Researchers studying a wide range of common and painful diseases have made extensive use of the UK Biobank Resource during its first full year of operation.
Illnesses such as arthritis, heart disease, chronic lung disease, tinnitus and hearing disorders were among the first to benefit from the detailed health information provided to UK Biobank by its participants.
The data are also stimulating new approaches to research. Scientists are finding new ways to analyse the vast amount of eye data, for instance, which could provide clues to the development of some serious disorders such as dementia long before they become a medical problem.
Almost 900 scientists from around the world have registered with UK Biobank during its first 18 months. There have been 123 applications to use the resource and some of these studies are already finished and their results published. Results will be fed back into the Resource so that others can benefit from them. UK Biobank becomes more valuable as it follows participants’ health for longer. Many thousands more researchers can be expected to use the resource in the coming years as the information it includes becomes increasingly detailed.
Meanwhile, a feasibility study to collect images of brain, heart, bone and blood vessels of 100,000 participants starts in Manchester this year. Genotyping of all half million participants is also underway and the first tranche of hospital data is now available. (No information provided to scientists will identify individual participants.)
Coupled with health and well-being information already provided at assessment, it is possible to see how detailed and valuable the UK Biobank Resource is becoming for health-related research everywhere.
Activities are planned for 2014 to promote the Resource further to the scientific community. Approved research.
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