Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nuns Study Writes Book On Good Habits

April 30, 2007
Creighton University
More than 30 nuns gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of a study they participated in, which was pivotal to our modern-day knowledge about women's bone health and osteoporosis.

Left to right: Sr. Cecelia Polt, Dr. Robert Recker, Sr. Dorothy Koenig, Dr. Robert Heaney, Sr. Madeline Mary, Susan Recker, Rita Ryan and Sr. Bernardine Beckman. All were involved with the Omaha Nuns Project as researchers or study volunteers.
Credit: Image courtesy of Creighton University

In 1967, 168 Catholic nuns from the Omaha area met with Creighton University officials to serve a higher cause. Another 24 joined them ten years later. And, every five years, these women faithfully returned to Creighton’s St. Joseph Hospital (now Creighton University Medical Center) for eight days and nine nights.

Related Articles

But this was no spiritual journey. The women – representing six mother houses and all between the ages of 35 and 45 when they started – were participants in what would become known as the Omaha Nuns Study.

On Wednesday, April 25, 32 of the original study participants, along with many of the Creighton researchers, nurses and others involved gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the study, which was pivotal to our modern-day knowledge about women’s bone health and osteoporosis.

The nuns laughed, shared memories and some even got milk mustaches, courtesy of the American Dairy Association/Dairy Council of Nebraska to highlight the important role calcium plays in osteoporosis prevention.

“The project, because of the number of participants and the length of the study, literally wrote the book on the operation of the calcium economy in mid-life women,” said Robert P. Heaney, M.D., John A. Creighton University Professor, who designed and directed the project.

It also established Creighton as an international leader in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, noted Robert Recker, M.D., director of Creighton’s Osteoporosis Research Center.

For the study, the nuns would eat the same foods in exactly the same portions every day for eight days. The diets were designed to match, within 5 percent, their usual food intake in terms of calories, protein, calcium and phosphorus. Creighton researchers then meticulously gathered data to identify factors that influenced how the women’s bodies absorbed calcium, utilized it and excreted it.

The project enjoyed continuous federal funding from 1967 until 1995, and was one of the longest-running, continually supported projects in the history of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Recker noted. It provided the principal scientific basis for NIH recommendations for adult calcium intake.

Among the findings resulting from the Creighton research: Healthy adult women in midlife require 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day; and calcium absorption is influenced by such factors as body size, vitamin D, estrogen levels, age, race, calcium source and other nutrient interactions.

Although the eight-day inpatient studies ended in 1992, the women – now in their 70s and 80s – continue coming to Creighton for calcium absorption measurements and bone-density scans.

As for the next 40 years, The Catherine M. Recker and Matthew Pappajohn Endowed Osteoporosis Research Fund, has been established by Recker’s daughter and son-in law. Among other things, the endowment would support laboratory and clinical research, train future researchers and provide ongoing patient care and treatment for those with osteoporosis.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Creighton University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Creighton University. "Nuns Study Writes Book On Good Habits." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070429105854.htm>.
Creighton University. (2007, April 30). Nuns Study Writes Book On Good Habits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070429105854.htm
Creighton University. "Nuns Study Writes Book On Good Habits." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070429105854.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This

More From ScienceDaily

More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins