Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: UK Biobank


 To determine whether height and body mass index (BMI) have a causal role in five measures of socioeconomic status.

Concepts: Mass, Sociology, Industrial Revolution, Body mass index, United Kingdom, UK Biobank


In this cross-sectional analysis of the UK Biobank cohort, a history of fracture was associated with increased risk of current widespread chronic pain.

Concepts: Research methods, Epidemiology, United Kingdom, UK Biobank


The adverse impact of visual impairment and blindness and correlations with socioeconomic position are known. Understanding of the effect of the substantially more common near-normal vision (mild impairment) and associations with social position as well as health and life chances is limited.

Concepts: Sociology, United Kingdom, English language, Visual impairment, UK Biobank


We present a practical “how-to” guide to help determine whether single-subject fMRI independent components (ICs) characterise structured noise or not. Manual identification of signal and noise after ICA decomposition is required for efficient data denoising: to train supervised algorithms, to check the results of unsupervised ones or to manually clean the data. In this paper we describe the main spatial and temporal features of ICs and provide general guidelines on how to evaluate these. Examples of signal and noise components are provided from a wide range of datasets (3T data, including examples from the UK Biobank and the Human Connectome Project, and 7T data), together with practical guidelines for their identification. Finally, we discuss how the data quality, data type and preprocessing can influence the characteristics of the ICs and present examples of particularly challenging datasets.

Concepts: Computer program, Metaphysics, Programming language, Manual transmission, UK Biobank


Policy makers are being encouraged to specifically target sugar intake in order to combat obesity. We examined the extent to which sugar, relative to other macronutrients, was associated with adiposity.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Adipose tissue, Policy, Self number, Biobank, UK Biobank


UK Biobank’s ambitious aim is to perform cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) in 100,000 people previously recruited into this prospective cohort study of half a million 40-69 year-olds.

Concepts: Cohort study, Epidemiology, UK Biobank


Biobanks are adopting various modes of public engagement to close the agency gap between participants and biobank builders. We propose a wiki-governance model for biobanks that harnesses Web 2.0, and which gives citizens the ability to collaborate in biobank governance and policymaking.

Concepts: World Wide Web, Web 2.0, Biobank, UK Biobank


BACKGROUND: Effective translational biomedical research hinges on the operation of “biobanks,” repositories which assemble, store, and manage collections of human specimens and related data. Some are established intentionally to address particular research needs; many, however, have arisen opportunistically, in a variety of settings and with a variety of expectations regarding their functions and longevity. Despite their rising prominence, little is known about how biobanks are organized and function beyond simple classification systems (“government, academia, industry”). Methods: In 2012, we conducted the first national survey of biobanks in the U.S., collecting information on their origins, specimen collections, organizational structures, and market contexts and sustainability. From a list of 636 biobanks assembled through a multi-faceted search strategy, representatives from 456 U.S. biobanks were successfully recruited for a 30 minute online survey (72% response rate). Both closed and open-ended responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: While nearly two-thirds of biobanks were established within the last decade, 17% have been in existence for over 20 years. Fifty-three percent listed research on a particular disease as the most important reason for establishment; 29% listed research generally. Other reasons included response to a grant or gift, and intent to centralize, integrate, or harmonize existing research structures. Biobank collections are extraordinarily diverse in number and types of specimens and in sources (often multiple) from which they are obtained, including from individuals, clinics/hospitals, public health programs, and research studies. Forty-four percent of biobanks store pediatric specimens, and 36% include post-mortem specimens. Most biobanks are affiliated in one or multiple ways with other entities: 88% are part of at least one or more larger organizations (67% of these are academic, 23% hospitals, 13% research institutes). The majority of biobanks seem to fill a particular “niche” within a larger organization or research area; a minority are concerned about competition for services, although many are worried about underutilization of specimens and long term funding. Conclusions: Effective utilization of biobank collections and effective policies to govern their use will require understanding the immense diversity found in organizational features, including the very different history and primary goals that many biobanks have.

Concepts: Federal government of the United States, Organization, Specimen, Statistical survey, Biobank, UK Biobank, Generation Scotland


New opportunities for large-scale data linkage and data-mining have rendered biobanks one of the core resources of medical research in the twenty-first century. At the same time, research biobanking has been seen to pose particular ethical and legal challenges pertaining to, for example, data protection, and the minimisation of other risks for participants. These measures have in turn led to heavy administrative, logistical, and financial costs and attracted criticism for unduly impeding disease research. Based on a newly formulated approach to solidarity, we propose an approach to governance that recognises people’s willingness to participate in a public research biobank, and poses stronger emphasis on harm mitigation. We argue that such a model avoids some of the pitfalls of previous approaches. It also allows moving beyond overly restrictive and burdensome, exclusively autonomy-based governance towards governance that is reflective of people’s willingness to accept costs to assist others.

Concepts: Participation, Management, 21st century, Accept, The Core, Biobank, Surveillance, UK Biobank


The research importance of biobanked biological materials and their derived data is growing, especially as these are increasingly linked with individual and population-level medical and health information. The number, diversity, and size of biobanks are growing in tandem. So, too, is the number of individuals whose donations are being used in biobank-supported research, with or without their knowledge. Pretty soon, we all will be “participants” in a variety of research projects we know nothing about. Until recently, our leftover tissue or deidentified medical information could be used for research without our consent or even our knowledge. Even if we’ve been asked-as the current regulations require when research uses are anticipated-we were most likely asked to give a blanket consent to any future use, with no prospect of learning about or controlling how our material is later used. This is an ethically problematic state of affairs, but there are options for improving it.

Concepts: Data, 2000s music groups, Material, The Current, Individual, Individual rights, Biobank, UK Biobank