Berlin Aging Studies (BASE & BASE-II)

Dynamic Modeling of Longitudinal Change and Mortality

During the 20th century, average life expectancy nearly doubled. More and more individuals in current cohorts of older individuals experience additional years of life between the ages of 70 and 100+. What do these added years mean in terms of levels of functional capacity and quality of life? What are the constraints on mental and physical capacities in the last years of life? Given the heterogeneity of aging trajectories and outcomes, longitudinal studies of individual development are crucial in providing answers to these questions. Since 1989, members of the Center for Lifespan Psychology have been investigating age- and death-related changes in psychological functioning from age 70 to 100+ in the context of the Berlin Aging Study I (BASE). In 2013, BASE-II was established to address antecedents of healthy aging.

The Berlin Aging Study is a multidisciplinary investigation of old people aged 70 to over 100 years who lived in former West Berlin. In the main study (1990–1993), a core sample of 516 individuals was closely examined in 14 sessions covering their mental and physical health, their psychological functioning, and their social and economic situation. BASE was continued as a longitudinal study, and surviving participants were reexamined seven times. more
The continuation study BASE-II investigates the physical, cognitive, and social conditions that lead to successful aging. 2,200 Berlin residents are being investigated. They form two groups: 1,600 participants belong to the older sample aged between 60 and 80, and 600 participants are between 20 and 35. The group of younger people functions as a reference group for the group of older participants. The participants are currently being examined for the third time. more


A healthy brain is essential to enjoy a productive human life. Many environmental, social, occupational, and lifestyle factors influence brain health. The Lifebrain project aims to identify these factors and understand how they influence brain development, cognitive function and mental health at different stages of life.

Lifebrain integrates data from 6000 research participants collected in 11 European brain-imaging studies in 7 countries. BASE and BASE-II are participating in this project.

Lifebrain is an international research project funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.

Lifebrain Website

Involved Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development

Introductory Publication

Walhovd, K. B., Fjell, A. M., Westerhausen, R., Nyberg, L., Ebmeier, K. P., Lindenberger, U., Bartrés-Faz, D., Baaré, W. F. C., Siebner, H. R., Henson, R., Drevon, C. A., Strømstad Knudsen, G. P., Budin Ljøsne, I., Penninx, B. W. J. H., Ghisletta, P., Rogeberg, O., Tyler, L., Bertram, L., & Lifebrain Consortium. (2018). Healthy minds from 0-100 years: Optimising the use of European brain imaging cohorts ("Lifebrain"). European Psychiatry, 50, 47–56.

Key Publications


Click here for the complete BASE publication list.

Lindenberger, U., Smith, J., Mayer, K. U., & Baltes, P. B. (Eds.). (2010). Die Berliner Altersstudie (3rd ext. ed.). Akademie Verlag.
Baltes, P. B., & Mayer, K. U. (Eds.). (2001). The Berlin Aging Study: Aging from 70 to 100 (First paperback printing). Cambridge University Press.


Click here for the complete BASE-II publication list.

Demuth, I., Banszerus, V., Drewelies, J., Düzel, S., Seeland, U., Spira, D., Tse, E., Braun, J., Steinhagen-Thiessen, E., Bertram, L., Thiel, A., Lindenberger, U., Regitz-Zagrosek, V., & Gerstorf, D. (2021). Cohort profile: Follow-up of a Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II) subsample as part of the GendAge study. BMJ Open, 11, Article e045576.
Demuth, I., Bertram, L., Drewelies, J., Düzel, S., Lill, C. M., Lindenberger, U., Pawelec, G., Spira, D., Wagner, G. G., & Gerstorf, D. (2019). Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). In D. Gu & M. E. Dupre (Eds.), Encyclopedia of gerontology and population aging. Springer.
Gerstorf, D., Bertram, L., Lindenberger, U., Pawelec, G., Steinhagen-Thiessen, E., & Wagner, G. G. (Eds.). (2016). The Berlin Aging Study II: An overview [Special section]. Gerontology, 62(3), 311–362.
Bertram, L., Böckenhoff, A., Demuth, I., Düzel, S., Eckardt, R., Li, S.-C., Lindenberger, U., Pawelec, G., Siedler, T., Wagner, G., & Steinhagen-Thiessen, E. (2014). Cohort profile: The Berlin Aging Study II (BASE-II). International Journal of Epidemiology, 43(3), 703–712.
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