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The Ageing Lab

Exploring interventions to improve the health and wellbeing of older people


Health and Wellbeing Panel

Throughout August, the Royal Society of Edinburgh hosted their Curious programme, "events offering insight from some of the world’s leading experts across three key themes of health and wellbeing, innovation and invention and our planet". Professor Alan Gow chaired the Health and Wellbeing Panel, which you can watch here

August 2020

The show(s) must go on!

Normally at this time of year, preparations are well underway for the arrival of the Fringe and other festivals that take over Edinburgh throughout August.

While plans for 2020 will be quite different, the team behind the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas have not been deterred, ensuring that the shows will go on!

Heriot-Watt contributions include Professor Alan Gow with ‘This Will Make You Sharper!’ on 15 July, followed by Dr Joe Stubbersfield with ‘We’re all conspiracy theorists!’ on 22 July.


You can watch the shows from The Stand on Demand:

July 2020

First remote access assisted living lab seeks collaborators

Scientists from Heriot-Watt University are launching what is believed to be the world’s first open and remote access living lab to research and create solutions for Ambient Assisted Living (OpenAAL).

The multi-disciplinary lab will target the fast co-creation of scalable and affordable solutions to support the care of vulnerable people whose urgent need has been exemplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.


July 2020

Heriot-Watt University 3 Minute Thesis winners announced

Overall Winner – Paola Ruffo (SOSS)
Runner-Up – Calum Marr (SOSS)
People’s Choice Winner – Mavis Osei-Wusu (EGIS)

3-Minute Thesis (3MT) is an exciting global academic competition celebrating the innovative research undertaken by PhD students, which was originally developed by the University of Queensland, Australia. 3MT participants present their research to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes using one slide, developing students’ academic, presentation and communication skills. Research Futures Academy provides bespoke training for students taking part in 3MT, including workshops on slide design, how to prepare presentations, and voice coaching skills.


July 2020

How does our intelligence change with age?

New findings revealed in a BBC documentary have shown how our thinking skills change through our life span.

The programme, which features Heriot-Watt University Professor Alan Gow, explores how gender and age can affect our intelligence and how our lifestyles can have benefits for brain health.

Devised by researchers at Imperial College, London, over 250,000 people around the UK took part in the Great British Intelligence Test, with the results being presented during the BBC’s Horizon programme by Dr Hannah Fry and Michael Mosley.

While not involved in the survey, Professor of Psychology, Alan Gow, was asked to comment on the findings and shed light on how other studies suggest we might protect our thinking skills with age.


May 2020

Missing the outdoors? Try some of these ideas to stay healthy

Making the most of existing technology and gaining new skills during the coronavirus lockdown could help combat social isolation, particularly among older people.

That is according to Professor Alan Gow from Heriot-Watt University’s Department of Psychology, who says the impact of the coronavirus means it's as important as ever to explore positive activities to maintain health.

Professor Gow works at the University’s Ageing Lab in Edinburgh and examines at how lifestyles and behaviour affect our health as we get older.


March 2020

How can we stay sharp? 

In The Ageing Lab, we explore how different kinds of activities might help protect our thinking skills. To find out more, dip into Heriot-Watt's research bites for a taster of how we can stay sharp.

March 2020

Professor Alan Gow’s Inaugural Lecture

Professor Richard A. Williams OBE, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, invites you to attend the Inaugural Lecture of Professor Alan Gow.

As we get older, we might experience some changes in our thinking and memory skills. There is variation from person to person in the degree of change experienced; some people might experience declines that limit their ability to live independently, while others maintain their thinking skills throughout later life.

Studies of ageing have helped us understand how thinking skills develop and change across the life course and through later life, and importantly, identify the lifestyle and behavioural determinants of those changes. There are important questions about when such lifestyles might be most beneficial, or how other factors such as educational and social background might affect their apparent benefits.

The findings from these large observational studies are being translated into real-world interventions at The Ageing Lab at Heriot-Watt. Find out more at Professor Alan Gow's Inaugural Lecture. Register for a free ticket here.

More information on the Inaugural Lecture Series.

February 2020

How to exercise to boost your brain

The Times: How to exercise to boost your brain

January 2020

Driving global impact

Ella Rhodes reports on the Nature Research Awards.

The winner and runners-up of the first Nature Research Awards for Driving Global Impact have been announced. The awards, for early-career researchers, aim to celebrate those whose work has made, or has the potential to make, a positive impact on society and this year focused on brain science.


January 2020

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