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In 1986, epidemiologist Dr. David Snowdon embarked on a revolutionary scientific study that would forever change the way we view aging and old age. Dubbed the “Nun Study” because it involves a unique population of 678 Catholic sisters, this remarkable long-term research project remains today at the forefront of some of the world’s most significant research on aging. This remarkable book by one of the world’s leading experts on Alzheimer’s disease combines fascinating high-tech research on the brain with the heartfelt story of the aging nuns. Ranging in age from 75 to 104, these remarkable women have allowed Dr. Snowdon access to their medical and personal records and they have agreed to donate their brains upon death. The bright, articulate, and altruistic women examined here have much to teach us about how we grow old–and how it can be done with grace.
Winner, The Christopher Award (awards works that "affirm the highest values of the human spirit")
Praise for Aging With Grace...
"An easily accessible, highly readable account of Snowdon et al's longitudinal research on nuns. This book would provide an excellent case study for social gerontology students. Snowdon also communicates his unique personal relationship with his subjects, so rather than being an impersonal scientific study, Aging With Grace offers another option for interacting with one's research subjects. I would consider using this book for my social gerontology class."—Professor Anna Looney, Sociology Dept., Rutgers University
“The Nun Study represents an absolutely unique American treasure and resource for all of us. The gems that Dr. Snowdon and his colleagues have unearthed will not only change the way you look at yourself and the aging people around you, they’ll serve as catalysts for aging research for many years to come.”—Ronald Petersen, Ph.D., M.D., Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Mayo Clinic
"David Snowdon leads us through the enthralling scientific, but also very personal journey that he has been taking with the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The revelations along the way show us there is so much we can all do to alter for the better how we age, and ultimately how long we live. It is a journey not to be missed!"—Thomas Perls M.D., M.P.H., Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
"This is an ideal population to study, for it is carefully controlled: income is not a factor, all the subjects are nonsmokers, and all have similar access to diet, healthcare, and housing. Snowdon writes with empathy and affection of these sisters, who also generously agreed to donate their brains for postmortem pathological studies.... Blending personal histories with scientific fact, this inspirational and fascinating look at growing older is highly recommended."—Library Journal
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. The Road to Good Counsel Hill; 2. The Last Nun Standing; 3. Gray Matters; 4. The Greatest Gift; 5. A Tale of Two Sisters; 6.Amazing Brains; 7. One with the Words; 8. Family Ties; 9. The Heart of the Matter; 10. Our Daily Bread; 11. Up and Grateful; 12. The Hundred-Year Marathon; About the Nun Study; About the School Sisters of Notre Dame; About the Author