Alzheimer's and Education

Kim kn.green at nospamvirgin.net
Thu Jun 26 09:57:12 EST 2003

Its called the "Nun study".

Here are 2 abstracts which discus what you heard:

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 Apr;903:34-8. 
Linguistic ability in early life and the neuropathology of Alzheimer's 
disease and cerebrovascular disease. Findings from the Nun Study.

Snowdon DA, Greiner LH, Markesbery WR.

Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, College of Medicine, University of 
Kentucky, Lexington 40536-0230, USA.

Findings from the Nun Study indicate that low linguistic ability in early 
life has a strong association with dementia and premature death in late 
life. In the present study, we investigated the relationship of 
linguistic ability in early life to the neuropathology of Alzheimer's 
disease and cerebrovascular disease. The analyses were done on a subset 
of 74 participants in the Nun Study for whom we had handwritten 
autobiographies completed some time between the ages of 19 and 37 (mean = 
23 years). An average of 62 years after writing the autobiographies, when 
the participants were 78 to 97 years old, they died and their brains were 
removed for our neuropathologic studies. Linguistic ability in early life 
was measured by the idea (proposition) density of the autobiographies, 
i.e., a standard measure of the content of ideas in text samples. Idea 
density scores from early life had strong inverse correlations with the 
severity of Alzheimer's disease pathology in the neocortex: Correlations 
between idea density scores and neurofibrillary tangle counts were -0.59 
for the frontal lobe, -0.48 for the temporal lobe, and -0.49 for the 
parietal lobe (all p values < 0.0001). Idea density scores were unrelated 
to the severity of atherosclerosis of the major arteries at the base of 
the brain and to the presence of lacunar and large brain infarcts. Low 
linguistic ability in early life may reflect suboptimal neurological and 
cognitive development, which might increase susceptibility to the 
development of Alzheimer's disease pathology in late life.


J Am Geriatr Soc. 1996 Jun;44(6):675-81. 

Age, education, and changes in the Mini-Mental State Exam scores of older 
women: findings from the Nun Study.

Butler SM, Ashford JW, Snowdon DA.

Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, University of Kentucky, Lexington 40536-
0230, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the relationship of Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) 
scores and changes over time in MMSE scores to age and education in a 
population of older women. DESIGN: A prospective study of a defined 
population. SETTING: Various motherhouses and church-run health care 
facilities in the Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern regions of the United 
States. PARTICIPANTS: Catholic sisters (nuns) participating in the Nun 
Study, a study of aging and Alzheimer's Disease. The 678 participants 
were 75 to 102 years old (mean 83.3, standard deviation 5.5, median 82.3) 
at the time of the first functional assessment. Second assessments were 
obtained an average of 1.6 years later on 575 survivors. MEASUREMENTS: 
The outcome variables were MMSE scores at the first assessment (Time-
one), and MMSE scores at the second assessment (Time-two). The 
independent variables were age at Time-one, and education (bachelor's 
degree or no bachelor's degree). RESULTS: Time-one MMSE scores decreased 
with age at Time-one. The decrease in MMSE scores with age was less in 
sisters with bachelor's degrees than in sisters without bachelor's 
degrees. The changes in MMSE scores had a "U-shaped" relationship with 
Time-one score, where the greatest declines occurred in sisters with 
intermediate Time-one scores. Stratified analysis by age, education, and 
Time-one MMSE scores of 20 or greater because of the small numbers of 
sisters with Time-one scores less than 20. In sisters with Time-one MMSE 
scores in the categories 20 to 23, 24 to 26, or 27 to 30, older ages at 
Time-one were associated with greater decline in those with bachelor's 
degrees, but not in those without bachelor's degrees. Also, lower 
education was associated with greater decline in sisters aged 75 to 84 
years at Time-one, but this education effect disappeared or reversed in 
sisters who were 85 years of age or older at Time-one. CONCLUSIONS: 
Cognitive function as measured by the MMSE decreased with age at Time-
one, most steeply as a function of age in those without bachelor's 
degrees. Cognitive function declined over 1.6 years within individuals, 
and the extent of decline increased with age in the sisters with 
bachelor's degrees. The extent of decline varied with age and education 
in an interactive manner, which may have been attributable to a hardy 
survivor effect in lower educated sisters. It may be necessary to 
consider such interactions whenever changes in function are studied, 
particularly when analyses are stratified by the initial level of 

"KP_PC" <k.p.collins at worldnet.att.net> wrote in news:OLBKa.22599
$3o3.1730234 at bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net:

