Abstract

Medical imaging has enormous potential for early disease prediction, but is impeded by the difficulty and expense of acquiring data sets before symptom onset. UK Biobank aims to address this problem directly by acquiring high-quality, consistently acquired imaging data from 100,000 predominantly healthy participants, with health outcomes being tracked over the coming decades. The brain imaging includes structural, diffusion and functional modalities. Along with body and cardiac imaging, genetics, lifestyle measures, biological phenotyping and health records, this imaging is expected to enable discovery of imaging markers of a broad range of diseases at their earliest stages, as well as provide unique insight into disease mechanisms. We describe UK Biobank brain imaging and present results derived from the first 5,000 participants' data release. Although this covers just 5% of the ultimate cohort, it has already yielded a rich range of associations between brain imaging and other measures collected by UK Biobank.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the valuable contributions of members of the UK Biobank Imaging Working Group and the UK Biobank coordinating center. We are very grateful for additional input into the imaging protocol and image processing pipelines from M. Chappell, S. Clare, E. Duff, D. Flitney, M. Hernandez Fernandez, H. Johansen-Berg, P. McCarthy, J. Miller, D. Mortimer, J. Price, G. Salimi-Khorshidi, E. Vallee, D. Vidaurre, M. Webster, A. Winkler, A. Young, E. Auerbach, S. Moeller, K. Ugurbil, D. Alexander, N. Fox, E. Kaden, S. Ourselin, G. Zhang, A. Daducci, T. Stoecker, D. Barch, N. Bloom, G. Burgess, M. Glasser, M. Harms, D. Nolan, B. Fischl, D. Greve, J. Polimeni, T. Nichols, A. Murphy, G. Parker, F. Barkhof, C. Beckmann, M. Mennes, M. Vernooij, N. Weiskopf, C. Rorden and J. Wardlaw. We are grateful for the provision of simultaneous multi-slice (multiband) pulse sequence and reconstruction algorithms from the Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota. Finally, we are extremely grateful to all UK Biobank study participants, who generously donated their time to make this resource possible. UK Biobank (including the imaging enhancement) has been generously supported by the UK Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust. K.L.M. and S.M.S. receive further support from the Wellcome Trust. P.M.M. acknowledges support from the Edmund J Safra Foundation and Lily Safra, the Imperial College Healthcare Trust Biomedical Research Centre, and the Medical Research Council.

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Affiliations

  1. Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

    • Karla L Miller
    • , Fidel Alfaro-Almagro
    • , Saad Jbabdi
    • , Stamatios N Sotiropoulos
    • , Jesper L R Andersson
    • , Ludovica Griffanti
    • , Gwenaëlle Douaud
    • , Thomas W Okell
    • , Mark Jenkinson
    •  & Stephen M Smith
  2. Department of Electrical Engineering, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA.

    • Neal K Bangerter
  3. Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, UK.

    • David L Thomas
  4. Center for Magnetic Resonance Research, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

    • Essa Yacoub
  5. Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA.

    • Junqian Xu
  6. Department of Neuroradiology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

    • Andreas J Bartsch
  7. Siemens Healthcare UK, Frimley, UK.

    • Peter Weale
    •  & Iulius Dragonu
  8. UK Biobank, Stockport, UK.

    • Steve Garratt
    • , Sarah Hudson
    •  & Rory Collins
  9. Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

    • Rory Collins
  10. Division of Brain Sciences, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK.

    • Paul M Matthews

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Contributions

K.L.M., R.C., P.M.M. and S.M.S. provided the overall scientific strategy for UK Biobank brain imaging. K.L.M., N.K.B., D.L.T., E.Y., J.X., A.J.B., S.J., S.N.S., J.L.R.A., M.J., P.M.M. and S.M.S. developed acquisition protocols. N.K.B., K.L.M., T.W.O., P.W., I.D., S.G. and S.H. implemented the imaging protocol at the dedicated imaging center. F.A.-A., K.L.M., S.J., S.N.S., J.L.R.A., L.G., G.D., M.J. and S.M.S. developed post-processing pipelines and IDP calculation. K.L.M. and S.M.S. carried out the univariate and multivariate analyses and prepared figures. K.L.M. and S.M.S. wrote the manuscript, which was edited by all of the authors.

Competing interests

P.W. and I.D. are employees of Siemens Healthcare UK, the vendor of MRI scanners for UK Biobank, selected under a competitive bidding process.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Karla L Miller.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.4393

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