A welcomed piece of research infrastructure
I was delighted to attend the launch of the Northern Ireland Cohort for the Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA) last week. For those who have tracked its developments since 2008, this study is a welcomed piece of infrastructure.
NICOLA is a ten year study that seeks to improve the lives of Northern Ireland's ageing population. It is led by Prof Ian Young and Prof Frank Kee from Queen's University Belfast. The longitudinal study will follow the lives of 8,500 over 50's as they grow older.
NICOLA is funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies; the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); the Medical Research Council; Health and Social Care Research and Development (HSC R&D), a division of the Public Health Agency; the Centre for Ageing Research and Development in Ireland (CARDI); and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM).
This study joins the family of over 70 longitudinal studies of ageing across the world and will have close collaboration with TILDA in Republic of Ireland and ELSA in England.
The potential benefits to NI and the island of Ireland are invaluable to policy makers, business, the voluntary and community sector and academics, not only for health policy but also policies relating to social care, economic development, transport, recreation and culture.
NICOLA consists of three stages: an interview conducted in the home, a questionnaire and a health assessment. The assessments will include blood pressure readings, brain function (thinking) tests, blood sample collection and a detailed eye examination. Follow-up interviews will be conducted every two years.
8,500 participants have been randomly selected from a database provided by Northern Ireland’s Health & Social Care Board and will be contacted over the coming weeks. It is expected that all participants will complete the home interview and health assessment by April 2015 with the first findings due in 2015.
I look forward to the first wave of results so we can compare and understand ageing across our different systems, structures and jurisdictions.
Read more about the study here:
Dr Roger O'Sullivan