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Posts tagged ‘big data’

New tools help show what genes do

To understand the roles of different genes, Dr James Brown and colleagues at the MRC Harwell Institute are part of a project trying to find out what every single mouse gene does. To help speed things along, they have developed new software to analyse images of mouse embryos.

black mouse
Our 20,000 genes provide the instructions for everything our body does. But we don’t yet know what each one is responsible for. We share 90 percent of our genes with mice so finding out their ‘function’ could help us understand more about human disease. Read more

It’s time to recognise the benefits of medical data use

Using medical data may help improve public health services and help identify patterns of disease, which could lead to more effective practices for prevention. Our head of clinical ethics and data, Dr Jon Fistein, argues that we should say more about these benefits.

It is widely recognised that routinely-collected health data can be used to improve the healthcare provided to individuals and to communities. The US Institute of Medicine champions the ‘learning healthcare system’ in which routinely-collected data are used to drive better, more efficient medical practice and patient care. Indeed, many argue that such uses of data are the only ways to improve services, reduce waste and make health service provision sustainable.

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UK Biobank: looking at the whole person

Today, the UK Biobank has launched the largest body scanning project in the world. Funded by the MRC, Wellcome Trust and British Heart Foundation, the biobank will scan 100,000 people to provide images of their brains, hearts, bones, carotid arteries and abdominal fat. Head of the Division of Brain Sciences at Imperial College London Professor Paul Matthews is one of the academic experts who have been supporting UK Biobank to create this resource and he tells us how it could prove invaluable to all areas of medicine.

Professor Paul Matthews

Building the bank
Over 10 years, the UK Biobank has recruited and gathered a wealth of high quality information from 500,000 people across the country. These people have donated blood, urine and saliva samples, provided detailed health, lifestyle and environment information and agreed to allow the biobank to follow their GP and hospital records throughout life.

Now we will be adding sophisticated imaging to enrich our understanding of the origins and progression of the major diseases of later life. Read more