In 1947, over 70,000 Scottish eleven-year-olds took an IQ test. In April 2014, hundreds of these 'children' came together again to hear the latest on how that test continues to shed light on our knowledge about how our thinking skills change as we age.
Since 2004, Age UK has funded the Disconnected Mind project at the University of Edinburgh. The project uses the original results to discover why and how our thinking skills and brain structure change as we age. Every three years, hundreds of the orignial group of school children, now in their 70s, repeat the IQ test and take a whole range of extra cognitive, medical and physical tests.
Since the start, the project has generated many ground-breaking findings. Famous around the scientific world, the Disconnected Mind is helping us uncover the risk factors for cognitive decline with age. This year, the researchers found that smoking might thin the cortex, the outer layer of the brain, which jeopardises thinking skills - a good reason, alongside protecting our physical health, to quit smoking.
By 2051, the number of people living with dementia is projected to exceed 2 million.
In 2014/15, over 50 papers reporting latest results of the project were published in high quality research journals, bringing the total for the project so far to over 200.