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Biological Samples, DNA and Structural Assessments


An intensive clinic data collection at age 60-64 years allowed the collection of new data on cardiac and vascular structure and function, bone and body composition, and biomarkers based on blood, urine and saliva samples, in addition to the functional measures, and health and lifestyle information that has previously been collected.

LHA’s strategic plan 2008-13 identified the need for a NSHD DNA repository to support genetic studies of human health, disease and ageing, that make the best use of the available genetics resources, and the well characterised phenotypic resources. The director’s options appraisal in 2007 identified the need for (1) a highly automated and secure laboratory to manage the NSHD DNA samples, (2) MREC approval for a wide range of genetic studies with appropriate LHA governance, and (3) a LHA genetics project manager to liaise with the repository and scientists wishing to use the resources.

LHA obtained approval from the Central Manchester Research Ethics Committee, for genetic studies of lifelong health, disease and ageing, and for our proposed arrangements for the scientific and ethical review of requests for DNA resources and/or genotyping. A substantial amendment to include Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) was approved in January 2009. A further substantial amendment to include epigenomic studies and epigenome wide studies was approved in February 2012. Reviews are undertaken by the NSHD Data Sharing committee and members of the NSHD Biological Samples Advisory Group.

Obtaining the standard biological sample, DNA or structural assessment variables

  • As these tests and assessments provide a huge number of independent and related measures, it has not been possible to select standard baskets.
  • If you are interested in these topics, many variables are available on Skylark, so an appropriate keyword search [based on the measure(s) you are interested in] on Skylark should give the results you need.
  • For example, search for 'LDL' or 'cholesterol' for the relevant samples, or 'DXA' will give you all the DEXA measures collected at age 60-64.
  • You can then email the XML of your saved basket to us in support of your application.

However, please note that a large proportion of these data are not available on Skylark due to their size or nature; for example DNA, activity data and other 'specialist' assessments and scans. Please contact us if your research may require access to the specialist datasets.