Gynaecology An exhaustive epidemiological study by F. Gagnon based on 3,280 Canadian nuns, which found no cancers of the uterine cervix, confirming Rigoni-Stern’s 1842 observation that cervical cancer is linked to sexual activity.
Neurology A study in which linguistic ability in early life and cognitive function and Alzheimer’s disease in late life were compared in a religious order—the School Sisters of Notre Dame
Snowdon's 2001 book, Aging With Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives, was based on that research and drew immense attention to Alzheimer's disease.
A particularly powerful study along those lines is called either the Nun study or the Religious Orders study, in which individuals have been in a known and relatively controlled environment their entire lives.
The former urban planner for the city of Chicago was originally inspired to focus on women religious in this, her first feature film, by the book Aging With Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives by David Snowdon, who studied aging and Alzheimer's in religious sisters.
David Snowdon, expert on aging and director of the Nun Study, a widely acclaimed Alzheimer's study, will deliver the keynote address to clinicians attending the 2005 Issues in Aging Medical Congress, July 14-17, 2005 in New Orleans.