Last updated Oct 16, 2019
UK Biobank is the biggest gift ever given to health researchers by a single nation, pioneering Icelandic geneticist Kari Stefansson told our 2019 scientific conference.
As the project grows in detail every year, researchers praised the way in which the resource is being used and looked to the future with anticipation and excitement.
Thanks to participants’ long-term support of UK Biobank the study has passed a range of important landmarks in the past year:
- More than 12,000 health scientists from around the world are now registered to use the resource;
- More than 1,000 health studies are underway;
- Almost 900 completed projects have reported their findings in expert scientific journals such as The Lancet, Nature and the Journal of the American Medical Association;
- Hundreds of scientists have presented their findings at health conferences around the world.
Studies continue to address the widest range of illnesses including cancer, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, depression and arthritis. They use health information provided by participants when you joined the study more than 10 years ago, and collected over the intervening years. This includes:
- Basic baseline data – your height, weight, and health and well-being information provided during your first assessment visit;
- Information taken from national medical registers, such as those on cancer;
- Records of stays in hospital, outpatients appointments and information collected by GPs;
- Genetics data from samples of blood donated at the start of the project;
- Images of the brains, hearts, bones and abdominal fat of 40,000 participants – with our goal of 100,000 by 2022;
- Other measures including detailed activity records on 100,000 participants and the results of online questionnaires about digestive health, pain, mental health, diet and food preferences and work history.
Thank you to all our participants for making the UK Biobank resource possible. You can find out much more about our successes here:
- Imaging study on course to scan 100,000
- A global resource transforming health
- Pollution linked with serious changes in the heart
- Dr Kári Stefánsson video: Why should we whole genome sequence the UK Biobank cohort?
- Professor Rory Collins video: The story so far