The Disconnected Mind

The aim of The Disconnected Mind is to understand the cerebral basis of age-related cognitive decline. It is funded by the charity Age UK (formerly Help the Aged and Age Concern) and is being carried out by scientists from the Human Cognitive Ageing research group here at CCACE.

The Disconnected Mind depends on a unique resource, the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936). These men and women, now in their mid-70s, sat a cognitive skills test (the Scottish Mental Survey 1947) when they were 11-year-old schoolchildren. This means that their current cognitive ability can be compared to their cognitive ability in childhood.

 As part of The Disconnected Mind, members of LBC1936 have participated in a wide range of investigations including cognitive tests, medical examinations, brain scans and blood tests. They have also provided information about their lifestyle, education and employment so that researchers can investigate the effects of social and psychological factors on cognitive ability.

A major aim of the project is to evaluate how the brain's white matter changes with age, and how these changes are related to cognitive decline. Ultimately this may lead to the rational design of therapies to prevent or slow deterioration in cognitive skills.



Professor Ian Deary on the Disconnected Mind Project