Back to cohorts


  • General population cohort: 500 000 volunteer participants
  • Age at recruitment (btw 2006 -2010): 40 to 69 years
  • Genotype: 500 000 participants
  • Brain MRI: 15 000 participants to date

Age distribution of cohort

age histogram

Cognitive Function

Question nb. individuals
FI1:numeric addition test 190 387
FI2:identify largest number 189 970
FI3:word interpolation 189 852
FI4:positional arithmetic 189 500
FI5:family relationship calculation 184 590
FI6:conditional arithmetic 165 570
FI7:synonym 135 192
FI8:chain arithmetic 122 905
FI9:conceptual interpolation 58 209
FI10:arithmetic sequence recognition 40 450
FI11:antonym 21 403
FI12:square sequence recognition 15 119
FI13:subset inclusion logic 5 493

Brain MRI

sub category nb. individuals
NIFTI 15 040
DICOM 21 468
Many volume metrics click for more details

sub category nb. individuals
T2_FLAIR structural brain images - NIFTI 14 468
T2_FLAIR structural brain images - DICOM 20 804
Total volume of white matter hyperintensities
(from T1 and T2_FLAIR images)
13 415
Discrepancy between T2 FLAIR and T1 13 420
T2/PD brain images - DICOM 554

sub category nb. individuals
NIFTI 14 989
DICOM 21 388
Matrix and other measures click for more details

Mental Health

From a questionnaire completed online from 157 366 participants in august 2017

The application is in process, we expect access by september 2018. In the mean time the data can be explored on the data showcase

The study is following about 500,000 volunteers in the UK, enrolled at ages from 40 to 69. Initial enrollment took place over four years from 2006, and the volunteers will be followed for at least 30 years thereafter.
Prospective participants were invited to visit an assessment centre, at which they completed an automated questionnaire and were interviewed about lifestyle, medical history and nutritional habits; basic variables such weight, height, blood pressure etc. were measured; and blood and urine samples were taken. These samples were preserved so that it was possible to later extract DNA and measure other biologically important substances. During the whole duration of the study it was intended that all disease events, drug prescriptions and deaths of the participants are recorded in a database, taking advantage of the centralized UK National Health Service.
During the initial physical examination, basic feedback was provided to the participant regarding their weight, height, BMI, blood pressure, lung vital capacity, bone density and intra-ocular pressure; however if any other medical problems were detected, neither the participant nor their physician would be notified. Problems detected later, such as genetic risk factors, were not conveyed to either participant or physician ("to ensure that volunteers are not penalised by insurance companies, for example, which may require customers to disclose the results of any genetic tests.").
From 2012, researchers were able to apply to use the database (though they are not given access to the volunteers, who will remain strictly anonymous). A typical study using the database might compare a sample of participants who developed a particular disease, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes or Alzheimer's disease, with a sample of those that did not, in an attempt to measure the benefits, risk contribution and interaction of specific genes, lifestyles, and medications.
By 2017 Biobank participants had approximately 1.3 million hospitalisations, 40,000 cancer incidents with 14,000 of them having died.