(May 7, 2001) -- The Nun
Study, housed at the University of Kentucky Sanders-Brown
Center on Aging, has hit the national spotlight in a big way.
The study is the
cover story of Time
magazine this week and on the cover of the New
York Times today. Stories
also will appear on various national news programs in the coming
The study, which is
led by David Snowdon, Ph.D., professor of neurology in the UK
College of Medicine, is in the national – and international
– spotlight as a result of
Snowdon’s new book, Aging With
Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer,
Healthier and More Meaningful Lives.
In the book, Snowdon
offers a behind-the-scenes look at this landmark scientific study
and the women who made it possible.
The book will be available tomorrow, May 8.
Since 1986, Snowdon
has led an ongoing research program that is profoundly changing
the way we view aging. Known
as the Nun Study, Snowdon’s project involves 678 members of the
School Sisters of Notre Dame religious congregation in seven
convents across the United States.
The sisters, who range in age from 75 to 106, have allowed
unprecedented access to their personal and medical histories and
undergo rigorous annual mental and physical testing.
remarkably, each nun also has pledged to donate her brain for
Snowdon’s research after she dies.
With one of the largest pools of brain donors in the world,
the Nun Study has yielded groundbreaking information about what we
can do to help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and live active,
productive lives well into old age.
“Aging is not the
cause of the health problems of old age,” Snowdon writes.
“Disease is the culprit.”
studies of the brains of those who have died, and through
painstaking assessments of genetics, education, lifestyle, diet,
personality differences — and even the number of dental fillings
a sister has — the Nun Study has untangled important clues to a
longer, healthier life.
science and a practical plan for prevention, Aging
With Grace shows that old age does not mean an inevitable
slide into illness and disability; rather it can be a time of
promise and productivity, intellectual and spiritual vigor — a
time of true grace.
One of the world’s
leading experts on Alzheimer’s disease, Snowdon has presented
his findings at scientific conferences throughout North America
and Europe and has been published in such major medical journals
as The Journal of the
American Medical Association and The
Journal of Gerontology. Half
of Dr. Snowdon’s proceeds from Aging
With Grace will be donated to the School Sisters of Notre
The Nun Study is
funded primarily through grants from the National Institute on