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No laughing matter

As a third world doctor, I thought I'd seen it all. Until I signed up for a British medical survey

By Elizabeth Pisani   April 2009

In my day job as an epidemiologist I collect blood and urine from people, ask them questions about their sex lives and assure them that they’re contributing to the greater good of science. But I’ve just been put through the procedure myself for the first time. And I didn’t like it one bit.

I am one of half a million people in Britain who are being poked, prodded, measured and questioned about diet and sex life—all in the name of science. The massive survey of 40 to 69 year olds, called the Biobank study, will store fluids, measurements and information…

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