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Approved research

Organ specific fat measurements using MRI. A new quantitative imaging method with automated analysis

Principal Investigator: Dr Olof Dahlqvist Leinhard
Approved Research ID: 6569
Approval date: January 1st 2015

Lay summary

The aim of the proposed study is to investigate relationships between fat
distribution and other factors related to the metabolic syndrome. Most
population studies are today using BMI, Waist to Hip ratio or total amount of
body fat as measurements and biomarkers for obesity. Imaging methods are
now being introduced and can offer improved accuracy and reproducibility for
the biomarkers indicating obesity related diseases. A new automatic analysis
method is here proposed for the analysis of abdominal MR images acquired
within the UK Biobank study, offering a unique possibility to quantify
abdominal fat distribution.

These measures of fat distribution will be returned to the UK Biobank enabling
access to these biomarkers for the research community, thereby supporting
obesity-related research in line with the purpose of the UK Biobank. We expect
that the proposed work, to quantify and localize fat volume in specific organs
of importance, will enable identification of new and more specific biomarkers
for chronic diseases where body composition plays an important role. This will
have great impact in many of the proposed research projects starting or
already started within UK Biobank.

After MR scanning, we will analyse the data and quantify abdominal fat and
subcutaneous fat in the abdominal region, as well as thigh muscle volume,
using automated image analysis. These measures will then be correlated to other factors related to obesity and the metabolic syndrome, such as genetic and demographic data, life style and dietary information, blood analysis data and metabolic information. We intend to analyze the full cohort of the UK Biobank imaging study.