The Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1921 and 1936 are follow-up studies of the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947. The surveys had, respectively, tested the intelligence of almost every child born in 1921 or 1936 and attending school in Scotland in the month of June in those years. Therefore, tracing, recruiting and re-testing people who had taken part in the Surveys offered a rare opportunity to examine the distribution and causes of cognitive ageing across most of the human life course. The studies described here were initially set up to study determinants of non-pathological cognitive ageing; i.e. the ageing of cognitive functions largely in the normal range, and not principally dementia or other pathological cognitive disorders.

Please use the menu to the left to find out more about the studies. Additionally the publication ’Cohort profile: The Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1921 and 1936’ in the International Journal of Epidemiology can be accessed here.

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Adele Taylor with one of the first LBC1936 Wave 5 participants

In October 2017, we were excited to welcome back our first LBC1936 participants for a 5th Wave of testing. Like previous waves, the Wave 5 visit involves thinking and memory tests, physical and medical assessments, and we’ll also provide a short series of questionnaires. New to this wave will be a questionnaire on musical experience and expertise. As part of Wave 5, we’ll also be taking a retina photograph with the same kind of camera as opticians use. This will help us to examine how the health of the blood vessels in the eye relates to brain health and other important aspects of ageing. The brain imaging part of the study, which takes place at a separate visit to the Edinburgh Imaging Facility WGH (Western General Hospital), will begin in early 2018.