In Corpore Sano: Health and Humanities

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Conference Proceeding

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This conference paper was originally published as:

Gordon, J. (2005). In Corpore Sano: Health and humanities. In E. Probyn, A. Shoemaker, & S. Muecke (Eds.), Creating value: The humanities and their publics. Paper presented at the Australian Academy of the Humanities Symposium, Old Parliament House, Canberra, 17-18 November (pp. 75-81). Canberra, Australia: Australian Academy of the Humanities.

ISBN: 9780909897598


111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified


One of the many links between health and humanities is illustrated by a wonderful example of inter-disciplinary research at the University of Kentucky. This longitudinal study of nuns’ health and cognitive ability has particular relevance for humanities scholars because it suggests that sustained imaginative and creative activity is associated with longevity. The association may be explained by the fact that individuals endowed with richer, more redundant, less error-prone neuronal structures live longer and are less susceptible to dementia in later life. Alternatively, or in addition to this explanation, it is possible that regular ‘neurobic’ exercise exerts a protective effect. In either case the Academy might well consider an addition to its twelve goals, namely to contribute to the personal health and well-being of Academy fellows by fostering their research and teaching.


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