is it ... a) 8.6 billion b) 86 billion or c) 860 billion

  • Neil: Hmm. I'm going to say a) 8.6 billion.

  • Sophie: Well, we'll find out later on in the show whether you got the answer right or not.

  • But now let's listen to neuropsychologist Dr Catherine Loveday

  • talking about why being bilingual may protect your brain from damage if you have a stroke.

  • Dr Catherine Loveday: I think the theory behind why bilingualism might be a protective factor is that

  • (it) involves a lot of switchings – a lot of attentional changeslots of switching.

  • And that seems to exercise the sort of executive parts of our brain.

  • Those parts of the brain are kind of stronger and fitter when it comes to resisting

  • some kind of damage from the stroke.

  • Neil: A stroke is a serious illness that occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off.

  • And executive functions are the mental skills involved in doing things like problem solving and planning.

  • Sophie: So when a bilingual speaker switchesor changesfrom one language to another

  • this exercises the executive parts of their brain, making it stronger and fitter.

  • And because the brain is stronger, it's able to resistor preventdamage caused by a stroke.

  • Neil: But many of us aren't bilingual are we?

  • So our brains aren't going to be protected against strokes.

  • Sophie: Don't worry, Neil. There are other things you can do to exercise your brain.

  • If you're right handed, doing tasks like brushing your teeth with your left hand

  • will stimulate your brain

  • or getting dressed in the dark with your eyes shut.

  • Or simply memorizing a list of words, for example your shopping list.

  • Neil: Doing things with the wrong hand sounds hard.

  • But the shopping list thing sounds easier...

  • OK. Let's see... pizza, doughnuts, crisps, bottle of coke, chocolate cake...

  • Sophie: That's not a very healthy list, Neil!

  • A good diet is also important in keeping your brain fit and healthy.

  • Neil: Maybe I should cut down on the chocolate cake then?

  • Sophie: Actually, that's one thing you could leave on the list.

  • According to research, chocolate may enhanceor improvecognitive performance,

  • and that is your ability to acquire and utilize knowledge.

  • Now let's listen to Dr Loveday talking about building up our cognitive reserve.

  • This is the idea of building up extra abilities

  • to help protect the brain against declining memory or thinking.

  • Dr Catherine Loveday: Continually just stimulating the brainthings like learning a language,

  • learning music,

  • just educating yourself, seems to continue to build up that cognitive reserve.

  • So even if people take up languages or take up other things later in life it will give

  • them a degree of protection.

  • Neil: Stimulate means to make something become more active.

  • Hmm. Not sure I'm continually stimulating my brain. What do you think, Sophie?

  • Sophie: With all our stimulating discussions, Neil,

  • I'm sure we're both building up our cognitive reserve.

  • And there are your Japanese lessons too.

  • Neil: Well, so I am doing well as far as my cognitive reserve goes.

  • Sophie you've put my mind at rest.

  • Sophie: And if you put someone's mind at rest you stop them worrying.

  • Well, don't get too relaxed Neilyour brain needs constant stimulation, remember?

  • Neil: Hmm. I think I might just lie down after the show with a box of chocolates and today's crossword...

  • or maybe I'll memorize another shopping list... this time in Japanese.

  • Sophie: OK. I think it's time to hear the answer to today's quiz question.

  • I asked: How many neurons are there in the typical human brain?

  • Is it ... a) 8.6 billion b) 86 billion or c) 860 billion?

  • Neil: And I said a) 8.6 billion.

  • Sophie: I thought you were feeling clever today, Neil.

  • I'm afraid that's the wrong answer. It's b) 86 billion.

  • But do you know how scientists calculated that number?

  • Neil: Uh... did they have a guess, Sophie?

  • Sophie: No, not exactly. Apparently, the easiest way is to count how many neurons there are

  • in one part of the brain and then multiply that for the rest of the brain's volume.

  • Neil: Well, that's a lot of brain cells. OK, can we hear the words we learned today?

  • Sophie: They are:

  • bilingualism

  • brain training

  • neurons

  • stroke

  • executive functions

  • switches

  • resist

  • enhance

  • cognitive reserve

  • stimulate

  • put someone's mind at rest

  • Neil: Well, that's the end of today's 6 Minute English. Don't forget to join us again soon!

  • Both: Bye.

Sophie: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English. I'm Sophie.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 UK sophie brain cognitive stroke bilingual reserve

BBC 6 Minute English April 07, 2016 - Brain training

  • 5354 183
    Adam Huang posted on 2016/04/12
Video vocabulary