The Lothian Birth Cohort 1936: a study to examine influences on cognitive ageing from age 11 to age 70 and beyondReport as inadecuate

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BMC Geriatrics

, 7:28

First Online: 05 December 2007Received: 15 November 2007Accepted: 05 December 2007


BackgroundCognitive ageing is a major burden for society and a major influence in lowering people-s independence and quality of life. It is the most feared aspect of ageing. There are large individual differences in age-related cognitive changes. Seeking the determinants of cognitive ageing is a research priority. A limitation of many studies is the lack of a sufficiently long period between cognitive assessments to examine determinants. Here, the aim is to examine influences on cognitive ageing between childhood and old age.

Methods-DesignThe study is designed as a follow-up cohort study. The participants comprise surviving members of the Scottish Mental Survey of 1947 SMS1947; N = 70,805 who reside in the Edinburgh area Lothian of Scotland. The SMS1947 applied a valid test of general intelligence to all children born in 1936 and attending Scottish schools in June 1947. A total of 1091 participants make up the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. They undertook: a medical interview and examination; physical fitness testing; extensive cognitive testing reasoning, memory, speed of information processing, and executive function; personality, quality of life and other psycho-social questionnaires; and a food frequency questionnaire. They have taken the same mental ability test the Moray House Test No. 12 at age 11 and age 70. They provided blood samples for DNA extraction and testing and other biomarker analyses. Here we describe the background and aims of the study, the recruitment procedures and details of numbers tested, and the details of all examinations.

DiscussionThe principal strength of this cohort is the rarely captured phenotype of lifetime cognitive change. There is additional rich information to examine the determinants of individual differences in this lifetime cognitive change. This protocol report is important in alerting other researchers to the data available in the cohort.

List of abbreviations usedCHICommunity Health Index

IPIPInternational Personality Item Pool

LBC1936Lothian Birth Cohort 1936

LCDliquid crystal display

MHTMoray House Test

SCREScottish Council for Research in Education.

SMS1947Scottish Mental Survey 1947

WAIS-IIIWechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-III

WHOQOLWorld Health Organisation Quality of Life

WMS-IIIWechsler Memory Scale-III

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2318-7-28 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Ian J Deary - Alan J Gow - Michelle D Taylor - Janie Corley - Caroline Brett - Valerie Wilson - Harry Campbell - Lawrenc


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