Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II)

One of the most salient aspects of aging is its heterogeneity. Some individuals maintain their health and preserve their cognitive abilities into advanced ages, whereas others show precipitous and early decline. To understand the mechanisms that produce this diversity of outcomes, we need to follow the trajectories of aging individuals over time. With this goal in mind, researchers from Berlin and Tübingen initiated the Berlin Aging Study II (Bertram et al., 2014). Like BASE, BASE-II was set up as a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional longitudinal study that captures a wide range of different functional domains. Geriatrics and internal medicine as well as immunology, psychology, genetics, sociology, and economics are among the disciplines involved. The study received financial support from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The recruitment of the BASE-II cohort, which was completed in 2013, resulted in a consolidated baseline sample of 1,600 older adults aged 60 to 80 years and of 600 younger adults aged 20 to 35 years (Bertram et al., 2014). Data from this baseline sample can be linked to the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), a longitudinal panel survey that is representative of the German population, to estimate sample selectivity. See BASE-II in SOEP.

Testing at the Center for Lifespan Psychology

Cognitive Battery of BASE-II
© MPI fuer Bildungsforschung

After extensive piloting, a comprehensive battery of cognitive tests and a psychological questionnaire were added to the baseline protocol in March 2013. The cognitive test battery is distributed across two testing sessions. It includes various facets of episodic memory as well as measures of working memory, cognitive control, fluid intelligence, reading skills, and decision making. It also includes a newly developed measure of subjective health, the subjective health horizon (SHH), to assess participants’ motivation to engage in explorative and novel activities (Düzel et al., 2016). The psychological questionnaire contains measures of self-reported health, well-being, personality, stress, coping, and of attitudes toward aging.

Steering Group

Denis Gerstorf (Speaker)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin & German Institute for Economic Research

Lars Bertram University of Lübeck
Ulman Lindenberger

Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Graham Pawelec University of Tübingen
Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Gert G. Wagner German Institute for Economic Research & Max Planck Institute for Human Development


Katrin Schaar Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Recent Publications

Joshi, P., Pirastu, N., Kentistou, K., Fischer, K., Hofer, E., ... Lindenberger, U., ... Giulianini, F. (in press). Genome-wide meta-analysis associates HLA-DQA1/DRB1 and LPA and lifestyle factors with human longevity. Nature Communications.

Davies, G., Lam, M., Harris, S. E., Trampush, J., ... Liu, T., ... Lindenberger, U., ... Deary, I. J. (2017). Ninety-nine independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function include genes associated with brain health and structure (N = 280,360). bioRxiv: 176511. doi: 10.1101/176511

Kühn, S., Düzel, S., Eibich, P., Krekel, C., Wüstemann, H., ... Wagner, G. G., & Lindenberger, U. (2017). In search of features that constitute an "enriched environment" in humans: Associations between geographical properties and brain structure. Scientific Reports, 7: 11920. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-12046-7

Schaar, K. (2017). Anpassung von Einwilligungserklärungen für wissenschaftliche Forschungsprojekte. Die informierte Einwilligung nach den Vorgaben der DS-GVO und Ethikrichtlinien. Zeitschrift für Datenschutz: ZD, 7, 213–220.

Schmidt, A. F., Swerdlow, D. I., Holmes, M. V., Patel, R. S., ... Liu, T., ... Wagner, G. G., ... Sattar, N. (2017). PCSK9 genetic variants and risk of type 2 diabetes: A Mendelian randomisation study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 5, 97–105. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(16)30396-5


Sandra Düzel
Ulman Lindenberger
Gert G. Wagner

Katrin Schaar (coordination)

Julia Schröder

Kirsten Becker
Anke Klingebiel (research assistants)
Martin Becker (database management)
Berndt Wischnewski (programming)

External cooperation partners: see overview of Steering Group to the left

Key References

Bertram, L., Böckenhoff, A., Demuth, I., Düzel, S., Eckardt, R., Li, S.-C., Lindenberger, U., Pawelec, G., Siedler, T., Wagner, G. G., & Steinhagen-Thiessen, E. (2014). Cohort profile: The Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). International Journal of Epidemiology, 43, 703–712. doi: 10.1093/ije/ dyt018

Delius, J. A. M., Düzel, S., Gerstorf, D., & Lindenberger, U. (2017). Berlin Aging Studies (BASE and BASE-II). In N. A. Pachana (Ed.), Encyclopedia of geropsychology (pp. 386–395). New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978- 981-287-080-3_44-1

Gerstorf, D., Bertram, L., Lindenberger, U., Pawelec, G., Wagner, G. G., & Steinhagen-­Thiessen, E. (Eds.). (2016). The Berlin Aging Study II: An overview [Special section]. Gerontology, 62, 311–370.

BASE-II Website

Logo BASE II | Berli Aging Study II