Who gets to be 100?: The podcast
Listen to our podcast celebrating the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921 and those who reach their 100th birthday this year, hear about their contribution to science and our understanding of what happens to our thinking skills as we grow older.
Living to the age of 100 is a remarkable and rare achievement. Your birth year and your sex are best predictors of how long you’ll live.
Psychologists at the University of Edinburgh have worked closely with a group of people born in 1921 as part of a unique research project.
The project was established in 1998 and its aim has been to understand secrets to healthy cognitive ageing. Who and why gets to experience healthy and independent old age? The study and its participants are known as the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921.
The participants were all born in 1921. But in addition to sharing the same birth year, they also share another important piece of history: in June 1932 when they were 11 years old, they participated in a national survey that tested Scotland’s intelligence.
At the onset of the project when the participants were 77 years old, the group included 550 individuals. They were all invited to the University of Edinburgh, in the month of June 1999, to take the same test from 1932. For over twenty years many of them continued to visit the University to help the researchers with their quest for secrets of healthy life in older age.
This year we are celebrating their 100th birthday. Find out about their lives and their role in research and contributions to our understanding how to keep sharp in old age in three podcasts in interviews with Pennie Latin and Dan Holland of Adventurous Audio.
Listen to the podcast
Listen to the three-part story on Anchor or wherever you get your podcasts:
Episode 1: A century of happy birthdays
Anne and Margaret are two healthy centenarians, born and raised in Edinburgh.
What’s their secret for healthy long life? Their life stories couldn’t be more different.
What unites them is a school test they took in 1932. The test is a foundation of a study that helps us understand what we can do to keep sharp in older age.
Episode 2: The Lothian Birth Cohort 1921
It’s 1 June 1932. All school-attending 11-year-olds in Scotland sit a unique test of intelligence.
The test is forgotten until decades later, a pair of psychologists discover the test scores, and their lives change forever...
Episode 3: What happens to our thinking skills as we age?
Why do some of us keep sharp until old age? Can cognitive test scores at age 11 and in old age, blood samples, brain scans, brain tissue, genes, medical records give us the answer?
We hear from Lothian Birth Cohorts scientists about how longitudinal data from hundreds of participants like Anne and Margaret help us understand cognitive ageing.
You can find out more about the Lothian Birth Cohorts 1921 and 1936 in a series of short articles summarising the studies' history, data, findings and their socio-cultural impact:
Presenter: Pennie Latin
Theme music: Looking Fondly Forward by Jonah Hampton and Tom Quincy. Published by Deep East Music Ltd
Produced by: Adventurous Audio Ltd
Photos: Lothian Birth Cohorts