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Article
Publication date: 16 March 2015

Elizabeth Breeze, Nicola Jean Hart, Dag Aarsland, Catherine Moody and Carol Brayne

– The purpose of this paper is to scope potential and gaps in European cohort studies with focus on brain ageing and neurodegeneration.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to scope potential and gaps in European cohort studies with focus on brain ageing and neurodegeneration.

Design/methodology/approach

Combined and augmented two scoping exercises conducted for European Union Joint Programme on Neurodegenerative Diseases (JPND) and the Alzheimer Society UK.

Findings

In total, 106 cohorts initially identified with a further 52 found on second sweep. Strengths include gender balance, diversity of measures and much detail on health and health behaviours, and lifecourse representation. Major gaps identified were the oldest old, non-Caucasians, people in Eastern Europe, migrant populations, rural residents and people in long-term care. Quality of life, psychosocial and environmental factors were limited. Relatively few cohorts are population representative. Analytical methods for combining studies and longitudinal analysis require careful consideration.

Research limitations/implications

European studies and published information only.

Practical implications

Collaboration across disciplines and studies, greater dissemination of methods and findings will improve knowledge about cognitive and functional decline in current and future older populations.

Social implications

Better understanding of brain ageing and the dementia syndrome will improve investment decisions for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention.

Originality/value

Building on the work of JPND and the Alzheimer Society is the first study of the scope and limitations of current cohorts in Europe. It is designed to help researchers and policy makers in their planning.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

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