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Dr Rachel Cooper

Dr Rachel Cooper is a Programme Leader Track and Senior Lecturer at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL. Rachel has a BA in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford, an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Epidemiology from University College London.

Rachel joined LHA in June 2007 to work with Diana Kuh on the physical capability and musculoskeletal ageing programme and has co-led this MRC programme since October 2012.  Rachel’s research focuses on identifying how factors across life influence age-related changes in physical capability and musculoskeletal health using in-depth analyses within specific studies (primarily NSHD) complemented by cross-cohort work.  Another key research focus has been to understand how measures of physical capability relate to subsequent health and wellbeing and the potential clinical implications of these relationships.

Rachel is interested in all aspects of life course epidemiology and in particular, applying this approach to the study of ageing. She also maintains an interest in women’s health which she developed through work on her PhD.

Selected recent publications

Kuh D, Cooper R, Hardy R, Richards M, Ben-Shlomo Y. A life course approach to healthy ageing. Oxford University Press, 2014.

Ben-Shlomo Y, Cooper R and Kuh D. The last two decades of life course epidemiology, and its relevance for research on ageing. Int J Epidemiol 2016;45:973-988

Ferrucci L, Cooper R, Shardell M, Simonsick EM, Schrack JA and Kuh D. Age-related change in mobility: Perspectives from life course epidemiology and geroscience. J Gerontol Med Sci 2016;71:1184-1194

Cooper R, Muniz-Terrera G and Kuh D. Associations of behavioural risk factors and health status with changes in physical capability over ten years of follow-up: the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. BMJ Open 2016;6:e009962

Wloch EG, Kuh D and Cooper R. Is the hierarchy of loss in functional ability evident in midlife? Findings from a British birth cohort. PLoS One 2016;11(5):e0155815

Muthuri SG, Kuh D, Bendayan R, Macfarlane GJ and Cooper R. Chronic physical illness in early life and risk of chronic widespread and regional pain at age 68: evidence from the 1946 British birth cohort. Pain 2016;157:2382-2389

Mänty M, Kuh D and Cooper R. Associations of fatigue from mid to late life with physical performance and strength in early old age: Results from a British prospective cohort study. Psychosom Med 2015;77:823-83

Cooper R, Bann D, Wloch EG, Adams JE and Kuh D. ”Skeletal muscle function deficit” in a nationally representative British birth cohort in early old age. J Gerontol Med Sci 2015;70:604-607

Cooper R, Strand BH, Hardy R, Patel KV and Kuh D. Physical capability in mid-life and survival over 13 years of follow-up: British birth cohort study. Br Med J 2014;348:g2219

Cooper R, Hardy R, Bann D, Aihie Sayer A, Ward KA, Adams JE and Kuh D. Body mass index from age 15 years onwards and muscle mass, strength and quality in early old age: findings from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. J Gerontol Med Sci 2014;69:1253-1259

Cooper R, Hardy R, Aihie Sayer A, Ben-Shlomo Y, Birnie K, Cooper C, Craig L, Deary IJ, Demakakos P, Gallacher J, McNeill G, Martin RM, Starr JM, Steptoe A, Kuh D on behalf of the HALCyon study team.  Age and gender differences in physical capability levels from mid-life onwards: the harmonisation and meta-analysis of data from eight UK cohort studies. PLoS ONE 2011;6:e27899.

Cooper R, Kuh D, Cooper C, Gale CR, Lawlor DA, Matthews F, Hardy R and the FALCon and HALCyon study teams. Objective measures of physical capability and subsequent health: a systematic review. Age Ageing 2011;40:14-23.

Cooper R, Kuh D, Hardy R and the Mortality Review Group on behalf of the FALCon and HALCyon study teams. Objectively measured physical capability levels and mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br Med J 2010;341:c4467.