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Northern Ireland Cohort Longitudinal Study of Ageing (NICOLA)

About the cohort

PI: Prof Ian Young
Start date: 2013
Age at recruitment: 50+
Sample size at recruitment: 8500

NICOLA is Northern Irelands’ long-term study of ageing in the over 50’s, with 8500 participants randomly selected from the free living population.

From autumn 2013 8500 men and women aged 50 years and above will be invited to join the study. Those who are invited to take part will be randomly selected from all over 50’s living in the community and will be representative of the population as a whole.

NICOLA will closely follow the comprehensive approaches taken by ELSA (England) and TILDA (ROI) and other ageing studies, but in addition NICOLA has a special focus on intergenerational poverty, transition points in ageing and the effects of diet on the ageing process. The study will also include questions of unique relevance to the Northern Ireland situation.

Study participants will be invited for interview every 2 years and for a health assessment every 4 years. They will be followed-up for a period of at least 10 years.

The interview will capture information on health and social care utilisation, health behaviours, medication, mental, physical and cognitive health, employment, finances, retirement, social connectedness, social participation, driving and travel, housing, consumption and expectations.

The health assessment will include a review of cardiovascular, cognitive and respiratory function; physical activity, visual health and body composition. Participants will also be asked to provide biological samples for detailed laboratory analysis, including genetic analysis.

NICOLA will seek permission to access records on existing databases to provide as comprehensive and robust data linkage as possible.


NICOLA study
Wellcome Trust Wolfson Northern Ireland Clinical Research Facility
U Floor
Belfast City Hospital
Lisburn Road

Tel: +44(0)2890 633 078

Web: http://nicola.qub.ac.uk/


Page last updated: 29 Apr 2015


  • Gender: Male, Female
  • Sample size: 5,000-9,999
  • Age: 40 to 59, 60 to 100
  • Anthropometric: Height, Weight, Waist circumference, Hip circumference, Blood pressure
  • Physical: Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Musculoskeletal, Hearing and vision, Reproductive
  • Psychological: Mental health, Cognitive function
  • Lifestyle: Smoking, Physical activity, Dietary habits, Alcohol
  • Socio-economic: Occupation, Finances, Family circumstances, Housing, Education, Ethnic group, Marital status, Social support
  • Biological samples: Blood, Urine, Saliva, Other