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24 January 2024

TwinsUK twins undergo first MRI Scan in study on healthy ageing

TwinsUK participants are the first pair of twins to be scanned at King’s as part of a unique study investigating early markers of disease and aging in identical and non-identical twins.

TwinsUK MR study

The Twins MR Imaging Study, utilising the UK’s first MAGNETOM Free.Max, signifies a leap in the field of medical imaging. This state-of-the-art scanner, installed at the King’s Advanced MRI Centre, represents a collaborative effort to push the boundaries of accessibility and innovation in healthcare. 2,500 TwinsUK members will undergo comprehensive MRI scans of the brain, spine, heart, and other vital organs at the King’s Advanced MRI Centre.

Using the MRI data, the team will look at the size, structure, and function of organs like the heart, liver, blood vessels and brain, and body tissue composition such as muscles, fat and ligaments. The MRI data gathered will be connected with health record data and a wealth of new and historical data donated by TwinsUK members for the past 30 years. The outcome will be a comprehensive and powerful resource to explore and support research into health and ageing-related topics.

Twin studies provide an ideal way to explore how the body develops as it matures and how age-related diseases form. They help us unpick the effects of genetics and life experiences on how the body changes.

Professor Claire Steves, Head of Department, Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology

This marks a step forward in TwinsUK's quest to unlock the secrets of the human body. The collaboration between TwinsUK and the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences is a testament to the power of collective scientific endeavours.

Professor Sebastien Ourselin FReng FMedSci, Head of the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, said: "The opportunity to bring more than 20 years of twins health data into collaboration with the advanced medical imaging facilities of our school will enable us to create one of the most complete research biobanks of the UK population. From this we can look to learn more about the effects of environment and lifestyle on health and how they impact on normal human aging. This is an exciting time for cross-disciplinary research, and I look forward to the outcomes of this new study."

Our journey with TwinsUK has not only contributed to scientific advancements but has also remarkably enhanced our well-being. We've noticed a significant improvement in our health since becoming members. Being part of this exciting new MRI study is particularly exciting for us, drawing from a past MRI that identified a lumbar issue, leading to successful corrective surgery. This underscores the importance and effectiveness of MRI scans, and we are thrilled to be part of this ongoing scientific endeavour.

TwinUK members Jean and Sharon

In this story

Claire  Steves

Professor of Ageing and Health

Sebastien Ourselin

Professor of Healthcare Engineering