Largest-ever health imaging study to scan 100,000 people

Researchers in the United Kingdom have launched a study that aims to scan the brains and internal organs of approximately 100,000 British patients over the next six to eight years in the largest health imaging study ever conducted.

Launched by nonprofit biological data repository UK Biobank, the landmark study could help medical scientists better understand and treat myriad diseases—including heart disease, cancer and dementia—by creating the world's largest imaging database.

“One of the crucial questions we can start to answer is, what happens in the brain years before dementia, stroke or other disorders are diagnosed? Can we understand it and find new ways to treat or prevent the onset?” said Professor Paul Matthews, chairman of the study’s expert working group, in a press release. “Researchers can now test ideas quickly, armed with no more than a good idea, appropriate software and access to the necessary computational resource.” 

Data from the study—which will utilize MRI, ultrasound and dual-energy x-ray imaging—will be accessible to researchers who are registered with Biobank, with existing data already being studied by nearly 3,000 British and international scientists.