On 4th June 1947, as part of the Scottish Mental Survey, every Scottish schoolchild born in 1936 sat the same test of mental ability: the Moray House Test. In 1997, Professor Lawrence Whalley discovered the Scottish Mental Survey test records at the Scottish Council for Research in Education in Edinburgh and began to trace people who had sat the test in Aberdeen.

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.

The British Women’s Heart and Health Study is a prospective cohort study of heart disease in over 4000 British women between the ages of 60 and 79. It is funded by the British Heart Foundation. The Study aims to provide information about existing patterns of treatment of heart disease, and further the understanding of risk factors and disease prevention. We collected our baseline data in 1999-2001, and have been tracking the cohort since. Participants have been re-contacted through questionnaires or assessment in 2003, 2007 & 2010.

The aim of the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN) project is to identify the neural mechanisms underpinning successful cognitive ageing. The study recruitment participants over 18 from resident within Cambridge City and used epidemiological, behavioural, and neuroimaging data to understand how individuals can best retain cognitive abilities into old age. A major aim of the research programme is to understand the nature of brain-cognition relationships across the lifespan, and to highlight the importance of abilities that are maintained into old age.

This population study was not designed to have repeated measures for each participant, but rather as one extended and comprehensive study visit that took place over 3 stages.

This is a feasibility study which has a Longitudinal Cohort design, following up participants at selected time points over a 1 year duration. The study will recruit 2 distinct groups: (1) patients with symptoms of cognitive impairment, and (2) study partners who are cognitively normal. The patients recruited to group 1 will have been recently referred to a Memory Assessment Service by their GP with suspected Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) & mild dementia. All patients referred to a Memory Assessment Service for this reason will be potentially eligible for inclusion in the study. Close friends or family members involved in looking after the cognitively impaired participants will also be asked to participate as study partners to attempt to measure the impact that looking after a partner, friend or family member with memory problems can have on a carer’s Quality of Life and other variables such as financial burden. Both cognitively impaired participants and their study partners will be given the option of additionally participating in two sub-studies:

– Mobile data collection: Using a web/mobile app to collect self-reported data on a more regular basis from home

– Wearable device: Using a wearable device that looks like a watch to collect information on activity and sleep

The Health Survey for England series was designed to monitor trends in the nation’s health, to estimate the proportion of people in England who have specified health conditions, and to estimate the prevalence of risk factors associated with these conditions. The surveys provide regular information that cannot be obtained from other sources on a range of aspects concerning the public’s health. The surveys have been carried out since 1994 by the Joint Health Surveys Unit of NatCen Social Research and the Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL. Individuals are asked for written consent to link their HSE records to mortality and cancer registration data (from HSE 1994 onwards) and to Hospital Episodes Statistics (from HSE 2003 participants onwards).

Each survey in the series includes core questions and measurements (such as blood pressure, height and weight, and analysis of blood and saliva samples), as well as modules of questions on topics that vary from year to year. New topics in 2014 year included hearing and mental health. The achieved sample for the 2014 survey was 8,077 adults (aged 16 and over) and 2,003 children (aged 0-15).

The longitudinal Study of Cognitive Change in Normal Healthy Old Age (LSCC) is a population study including 6,342 healthy residence of Greater Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne aged from 42 to 92 in 1983. Two different batteries of cognitive tests were alternately administered biennially with additional questionnaires and Dna sample collection until 2003. The aims of the study were to:

• to determine sources of variations in rates of cognitive change between individuals
• to identify factors that slow or accelerate cognitive ageing and that prolong mental productivity or accelerate decline
• to generate and test functional models for the processes of biological ageing, especially of ageing of the brain and the central nervous system
• to test whether the neurophysiological and consequent cognitive changes differ in idiosyncratic patterns between individuals

The Parkinson’s Progression Marker Initiative (PPMI) is an observational, international study designed to establish biomarker defined cohorts and identify clinical, imaging, genetic and biospecimen Parkinson’s disease (PD) progression markers to accelerate disease modifying therapeutic trials. A total of 423 untreated PD, 196 Healthy Control (HC), 64 SWEDD (scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficit) subjects, and 65 Prodromal subjects (individuals with hyposmia or REM Sleep Behavior Disorder) were enrolled. PPMI is actively enrolling affected and unaffected individuals with genetic mutations in LRRK2, GBA, or SNCA through the end of 2018. For the most up to date enrollment numbers, please visit To enroll PD subjects as early as possible following diagnosis, subjects were eligible with only asymmetric bradykinesia or tremor plus a dopamine transporter (DAT) binding deficit on SPECT imaging. Acquisition of data was standardized as detailed at

The Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA) is a large-scale, public health study involving a representative sample of men and women aged 50 years and over living in Northern Ireland.

The primary objective of NICOLA is to collect longitudinal multidisciplinary data across a wide range of domains to be used for investigation and research relevant to ageing and making Northern Ireland a better place to grow old in.

NICOLA collects extensive information on all aspects of health, social and economic circumstances of ~8500 men and women as they grow older in Northern Ireland over a series of data collection waves approximately every 2-3 years.

Longer term research goals will investigate the determinants of retirement behaviour and economic wellbeing, the impact of cognitive function and sensory disability on decision making, the determinants of disability trajectories, the influence of social participation on these and the interaction of genetic, biological and psychosocial determinants on health and mortality.

There has been one sweep of data collection (2013 – 2016) and a second is currently underway (2017 – )

The Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) is a large-scale, representative data-linkage study created by linking data from the Northern Ireland Health Card Registration system to the 1981, 1991, 2001 and 2011 Census returns and to administrative data from other sources. These include vital events registered with the General Register Office for Northern Ireland (such as births, deaths and marriages) and the Health Card registration system migration events data. The result is a 30 year plus longitudinal data set which is regularly being updated. In addition to this rich resource there is also the potential to link further Heath and Social care data in our distinct linkage projects (DLPs).

Selection into the study is based on birth date (day and month): 104 dates throughout the year were selected and if an individual’s date of birth coincided with one of these they were included in the sample. The sample is large – c. 28% of the Northern Ireland population (approximately 500,000 individuals and accounting for approximately 50% of households).

The Northern Ireland Mortality Study (NIMS) is a large-scale data linkage study that links the 1991, 2001 and 2011 Census returns for the whole of the enumerated population (approximately 1.6 million individuals) to subsequently registered mortality data from the General Register Office (GRO). While larger than NILS it is more limited in scope, focusing only on the linkage of mortality data. It allows researchers to focus on more detailed analyses of specific cause of death, some of which may not be possible in NILS because of small numbers in sub-populations and the analysis of less common causes of death (e.g. accidental death). The NIMS dataset is recommended to researchers whose primary interest is in mortality in Northern Ireland. These data are maintained under the same conditions as the NILS and is accessible only under the same constraints.

Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) is the second most common cause of neurodegenerative dementia in older people. The aim of LewyPro is to examine and characterise symptoms and brain changes during the prodromal period of LBD. Earlier diagnosis is important because it facilitates care planning, leads to earlier treatment of cognitive symptoms and enables earlier identification of other symptoms, including parkinsonism.

Lewy Pro is recruiting a group of people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and prodromal symptoms suggestive of Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and following them up annually to assess biomarker changes and clinical course. The initial assessment will include a detailed clinical assessment, a blood sample, a lumbar puncture for cerebrospinal fluid, and a DaTSCAN.

Last Update 21/09/2017