When you receive the Seal your thinking changes because your mind is sealed. Several hundred nuns are allowing science to study their thinking while they are alive and after they are dead too.
20 years ago, 678 nuns of the School Sisters of Notre Dame agreed to participate in what is known as the Nun Study. They minds and bodies were tested and the results recorded so science could learn more about aging.
Most of the nuns have died and there are fewer than 100 left. So a lot has been learned already about aging. Sadly, about half of the nuns developed some level of dementia.
About half is comparable to the number of people in the rest of the population who develop some kind of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Those who remained intellectually healthy into old age are good indicators of what can help to prevent dementia.
When they die, each of these nuns has donated her brain to science. The brains will be studied, since Alzheimer’s disease must be studied in a brain of a person who has already died.
The nuns see what they are doing as serving society long after they have died. Many of them were teachers for most of their lives, and they believe they can keep on teaching after they die.
They say God will take their soul, but science can take their brain. One researcher started this study and has been doing it for 20 years, devoting his life to it. Other researchers say it is a valuable study.
He has been able to compare the chemical make-up of brains of those with dementia and those without. He has been able to conclude that a head injury can quicken the onset of Alzheimer’s for those who are already likely to develop it.
He has also found that those nuns who tended to think positively also tended to live longer, along with those who were eloquent speakers and writers–they lived longer too.
One reason this study is so valuable is that it takes a large number of subjects with practically identical backgrounds. The nuns all ate the same meals for most of their lives.
They also got similar medical treatment and their sexual activity was the same. The only thing that varied greatly was their minds and how they used them, even though most of them had been teachers.
The researcher, Dr David Snowdon, gave memory and thinking tests to each of the nuns on an annual basis. That was a full-time job for years. Then many of them died, and now there are fewer nuns to test but more brains to analyze.
Dementia and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented in many people. The basics for maintaining health are necessary–getting your vegetables (and fruits) and exercise, and challenging your mind.
Also there are a lot of links between heart health and the health of the mind. To prevent dementia, keep your cholesterol and blood pressure low. And quit smoking if you have not already.
You can push back the number of years before you get dementia even if you have a genetic predisposition to it. And researchers say the mind will keep learning long into old age, even after memory loss occurs.
When you are sealed God will change the way you think, and you will change your thinking too, since your mind is what is sealed. So if you can you will want to prevent dementia when you receive the Seal.