Newcastle 85+ Study

The Newcastle 85+ Study aims to systematically study the clinical, biological, and psychosocial attributes of an unselected cohort of 85 year olds and to examine subsequent health trajectories as the cohort ages; health at baseline is reported. The study aims to 1) Assess in great detail the spectrum of health in the oldest old, 2) Examine the associations of health trajectories and outcomes with biological, clinical and social factors as the cohort ages, 3) Identify factors which contribute to the maintenance of health and independence, and 4) Advance understanding of the biological nature of human ageing. Participants come from Newcastle upon Tyne and North Tyneside primary care trusts, United Kingdom. The study sample includes 1042 people born in 1921 and registered with the participating general practices. The study began in 2006, and the current estimated sample size is 294.

Data Collection
At baseline, participants underwent a detailed multidimensional health assessment by trained research nurses in their usual residence (own home or institution), comprising questionnaires, measurements, function tests, a fasting blood sample, and a review of medical records held by the general practice. Assessments are conducted at baseline, 18 months, 36 months, and 60 months. General practice medical records are reviewed at baseline and 36 months for data on disease, medication, and use of general practice services. Participants could decline elements of the protocol. Participants will be tracked until death, and the date and cause of death will be included. Of those eligible, 1,042 participated in the study, 854 participated in both the health assessment and record review, 188 participated in the record review only, and 3 participated in the health assessment only. [Include the Figure as shown below]

Measurements and function tests included weight, bio-impedance (body composition-fat and water), demi-span, waist and hip circumference, tooth count, blood pressure, hand-grip strength, walking test (timed 'up and go' test), cognitive function (mini-mental state examination and computerised assessment of memory and attention (CDR battery)), electrocardiogram, spirometry and oximetry.

Aliquots of serum, EDTA plasma, LiHep plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were obtained and analysed. Measures include haematology and biochemistry, nutritional markers, inflammatory response and immune system markers, telomere length and telomerase activity, DNA damage and repair, plasma isoprotanes, and mitochondria-related biomarkers. Of the 852 participants who underwent multidimensional health assessment, blood-based data are available for 719 - 778 (depending on assay).

Anthropometrics & Function Tests


Bio-impedance (body composition)


Waist and hip circumference

Tooth count

Blood pressure

Hand-grip strength

Walking tet

Cognitive function (MMSE and CDR battery)




Haematology & Biochemistry

Full blood count

Electrolytes, urea, creatinine and urate

Liver panel (total protein, bilirubin, alanine transaminase (ALT))

Bone panel (albumin, calcium, albumin-adjusted calcium, phosphate, alkaline phosphatase (ALP))

Glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c)

Lipid profile (cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, ApoA1, ApoB)

Serum cortisol

Thyroid function (T3, T4, TSH, thyroid peroxidase antibody (ATPO))

High-sensitivity CRP

Rheumatoid factor


Nutritional Markers

Serum ferritin

Plasma total homocysteine

plasma vitamin B12 and B6

Pyridoxal phosphate and pyridoxic acid

Red cell folate and vitamin B12

Serum vitamin D

Inflammatory Response & Immune System

Cytokine production (IL-6 and TNF-alpha)


B cells (CD19+), memory (CD27+), naïve B (CD27-)

CD8 T cells (CD3+/CD8+), memory (CD45RO+/CD27-), naïve (CD45RO-/CD27+)

CD4 T cells (CD4+), memory (CD45RO+/CD27-), naïve (CD45RO-/CD27+)

Telomere Length & Telomerase Activity

Abundance of telomeric template versus a single gene (GAPDH)

DNA Damage & Repair

Flouorimetric alkaline DNA unwinding (FADU) analysis

Plasma Isoprotanes

iPF2α-III and iPF2α-VI

Mitochondria-Related Biomarkers

Mitochondria haplotype

Mitochondrial DNA sequencing

Reactive oxygen production by mitochondria


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