Health and biomarkers

Health Assessment

Understanding Society collects information about participant’s social and economic circumstances, attitudes and beliefs and it also gathers information about their health.

As part of the Main Study from Wave 1 onwards participants are asked a number of questions about their general health. In Wave 2 and Wave 3 adult participants received a follow-up health assessment visit from a registered nurse. A range of bio-medical measures were collected from around 20,000 adults, which included blood pressure, weight, height, waist measurement, body fat, grip strength and lung function.

Blood samples were also taken at these visits and biomarker data is available including:

  • Measures of fat in the blood (cholesterol and triglycerides)
  • An indicator of diabetes (Glycated haemoglobin HbA1c)
  • Measures of inflammation and the immune system– the body’s way of responding to harm (High sensitivity c-reactive protein, fibrinogen and CMV seropositivity)
  • Measures of anaemia (Haemoglobin and ferritin)
  • Liver and kidney function
  • Hormones that build up the body – (testosterone, DHEAs, IFG-1).

Genetics and epigenetics data

A genome wide scan (Illumina human core exome array) has been conducted on DNA samples from approximately 10,000 people.  Methylation profiling has been conducted on DNA samples from approximately 1,200 individuals from the British Household Panel Survey component of Understanding Society. Using the Illumina Methylation EPIC BeadChip we have integrated over 850,000 Methylation sites across the genome.

Genetics and epigenetics data are available to researchers by application only. 

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