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Lifelong Health and Ageing

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The MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL (LHA) is home to the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD).  The Unit runs five scientific programmes.

The LHA was established in 2008 under the directorship of Professor Diana Kuh, with the overarching aim of realising the scientific potential of the NSHD as a world class, interdisciplinary and life course study of ageing.

LHA staff and their collaborators

  • Investigate age-related change in physical and cognitive capability, that is, the capacity to undertake physical and mental tasks of daily living.
  • Investigate the body systems on which capability depends, and the underlying biological, psychological and social processes throughout life that drive changes in these systems. 
  • Assess how ageing impacts on independence, quality of life and survival. 
  • Undertake comparative and cross-cohort research with life course and ageing cohorts to assess similarities and differences in ageing processes and their determinants by time and place. 
  • Encourage the safe and secure use of NSHD resources by the scientific community maintaining a critical mass of biomedical and social expertise.
  • Develop an e-science capability that facilitates working with shared scientific data and resources, including inter-cohort studies. 
  • Enrich the NSHD by collecting, with expert collaborators, new high quality data on quantitative ageing traits, markers of underlying biological mechanisms, social and physical environmental exposures, and experiences of ageing. 
  • Maintain and further develop the study’s high profile among participants to ensure continued high response rates. 
  • Train early career researchers in a life course approach to ageing and to become primary investigators of cohort studies. 
  • Ensure that knowledge gained from the research is transferred in accessible and timely ways to research users to improve public understanding of the science of healthy ageing, and to increase the likelihood of research findings being translated into opportunities across life to promote healthy ageing.