> I caught a Report on a study that has found
> an inverse correlation between Education
> and Alzheimer's on National Public Radio
> [NPR] =Morning Edition= this morning.
> Unfortunately, I was driving home from night-
> shift "K. P.", so I didn't take notes, and I don't
> recall the details of where the study is Published.
> I went to the NPR web site, but can't stream
> the report on my slow connection.
> Anyway, the report was on a long-term
> study of Catholic Nuns and Priests, and
> emphasized Education [despite the fact
> that this group has more-prominant exper-
> iential correlates], but I'll discuss it from
> the perspective of NDT.
> The report said that no significant correl-
> ation was found between quantities of
> "proteins" [presumabley, "plaques"] in the
> brains of those studied, but there was a
> strong correlation with respect to educat-
> ional 'level' experienced.
> From NDT's position, what is happening
> is that Education, which constitutes rela-
> tive experiential wide-ranging-ness, enables
> a nervous system to achieve TD E/I-mini-
> mization relatively-more-often, and rel-
> atively-more-robustly than is the case for
> nervous systems that do not experience
> the wide-rangingness of robust Education.
> I've discussed all of this in former posts.
> Degree of 'randomness' impacts 3-D
> energydynamics' 'addressing' at the
> molecular 'level' - elevated 'randomness'
> will tend to result in incomplete protein
> transcription, which will lead to the build-
> up of "plaques".
> The "insignificant protein" quantity differ-
> ential is, therefore, curious to me, and I
> call on the Researchers to do qualitative
> Analyses to see if there are significant
> molecular differentials within the "insig-
> nificant" quantitative differentials.
> My own Analysis is that there should be
> a decectable qualitative differential be-
> cause Educated brains tend to consume
> less energy in 'states' of elevated 'random-
> ness', simply be-cause their more-widely-
> ranging experience allows them to achieve
> TD I/I-minimization relatively-more-often, and
> relatively-more-robustly.
> This leads me to expect that there should be
> a significant qualitative differential that's
> detectable. It's possible, though, as I've
> 'surmised' in a post not too long ago that
> this differential has an ionic-gate basis.
> Anyway, I'd used the Educational method
> with my Dad for the 17 years he Lived after
> my <pm Died - always after him to read
> newspapers and magazines, start the next
> project in his woodworking shop, get-out,
> maintain his home, etc.
> It's 'just' Common Sense that widely-
> ranging, activeness, =has-to= Exercise
> one's nervous system in a way that main-
> tains nervous system functionality.
> This study's results Confirm that, but they
> didn't find the underpinning differential.
> I encourage the Researchers to Seek-it-
> out.
> The other thing is that it's necessary to do
> a comparison study controlled for Educa-
> tional 'level' and look at other factors in
> the Religious Lives led by the subjects of
> this study.
> One factor that is Certain to be correlated
> is the 'centering'-effect of Faith, which, all
> by itself, tends strongly to minimize relative-
> 'randomness' be-cause, no matter what
> comes-up, a Faith-Filled Person has
> Recourse in-Faith - such doesn't 'resolve'
> anything that comes-up, but such does tend
> to minimize TD E/I because Faith allows
> an individual to "let-go, and let-God" 'handle'
> this or that that would, otherwise, augment
> into 'worry's elevated TD E/I.
> I really =wish= I could talk to the Researchers.
> Explain these things in-detail, in the context of
> their findings.
> Related matter:
> "Tax Cut Casualties", By BOB HERBERT
> http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/26/opinion/26HERB.html
> The Slaying of Educational Opportunity for
> our Impoverished Young Folks.
> Consider such in Light of the study discussed
> above, and the probable ramifications with
> respect to future health costs [and with respect
> to the entirety of my former discussion of the
> Ramifications of Forced withholding of the
> means to attain Education's wide-ranging
> experience [with respect to Addirmative Action].]
> Not only will This Nation lose the Productivity
> that'd extend from helping these Young Folks
> attain Education, She will accure augmented
> Criminal-Justice Expenses, and, now, Obviously,
> Health Care Expenses.
> Greed Run-Amok works such "Inverted'-'miracles'.
> Stupidity-on-the-hoof: "Hey, let's fill our pockets
> by cutting out these Educational expenses."
> "Yeah, sure."
> Their Children will Suffer the Consequences
> of their Short-Sightedness - and so will the
> Entriety of This Nation.
> Wake up!
> K. P. Collins

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