News Archive

Lothian Birth Cohorts’ Reunion: Celebrating twenty years of research

Posted on: Wed, 6 Nov 2019

On Saturday 7 September 2019, almost 300 members of the Lothian Birth Cohorts reunited in the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh to celebrate 20 years of continuous research into healthy ageing.

The 2019 reunion took place twenty years to the day after the first Lothian Birth Cohort 1921 participant was tested on 7 September 1999.

By the 20th anniversary meeting, the Lothian Birth Cohorts’ data had produced 512 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles.

The 2019 gathering celebrated the participants’ commitment and dedication to science with contributions from the lead scientists – including the Lothian Birth Cohorts’ Director, Professor Ian Deary, and his collaborators. Professor Deary said: “The reunion was a thank you for the cohorts’ 20 years of faithful contributions, and an opportunity to share our most recent findings. The contribution of the group is invaluable in advancing our understanding of how the brain and thinking skills age, and healthy ageing more generally. I and the team are grateful to, and humbled by, the participants for their generosity and enthusiasm for the project.”

Download the reunion brochure to read about the project, its history and findings.

Listen to a BBC Brainwaves podcast with Pennie Latin in conversation with the project director Ian Deary, researcher Alison Pattie, and three of our Lothian Birth Cohorts participants, Ian, Margaret and Meryn.

Lothian Birth Cohorts’ profile and protocol articles: collect the set

Posted on: Tue, 17 Apr 2018

Lothian Birth Cohorts’ profile and protocol articles: collect the set


The Lothian Birth Cohort studies began in 1999. The LBC1921 and LBC1936 studies have data that reach far beyond those originally anticipated. Here, we list the profile, protocol and summary articles that provide overviews of the studies. The table below provides a brief description of each article, including where to find it and when to cite it. To download a PDF version of this table containing more details on the contents of each article, click here.

LBC1936 Wave 5 Begins!

Posted on: Thu, 7 Dec 2017

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.

Intelligence Over Time - The Association for Psychological Science

Posted on: Wed, 9 Mar 2016

A talk given by Professor Ian Deary has featured in an article titled 'Intelligence Over Time' on the The Association for Psychological Science (APS) website. This was Ian's 'James McKeen Cattell Fellowship Award' address for the lifetime achievement in phychological research. You can read the full article and view the video of the talk here: Intelligence Over Time

Mr Scott Meets his Brain

Posted on: Wed, 3 Feb 2016

The National Museum of Scotland have unveiled a new exhibit, John Scott's brain. 


LBC1936 participant, Mr John Scott saw his brain for the first time yesterday at the National Museum of Scotland's Collections Care Centre. STV and the LBC team were there to witness Mr Scott seeing a 3D print of his living brain, taken from MRI data captured as part of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936) study.  The 3D print will go on display in the museum this summer, along with a stunning representation of Mr Scott's white matter (tractography) etched in crystal glass.  When asked how he felt about having his brain on display in the National Museum, Mr Scott said "It's great, I told my grandchildren, when I'm not here, you can go and see my brain!"


Dr Simon Cox, MRC Imaging Fellow on the LBC1936 study, said "I am used to looking at brain images on the computer day-to-day, but seeing a real model of the brain’s white matter connections in glass and the outer surface of the brain like this is a unique experience – they are incredibly striking objects". 

The brain imaging in LBC1936 is overseen by CCACE Group Leaders Professor Joanna Wardlaw and Dr Mark Bastin of Edinburgh Imaging and suported by funding from Age UK and the MRC.  The 3D models of the brain surface and white matter were developed by Dr Mark Bastin and Dave Liewald in collaboration with Sophie Goggins, Assistant Curator of Biomedicine at the National Museum of Scotland and the Edinburgh College of Art (3D printed model).  

You can learn more about the exhibit and Mr Scott in an NMS blog by Sophie Goggins


Fast Facts at Your Fingertips

Posted on: Mon, 25 May 2015

The DMind study is highly complex. It has a compelling background. It has achieved a large number of highly noteworthy outputs for both scientific and lay audiences, has run across decades and multiple waves, and still has a huge amount of potential. Explaining all this to someone who has never heard of it before can be no mean feat. In order to make it easier to convey the scope of the study, we have developed a Fast Facts Card; a credit card-sized concertina leaflet containing study information over 12 panels, appropriate for interested scientists and lay-people.

If you would like copies of the Fast Facts Card to distribute at conferences or public engagement events, please get in touch by email: lbc1936 at

A Fast Facts PDF file is also available for download (pdf).


Posted on: Tue, 4 Nov 2014

A new study led by CCACE member Dr Thomas Bak (pictured right, with his daughter), reveals that bilingualism has a positive effect on cognition later in life. See the story on the BBC.

The study, examining 835 participants, shows that those who speak two or more languages were better on some cognitive tests than would be predicted from their performance in such tests at age 11.

A positive effect of bilingualism (including a delay in the onset of dementia) has been reported in previous studies, however it has proven difficult to determine whether people improve their cognitive functions through learning new languages or whether those with better baseline cognitive functions are more likely to become bilingual. The Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 allowed the CCACE researchers to address this question for the first time. This study shows the effect of speaking more than one language is independent of age 11 cognition.

No negative effects of bilingualism were observed in any group. “These findings are of considerable relevance”, says Thomas Bak. “Millions of people around the world acquire their second language later in life. Our study shows that bilingualism, even when acquired in adulthood, may benefit the aging brain.”