Newcastle 85+ Study

85+ study logoThe 85+ Study aims to:

  • assess, in great detail, the spectrum of health in the oldest old
  • examine the associations of health trajectories and outcomes with biological, clinical and social factors as the cohort ages
  • identify factors which contribute to the maintenance of health and independence
  • advance understanding of the biological nature of human ageing

The Newcastle 85+ Study is the first stage of the biggest population-based longitudinal study of health and ageing in the over-85s anywhere in the world and aims to provide new insights into health factors as the population becomes older. It is a flagship programme for the University and the most developed study of its kind in the world.

The Study, which began in 2006 is led by Professor Tom Kirkwood and includes a multidisciplinary research team from the Institute for Ageing and Health at Newcastle University and a participant cohort of more than one thousand 85 year olds from Newcastle and North Tyneside.

The Study is now publishing a growing stream of research findings, which is contributing a much better informed picture of the health and challenges faced by today’s older people. As we follow the participants further into old age the results will be become ever richer.

Yet perhaps the best finding of all is summed up in the words of one of the research nurse team:

“We have helped our participants search for lost glasses, opened stubborn jars, changed light bulbs, searched for escaped budgies, learnt a little Braille, fixed hearing aids, taken out hair curlers and admired endless photographs of grandchildren and great grandchildren.

We have peered into participants’ mouths, exposed their chests, poked needles into their arms, examined the contents of their fridges, made them blow into a cardboard tube until they’re blue in the face and asked them hundreds of personal questions.

Throughout all this they have responded with patience, good humour and at times grim stoicism which is typical of their generation and which makes it a privilege and a pleasure to continue to be part of this study.”

Further information

For more information please visit the Newcastle 85+ Study pages.