By Paola Bassanese
Rita Levi Montalcini was a Nobel Prize winner and her medical research work was awarded in 1986.
She died at the tender age of 103 working until her very last day. She credited her healthy eating and living regime and her superior intelligence for her longevity. Thin and with sparkly blue eyes, she had a strict routine consisting of light meals, little rest and plenty of work.
Focused and dedicated, she preferred not to have a family or get married. She graduated in medicine in 1936 during the worst time for women (and humanity in general) surviving all sorts of prejudice.
Her research on nerve growth factor continues and it will help in the exploration and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
She inspired the concept for the Veronesi Foundation for cancer research. Three years ago, when questioned about death and illness, she declared that she was not afraid of death because she was living in her mind, not in her body.