First they stole our coach …

February 23, 2009

… and now this.

“It used to be that 678 nuns, all School Sisters of Notre Dame to be specific, noted for their dedication to their creator first and education second, used to speak with some levity about their impending deaths.

“When we die,” they’d say, “our souls go straight to God, our brains to the University of Kentucky.”

As of late last year, their brains are going elsewhere. The Nun Study, the nation’s most famous investigation into Alzheimer’s disease, has moved back to the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus, where it began, since study originator and UK researcher David Snowdon has decided to retire.”

Well, actually, no one is stealing anyone’s brains or research.  This is but an orderly progression or transition, and is being done at the request of the nuns’ order:

“The University of Kentucky tried hard to retain the brain and tissue banks, the writings and archive records when Snowdon decided that he would apply for no more National Institutes of Health grants for his work.

But, ultimately, says UK vice president for research James W. Tracy, “the living sisters have control over the collection. The mother house of their order is in Minnesota and the work was begun there. They are closer to the collection there.””

But still, I mean, first Tubby, and now the Nun Study.  It seems as if MN has it in for KY?

This study was (is) pretty influential in helping us understand Alzheimer’s disease:

“Dr. William R. Markesbery, director of both the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and the Alzheimer Disease Center, says the Nun Study has so far yielded two things of great consequence.

First, “we’ve learned that if you have the disease and superimposed stroke, you go downhill faster. Second, if you have low linguistic ability early in life … you are more likely to develop the disease later in life.””

For more on The Nun Study, visit this site.