Brain Communication: A lifetime

Ana Inés Ansaldo

Dr. Ana Inés Ansaldo is Director of the Laboratory of Brain Plasticity, Communication and Aging at the Research Centre of the Geriatric University Institute of Montreal and a full professor at the School of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology of the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal.
Michèle Sirois

Formerly a nurse in Quebec and Switzerland, she is now a theater, television and film actress, therapeutic clown, author and host of the TV show Ère Libre on MAtv, dedicated to the 50+.

Communication is an essential characteristic of human beings, as it allows us to stay connected to each other. It is a lifelong skill that is supported by brain function. However, natural changes in brain function during aging can affect the ability to communicate and alter the quality of life of older adults. Dr. Ana Inés Ansaldo has always placed importance on educating the public about communication issues during the aging process. In this series, she emphasizes the need to maintain the communication link for the elderly, regardless of their cognitive health status.

1- What is communication?

In this podcast, we will discover that beyond words and the exchange of ideas and emotions, communication fulfills an even more fundamental need... that of being connected to one's peers. Verbal, non-verbal, emotional communication, mirror neurons, do you know anything about these? We think we know everything about communication, but Dr. Ana Inés Ansaldo brings a captivating perspective while handling the complexity with real simplicity.

Durée: 25:19.

Listen to the first episode in French here

2- Communication and the aging brain

As we age, how does our communication behave? What changes occur that sometimes make it difficult for us to communicate well? Our brain certainly has its share of responsibility. But are there other components, outside of us, that could also interfere with our performance as communicators? Does stress have a role to play in our communication performance? Can changes in our social roles as we age also influence our communication skills? Does the need to communicate remain as strong as we age?

Duration: 34:05.

Listen to the second episode in French here

3- Bilingualism to the brain’s rescue

In this episode, Michèle Sirois explores the benefits of bilingualism for our brain. Dr. Ana Inés Ansaldo, who speaks several languages herself, sheds light on how the brain functions when it is bilingual. The subject is fascinating, the benefits are numerous and could even delay Alzheimer's disease.

Duration: 29:58.

Listen to the third episode in French here

4- Communicating when words are gone

Every 3 seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder, such as Alzheimer's disease. Every 3 seconds, there is a father, mother, spouse, sister, or friend who is robbed of their words. How does a neurocognitive disorder affect language? What are the direct causes? How to communicate by putting forward emotions?. This podcast is intended for loved ones who may become discouraged and stop communicating (visiting) with their loved one because he or she no longer recognizes them or has no more exchanges.

Duration: 35:31

Listen to the fourth episode in French here

5- Technology to the rescue of emotional communication

Communication attitude is important. Moreover, it is now possible to rely on technologyto support communication. Dr. Ana Inés Ansaldo laboratory has developed a technological tool to help family members and caregivers generate positive emotions while communicating with a person living with severe communication impairments It is called COMPAs, an application that brings together images, music and videos of significant moments in the life of the person with the disease. It's as if the patient's library, music library and favorite photo albums were all in one place, on an iPad application.

Duration: 30:23

Listen to the fifth episode in French here

Ana Inés Ansaldo’s participation

"Révolution Bilingue", the monthly podcast produced by French Morning and presented by Fabrice Jaumont, focuses on the brain. Over the past decade, research on the effects of bilingualism on the frontal lobe functional role has progressed significantly. Fabrice Jaumont welcomes Ana Ines Ansaldo, to discuss about this and other related matters. Her team’s work at University of Montreal has shown that bilinguals are more resistant to cognitive aging than monolinguals. There are still many scientific controversies about the real effects of bilingualism on the brain, but thanks to the work of researchers such as Professor Ansaldo and many others a consensus is emerging that bilingualism provides cognitive benefits that go far beyond the mere mastery of two or more languages.
You can listen to the podcast by locating episode 2 click here.