Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives

Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives

by David Snowdon

Dubbed the Nun Study because it involves a unique population of 678 Catholic sisters, this remarkable long-term research project has made headlines worldwide with its provocative discoveries.Yet Aging with Grace is more than a groundbreaking health and science book.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • Rating: 4.10
  • Pages: 256
  • Publish Date: April 30th 2002 by Bantam
  • Isbn10: 0553380923
  • Isbn13: 9780553380927

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I found this book to be far more interesting than I had projected, learning much about Alzheimer's Disease in it's pages and about healthy lifestyle.

Ya, pero el libro no es de religión, sino que de salud, y de estas señoras que DIERON SU CEREBRO A LA CIENCIA. Es decir, hay monjas que tenían un cerebro terrible pero que en los exámenes lo hacían bien, y viceversa. Un cerebro puede compensar los estragos del Alzhemier y lograr que su dueño viva bien, pero no puede compensar los pequeños derrames que vienen de la falta de deporte (por las arterias tapadas). Eso, tanto como interesante, es un poco trágico, porque muchas de las monjas profesoras podían dedicarse a eso GRACIAS a las otras que dedicaron su vida a planchar y coser y cocinar, y que simplemente duraron menos. Una parte escalofriante de este tratado (o como se llame) es que SE PUEDE PREDECIR ya a los 18 años quién va a tener y quién no va a tener Alzheimer o olvidos, con un 90% de certeza. Las monjas que usaron un lenguaje más optimista y más amplio, a la hora de escribir su postulación al servicio terminaron viviendo SIEMPRE MÁS, y MEJOR, y entonces uno querría mandar a todo el mundo a leer y a escribir y a hacer deporte y cosas alegres, para prolongar la calidad de su salud, pero por qué hay personas que son así desde el principio? Como dije antes, será que simplemente sus biologías son más saludables desde el comienzo y ESO es un reflejo de ello? Esta hermana, que prefiere llevar un velo con ropa normal, era una de las personas más alegres que conocí en Villa Assumpta, un convento cercano a Baltimore, en el que residen unas cien religiosas. Esta ex profesora de inglés, vivaz y de baja estatura, no sólo gozaba de buena salud física, sino que durante el año anterior había leído una novela de éxito ("La mujer del piloto"), las memorias del padre George Durme y casi todos los dominicales del The New York Times. La hermana Genevieve me confesó que no sabía qué decirle, pero pensó que se merecía una respuesta. (Una idea interesante y también injusta, pero es que la vida tampoco es justa, blablabla).

Science with a human face: Thats what Aging with Grace (2001) delivers in a 219-page book that presents both high-tech research with heart-felt stories of aging nuns who agree to participate in a longitudinal study of the human brain by epidemiologist/author David Snowdon, PhD. Snowdons conversational style and his descriptions of inspiring nuns in the study ranging in age from 74 - 106 kept me turning the pages.

While it isnt a particularly well-written book, it is a very fast easy read and is full of lots of data concerning Alzheimers and dementia in the ageing, specifically a large group of nuns that agreed to participate in this scientist's and author's study.

The author, Dr. Snowdon, did a nice job of explaining the design and results of the study while also keeping it human and personal; the anecdotes about various nuns were inspiring and touching.

She said she knows many of the sisters enrolled in this work.

But don't underestimate Snowdon's ability to write two books at once. Over 12 chapters, the book covers a range of Alzheimer's issues: childhood influences on cognition, baseline testing (MMSE), Braak staging, biomarkers (amyloid and tau), intersections with other diseases (strokes, heart disease, depression, diabetes), nutritional influences (aluminum, folates), genetic makers (APOE), exercise, life-long learning, social engagement, and more. This book gives readers much hope that they can stave off some of the disability from dementia by being life-long learners, practicing good nutrition, taking a positive outlook on life, exercising, and staying socially engaged.

The author summarizes a study done on a group of nuns who had written short personal history essays as young women entering the convent and decades later as elderly women agreed to be studied for effects on aging.

I hope to be as fortunate as them to have an inkling of that kind of community when I'm ninety years old, but to do that, I realize I must start growing it now.

His first published work, Too Young To Die was published in August 2006 and his second novel, The Mind of a Genius was published in November 2007.