Why nuns are donating their brains

Uploaded by UniversityofMinn on 25.03.2009

The School Sisters of Notre Dame - Mankato, is one of five SSND provincial homes
across the United States, and the original home base of "the nun study."
Most of the sisters who live at the province, called Good Council,
return after a life of mission work.
But their mission is not over, the fact is, sisters never really retire.
Obviously the School Sisters of Notre Dame have a long history of being educators,
so their desire was to be able to educate in death, as well as in life.
It's not exactly the setting you'd have in mind for a groundbreaking research study.
Well, personally I feel rather privileged in a way, maybe honored to a certain degree
that I am able to participate in this study.
One of our 96 year olds said recently,
"I just wish they would ask me different questions every year,"
so I think it gives you a clue what kind of shape her brain is in.
Even by the time the sisters retire, many are in extraordinarily good shape.
They volunteer, teach, and participate in art activities.
In short, they keep themselves busy.
It reinforces the nun study's original findings:
lifestyle plays a role in healthy cognitive function.
It's endless, of what could happen, and we feel
like we're making one little tiny contribution in that.
And yet, it could be a significant contribution.
I always say, well if they are really doing something with the brain,
I'm going to go to heaven brainless.