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About our data

New data & enhancements to UK Biobank

UK Biobank has collected and continues to collect extensive environmental, lifestyle, and genetic data on half a million participants. New data are uploaded into the database regularly. 

 

Registered researchers receive emails when new data are available for release. Information about updates, including the timelines for data releases, are posted on the Essential information page of the Data Showcase.  

 

UK Biobank participants have generously provided a very wide range of information about their health and well-being since recruitment began in 2006. This has been added to in the following ways:  

  • Imaging: Brain, heart and full body MR imaging, plus full body DEXA scan of the bones and joints and an ultrasound of the carotid arteries. The goal is to image 100,000 participants, and to invite participants back for a repeat scan some years later.  
  • Genetics: Genotyping (800,000 genome-wide variants and imputation to 90 million variants), whole exome sequencing & whole genome sequencing for all participants. 
  • Health linkages: Linkage to a wide range of electronic health-related records, including death, cancer, hospital admissions and primary care records.  
  • Biomarkers: Data on more than 30 key biochemistry markers from all participants, taken from samples collected at recruitment and the first repeat assessment.  
  • Activity monitor: Physical activity data over a 7-day period collected via a wrist-worn activity monitor for 100,000 participants plus a seasonal follow-up on a subset. 
  • Online questionnaires: Data on a range of exposures and health outcomes that are difficult to assess via routine health records, including diet, food preferences, work history, pain, cognitive function, digestive health and mental health.  
  • Repeat baseline assessments: A full baseline assessment is undertaken during the imaging assessment of 100,000 participants. 
  • Samples: Blood & urine was collected from all participants, and saliva for 100,000.  

Future enhancements

We welcome and encourage researchers from industry, charity and academia to put forward their suggestions on enhancements to the data in UK Biobank to enable scientific discoveries and improve human health. If researchers have ideas, please do get in touch. 

Get in touch

Update on COVID-19

UK Biobank is involved in important activities to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. We are making regular updates of health records to registered researchers to enable research into the determinants and consequences of COVID-19.  This includes data from diagnostic tests, hospital inpatient admissions (including critical care), death and primary care records. We are also undertaking a study to measure SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in 20,000 UK Biobank participants and their children over time to assess seroprevalence across the UK and to measure the extent to which antibody levels change over time. 

COVID-19 hub: latest info

Data Showcase

The UK Biobank Data Showcase provides a summary of all the information gathered by UK Biobank on our 500,000 participants and is available to explore. Not only does this contain background information on how these data were collected, it also includes notes about future collections. Feel free to explore the categories of data before applying to use it.   

UK Biobank Data Showcase

Baseline assessment 

UK Biobank recruited 500,000 people aged between 40-69 years in 2006-2010 from across the UK. They have undergone a wide range of physical measures, provided information on their lifestyle and medical history, donated blood, urine and saliva samples for future analysis and agreed to have their health followed up through linkage to their health-related records. 

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