Help us complete the world’s largest imaging study ever!
The UK Biobank imaging study is the most ambitious project to take pictures of the inside of the human body ever undertaken. We aim to scan the brains, hearts, bones and abdomens of 100,000 UK Biobank participants – and we are already more than halfway to this target.
If you have taken part – thank you so much. If you have not yet accepted your invitation, or not been invited, you can help us to achieve our goal! Please read the study information leaflet available here and then call the Participant Resource Centre on 0800 0 276 276 to book your imaging appointment now.
It is very important that we have up-to-date contact details for you to be able to invite you to future assessments. You can update your details by logging in to the participant website here - please provide us with your email address if you have one: www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/members
From one UK Biobank participant to another: why I took part in the world’s largest imaging study
Dear fellow UK Biobank participant,
Like you, I am a contributor to this very special resource and, as luck would have it, I was recently the 50,000th person to take part in the UK Biobank imaging study – which involved having MRI scans at their Newcastle imaging assessment centre.
If you have not already done so, you will receive an invitation to be scanned at your nearest UK Biobank imaging assessment centre. When I first saw the invitation, it felt like a big ask - to travel for about three hours and spend several hours being tested. But I soon realised that it was a good and important thing to do – an interesting experience in its own right and a real contribution to the health of the public. Having now had the assessment, I’d say to anyone considering their own invitation that taking part is like contributing to charity, but with your time rather than with money.
UK Biobank is unique in the world for its size, detail and ambition, but also for the way that participants are followed up. This means that the information we all provided at the first assessment, combined with the information collected through the imaging study, creates a truly rich database that enables scientists to understand how our health changes as we get older.
In the UK, we have an ageing population that is becoming prone to the kinds of health problems that UK Biobank is enabling research into, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, dementia and hearing loss. More recently, UK Biobank and we as participants have recently played an important role in helping to inform the science around COVID immunity.
By continuing to provide our data, we will help scientists to understand, prevent and treat all these conditions in the future. Numbers really matter in this kind of research. Getting to 50,000 participants scanned is a real achievement, and a good sign that the target of 100,000 is within reach. I really hope that on receiving your invitation you will also consider taking part, and that you will find it as rewarding as I did.
Received an invite to attend an imaging visit?
You can call the Participant Resource Centre on 0800 0276 276 or email email@example.com to find out more and book at your nearest assessment centre.
Enabling early findings
Heart MRI images from UK Biobank participants have been analysed to show that diabetes causes subtle structural changes to the heart. These findings can be used to understand and detect early heart damage related to diabetes, allowing action to be taken before it can lead to serious problems. UK Biobank is also uniquely placed to identify whether there are particular genes or biomarkers that affect the response to diabetic treatments and improve glucose control, and thereby the quality of life for those living with diabetes. Read more here: Diabetes shrinks heart's chambers.
Help us add extra layers of detail
Take part in questionnaires
There are lots of things you can do to help us learn about your health and well-being from the comfort of your own home. We have been contacting participants for whom we have email details inviting them to participate in online questionnaires. These questionnaires allow us to collect information on health outcomes that is not easily available through linkage to health records, for example on chronic pain and mental health. Our current questionnaires are collecting data on pain, general health, food preferences and mental well-being. We are also launching a questionnaire on sleep at the end of 2022.
We are incredibly grateful that around 1 in 2 participants invited have completed each of our questionnaires. Because they generate digital results, there is little delay in making these data available to the international research community and published findings on many health conditions have already started to emerge from questionnaire data in areas such as diet and mental health.
You can complete our online questionnaires on a desktop computer, tablet or smart phone. If you have questions, or would like to provide us with an email address so that you can take part, please contact our Participant Resource Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 0 276 276 free of charge, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
You can log into the participant portal to complete online questionnaires using the link below. Please ensure your contact details are up to date so we can notify you when these questionnaires are available for you to partake.
Project announced to invite 60,000 UK Biobank participants to attend a repeat imaging assessment
A £30M project will capture a repeated set of highly-detailed, multi-organ images from 60,000 UK Biobank participants, allowing researchers to assess changes in physiology over time. This effort will enable a better understanding of the trajectory of major chronic diseases of mid-to-later life and enable researchers to explore the mechanisms through which diseases occur in individuals.
The project has been funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC); Calico Life Sciences, a biotechnology organization founded by Alphabet and Arthur D. Levinson; and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a philanthropy founded by Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg.
UK Biobank participants that have completed their first imaging visit will be invited to attend a repeat set of scans two or more years after their initial visit.
Please stay in touch
UK Biobank would like to keep in touch with you and give you the opportunity to help further if you wish to do so. We would prefer to keep in contact with you by email (as this is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way of staying in touch) so if you have an email address we would be grateful if you would consider sharing it with us. You can update your contact details (email address, phone number and postal address) by logging in to the participant website at www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/members or by calling or emailing the Participant Resource Centre on 0800 0 276 276 or at email@example.com.
Whilst we like to receive updated contact details directly from our participants, we realise that it is not always easy to let everyone know when you move home or change a phone number or email address. For this reason, we give you a helping hand from time to time by checking and updating your contact details (if required) using information shared with us by the NHS and Royal Mail (through a data quality service provided by Experian). These checks not only allow us to keep in touch with you, but also ensure that we can adhere to the UK General Data Protection Regulation which requires UK Biobank to maintain accurate and up-to-date records. Please note that the data we share to enable these checks to be completed do not include any health-related data that you have provided to UK Biobank. Please see our Participant Privacy Notice (https://www.ukbiobank.ac.uk/privacy-policy) for further information about how we process, store and use your data in a manner that is consistent with the basis on which you joined UK Biobank.