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Since 1986, the author, an epidemiologist, has directed a research project dubbed the Nun Study. According to Snowdon, who previously studied Seventh-Day Adventists, religious group members make ideal subjects because of their similar and somewhat insular lives. Specifically, he has been tracking the lives of 678 elderly nuns who are members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, to assess the effects of aging. Snowdon describes in detail a pilot study he conducted with the sisters in Mankato, Wis., on the link between level of education and disabilities related to aging. This initial research convinced him to expand his base to other convents and to focus primarily on Alzheimer's disease. The participants, ranging in age from 75 to 104, agreed to provide access to their medical and personal histories and, after death, to donate their brain tissue to the project. What distinguishes this study is Snowdon's decision not to maintain the usual "objective" distance from his subjects but rather to become emotionally involved with them. His commitment to treat them with "care and respect" is readily apparent in the many warm and sympathetic anecdotes and his expression of deeply felt grief when any of the sisters becomes incapacitated by Alzheimer's or dies. Among the project's findings is a clear correlation between a low rate of Alzheimer's and high linguistic ability. Snowdon has also found a positive relationship between the consumption of certain antioxidants (e.g., lycopene, found in pink grapefruit, tomatoes and watermelon), an exercise program and an optimistic outlook and aging successfully. Although the study is still under way, readers will certainly appreciate the early insights to be gleaned from Snowdon's human- (rather than statistic-) centered and compassionate story.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Since 1986, the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato, MN, have opened their lives, personal histories, and medical records in an extraordinary way, thereby offering researchers a unique view of Alzheimer's and aging. Snowdon, a professor of neurology and director of the Nun Study at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky Medical Center, have studied this population of 678 Catholic sisters, some of whom have remained active and lucid all their lives while others have become demented. 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. From this research, Snowdon explains, it emerged that pathological changes did not always correlate with observable changes, that linguistic ability seems to protect against Alzheimer's, that prevention of stroke and heart diseases can help avoid dementia, and that heredity, diet, and exercise also play a part. Blending personal histories with scientific fact, this inspirational and fascinating look at growing older is highly recommended. [Snowden's research was recently profiled in a cover story in Time magazine. Ed.] Jodith Janes, Cleveland Clinic Fdn.
- Jodith Janes, Cleveland Clinic Fdn.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I ordered two copies of Aging with Grace and I am still waiting for one copy to arrive, so I will decline from making any comments until I have received the second copy.Published on April 26 2011 by Amazon Customer
David Snowdon's Aging with Grace is the first book on a clinical topic I have been unable to put down. Read morePublished on Nov. 16 2003 by K. Dellaria
A good friend of mine lent this book to me. Although I do not have a family member who has dementia, I thought this book was well written, that the stories were compellingly told,... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2002
Snowdon stands well on the shoulders of others, and he effects a delightful presentation of their findings. Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2002
This is an excellent, exciting book to read on the realities and humanistic elements to conducting a research study. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2002 by Dale Avers
I eagerly looked forward to find out the causes of dementia, like the Alzheimer's disease, and the idea to study a homogeneous group - nuns - for scientific reasons appealed to me. Read morePublished on Aug. 25 2001 by Damienn D
At the age of 59 I was slightly afraid of what I would find out when I read this book. Instead, I was encouraged by Dr. Read morePublished on July 30 2001