Lothian Birth Cohorts

Lothian Birth Cohorts are a research group based in Psychology at the University of Edinburgh. Our aim is to understand how our brain and thinking skills change throughout life, and why some people's brains age better than others'.

At the core of our research are two longitudinal studies of older adults: the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921 (LBC1921) study, established in 1999, and the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936) study, established in 2004. Professor Ian Deary founded the studies with the late Professor John Starr and was Director of LBC from 1998 until his retirement in November 2020. Dr Simon Cox took over directorship of LBC in December 2020. Ian Deary continues to work on the studies as professor emeritus.

The studies have generated a wealth of data for in-depth, high quality research on cognitive, brain, and general ageing, leading to over 600 peer-reviewed publications to date. They are the longest follow-up studies of cognitive ageing in the world.

The cohorts' history

Find out about the history of the studies, the participants and their unique contribution to the study of cognitive ageing.

Dr Simon Cox

Meet the Lothian Birth Cohorts director and find out about our team and management structure.

Lothian Birth Cohorts white matter connectome

Read about our current projects, collaborators, partner organisations, sponsors and funding bodies.

Lothian Birth Cohorts salience network brain mapping

Find out how to get access to our data and to collaborate.

Lothian Birth Cohorts

Access information about donations to the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 brain tissue bank.