UK Biobank: Current status and what it means for epidemiology
Allen N., Sudlow C., Downey P., Peakman T., Danesh J., Elliott P., Gallacher J., Green J., Matthews P., Pell J., Sprosen T., Collins R.
UK Biobank is a very large prospective study which aims to provide a resource for the investigation of the genetic, environmental and lifestyle determinants of a wide range of diseases of middle age and later life. Between 2006 and 2010, over 500,000 men and women aged 40 to 69 years were recruited and extensive data on participants' lifestyles, environment, medical history and physical measures, along with biological samples, were collected. The health of the participants is now being followed long-term, principally through linkage to a wide range of health-related records, with validation and characterisation of health-related outcomes. Further enhancements are also underway to improve phenotype characterisation, including internet-based dietary assessment, biomarker measurements on the baseline blood samples and, in sub-samples of the cohort, physical activity monitoring and proposals for extensive brain and body imaging. UK Biobank is now available for use by all researchers, without exclusive or preferential access, for any health-related research that is in the public interest. The open-access nature of the resource will allow researchers from around the world to conduct research that leads to better strategies for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of life-threatening and disabling conditions. © 2012 Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine.