Bristol partaking in the world’s biggest imaging project

Final steps have been taken preparing for thousands of people in and around Bristol to undergo detailed imaging as part of the world’s largest scanning project.

Two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, weighing 7 and 5 tons, have been delivered to the purpose built facility in the Patchway area. These will obtain images of participant’s brains, hearts, bones and blood vessels. Building work is nearing completion on the multi-million pound imaging centre which is set to open in the New Year. This is a major enhancement of the UK Biobank project and the biggest of its kind.

UK Biobank recruited 43,000 volunteer participants from the Bristol area in July 2008. Participants agreed to have their health followed to help find out why some people get painful and life threatening diseases, including dementia and cancer, whilst others do not.

“This next phase of the UK Biobank project is the biggest and boldest yet. The project aims to image 100,000 of its half a million volunteers and nearly 50,000 have already been through the procedure in Reading, Manchester and Newcastle.

Adding this detailed extra information from images will help in many ways. For instance, it should identify early changes that increase the risk of developing disease, and it may suggest new ways to slow that process, or to prevent disease altogether.”

Professor Rory Collins, UK Biobank Principal Investigator 

It is hoped that UK Biobank participants, who first volunteered for the project around 11 years ago, will help again to create the most detailed study of its kind ever undertaken. The first participants at the Bristol site are due to be scanned in the early months of next year, with thousands more to follow.

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