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The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a longitudinal study which follows the lives of 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1958. Also known as the 1958 Birth Cohort Study, it collects information on physical and educational development, economic circumstances, employment, family life, health behaviour, wellbeing, social participation and attitudes.

Since the birth survey in 1958, there have been nine further ‘sweeps’ of all cohort members at ages 7, 11, 16, 23, 33, 42, 46, 50 and 55. In 2003 (at age 45), 9,000 cohort members also participated in a special bio-medical survey to learn more about how development, environments and lifestyles affect people’s health. CLS will carry out a new survey of the NCDS cohort at age 60 in 2018.

NCDS is part of CLOSER (Cohort & Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources) which aims to maximise the use, value and impact of the UK’s longitudinal studies.

The 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70) follows the lives of more than 17,000 people born in England, Scotland and Wales in a single week of 1970. Over the course of cohort members lives, the BCS70 has collected information on health, physical, educational and social development, and economic circumstances among other factors.

Recruitment Period: 2004
Sample size at start or planned sample size if still recruiting: 16,122 (15,770 households included at Sweep 1; 352 ethnic boost interviews added at Sweep 4)
Estimated current sample size: 15,629
Age at recruitment: 13-14

Abstract
Next Steps (previously known as the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England – LSYPE) is a major innovative cohort study of young people. The study began in 2004 and included all young people in Year 9, aged between 13 and 14, who attended state and independent schools in England.

Next Steps is one of the main information sources for the formation and appraisal of policies relating to young people and will continue to be so for at least the next 10 years. The baseline data will be used to monitor the progress of the cohort group, evaluate the success of policies aimed at this group and provide an evidence base for further policy development. The study brings together data from a wide range of sources and reflects the variety of influences on learning and progression.

Following the initial survey at age 13-14, the cohort members were visited every year until 2010, when they were age 19-20. Young people were interviewed along with their parents up to sweep 4 (age 17).

The most recent survey took place in 2015/16, when the cohort members were 25 years old. It maintained the strong focus on education, but the content was broadened to become a more multi-disciplinary research resource. Data was collected about cohort members’ housing and family life, employment and economic circumstances, education and job training, physical and emotional health, and identity and participation. A wide range of administrative data linkage consents were collected in the domains of health, education, economics and criminal behaviour.

The West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study: ‘Health in the community’ was set up in 1986 in order to investigate the reasons for differences in health by socio-economic circumstances, gender, the place where people live, age, ethnic group and family type.

The basic design of the Study involved recruiting three cohorts (groups) of volunteers, each group born twenty years apart. Members of the oldest cohort were born around 1932, those in the middle cohort were born in 1952, and those in the youngest cohort were born in 1972. A total of 4,510 people agreed to take part, and have been followed for 20 years. The final wave of data collection was completed in 2008. This means that when the Study began (1987/8) participants were 15, 35 or 55 years old, and by the end of the Study (2007/8), participants were 35, 55 and 75 years old.
The data collected are extensive and include self-reported mental and physical health (including chronic conditions, medications, disabilities); physical measures; biomarkers; cognition; life circumstances (including employment, housing, family); health behaviours; beliefs, attitudes and values. The cohort is being followed up for mortality using linkage to national records. Any data on neurodegenerative disease are from self-reported health and / or death certificates.
A full description of the cohort profile is available in the following publication: Cohort Profile: West of Scotland 20-07 study: health in the community. International Journal of Epidemiology 2009;38:1215-23

Tracking Parkinson’s, or the PRoBaND study, is a UK-based study of Parkinson’s disease funded entirely by Parkinson’s UK.

There is a wide variation of symptoms and features of Parkinson’s driven by both genetic and external factors.  Our study aims to define and explain these variations by analysing the clinical expression of Parkinson’s in relation to genotypic variation. Tracking Parkinson’s is a multi-centre prospective longitudinal study, informed by epidemiological and biomarker data.

Participants were recruited into three categories:

  • Recent onset patients (diagnosed within the last three years) are followed up at 6-month intervals for four years, then every 18-months for a further three years.
  • Early onset (patients diagnosed before the age of 50) were followed up at one year.
  • Relatives (siblings) of the participants are followed up after three years.

Since 2012, we have been running at 70 sites across the UK.  Recruitment closed in November 2017 and our cohort consists of 2,270 people with Parkinson’s and 344 of their siblings.

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde is the study Sponsor and the coordinating study centre is based at the Institute of Neuroscience & Psychology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

The Whitehall II Study was established in 1985 to investigate the importance of socioeconomic circumstances for health by following a cohort of working men and women aged 35-55 at enrolment. Participants have taken part in twelve data collection phases, seven of which have included a medical screening. The aim of the study is to understand the causes of age-related heterogeneity in health.

By combining the existing 30 years of data on social circumstances, risk factors and chronic disease with new clinical measures of cognitive function, mental disorders and physical functioning, Whitehall II has been transformed interdisciplinary study of ageing. In addition to providing insights into individual and social differences in the development of frailty, disability, dependence, and dementia, the study helps in the determination of optimal time windows and targets for interventions that maximise the potential for healthy-ageing and independent living.

The Scottish Health Survey (SHeS) provides a detailed picture of the health of the Scottish population in private households and is designed to make a major contribution to the monitoring of health in Scotland.
The series aims to:
• estimate the occurrence of particular health conditions
• estimate the prevalence of certain risk factors associated with health
• look at differences between regions and between subgroups of the population
• monitor trends in the population’s health over time
• make a major contribution to monitoring progress towards health targets

The Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS) is a large-scale linkage study created using data from administrative and statistical sources. These include: census data from 1991 onwards; vital events data (births, deaths, marriages); NHS Central Register data (gives information on migration into or out of Scotland); and education data (including Schools Census and SQA data).

UK Biobank is a major national health resource, and a registered charity in its own right, with the aim of improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses – including cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, eye disorders, depression and forms of dementia.

500,000 people aged between 40-69 years were recruited in 2006-2010 from across the country to take part in this project. They have undergone measures, provided blood, urine and saliva samples for future analysis, detailed information about themselves and agreed to have their health followed. The cohort is primarily followed through data linkage but the cohort was re-contacted in 2012-13 with a further 100,000 to be approached over the next few years.

On 1st June 1932, as part of the Scottish Mental Survey, 87,498 Scottish schoolchildren born in 1921 sat the same test of mental ability: the Moray House Test. In 1997, the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh began to search for men and women still living in Scotland who took part in these tests.
On 1st June 1998, about 80 individuals gathered in the Aberdeen Music Hall to re-sit the test exactly 66 years later. Participants were followed-up 5 times over a 10 year period.

Aberdeen University has followed all of the children born in Aberdeen in 1921, 1936 (see Aberdeen Birth Cohort 1936) and 1950-1956 (see Aberdeen Children of the 1950’s) as they grow and age.
Collectively these groups are known as the ABERDEEN BIRTH COHORTS, and have helped to advance our understanding of aging well.

Over the years, researchers have linked the results from these tests to health and social information.
The linked data has been used to answer questions like:
• Does being born very small affect mental health later in life?
• Is the risk of dementia related to childhood intelligence?
• What influences quality of life in old-age?
Participants born in 1921 and 1936 have been invited back for a wide variety of studies at the University. Similar research is being started for the Children of the 1950’s group.