Study center examination

As part of the study, a comprehensive health check will be performed with a focus on the cardiovascular system as well as vascular health. Depending on the age group, the examinations performed may vary slightly, as we would like to collect the most conclusive information possible from all individuals.

Please note that some of the measured values are currently still only collected for purely scientific reasons, i.e. not all examinations have comparative values that allow us to classify your individual results in comparison to other people of your age and gender. For this reason, not all of the examinations performed will be listed in your results report.

The following examinations are currently being performed at the study center:

This ultrasound examination can be used to make statements about the performance of the heart as well as changes, such as enlargements of chambers and thickenings of the heart muscle. These measurements are performed two-dimensionally and three-dimensionally.

In this examination, the region of the carotid bifurcation is examined: the vessel wall thickness (intima-media thickness) is determined, which allows statements about incipient vessel calcification (arteriosclerosis) and high blood pressure. Furthermore, the region is examined with regard to calcium deposits (plaques) and vascular stenosis.

Various methods are used to determine vascular stiffness and vascular elasticity of the arteries. Vascular stiffness is a sensitive early measurement parameter for the development of cardiovascular disease.

In this examination, your leg arteries are examined for circulatory disorders.

The condition of the superficial leg veins is documented and evaluated by photography. In addition, an examination for the presence of edema (fluid retention) is performed on both legs.

In this test, the efficiency of your lungs is checked by taking several deep breaths into and out of the tube of a measuring device.

Your blood pressure is measured several times under standardized conditions to determine whether there is evidence of high blood pressure. Furthermore, your heart rate at rest is recorded.

By means of ECG, your heart's rhythm and electrical activity are recorded.

Body height, weight, leg, abdominal and waist circumferences are determined. In addition, the muscle mass is recorded and the skin fold thickness is measured.

Various body fluids (biomaterials/samples) will be collected as part of the study. This includes a venous blood collection of a maximum of 140 ml of blood (approx. 1/4 of a blood donation) and a collection of approx. 15 ml of urine. From a part of the samples, numerous routine laboratory values as well as the blood count are determined, which are included in the findings. The other part of the blood samples as well as the urine samples are stored frozen for later examinations after appropriate preparation in secure rooms of the Gutenberg Health Study or in the biomaterial bank of the University Medical Center Mainz (see chapter 2.2 "Biomaterial").

In order to evaluate your health status, but also your blood count, all medications that you take regularly or have taken as needed in the last 4 weeks will be recorded online before visiting the study center.

In a computer-assisted personal interview and by means of various digital questionnaires that you can fill out on your PC, tablet or smartphone, you will be asked about numerous known and suspected factors influencing your health. Among other things, we will ask questions about your lifestyle, possible health stress factors in your home and work environment, but also about the use of medical assistance.

In a special soundproof room, the function of your ears is examined & speech recognition tests are performed.

A hand force measurement is performed to determine the status of the muscles.

The entire surface of the skin is photographed and the moisture content of the skin on your arm is measured. The aim is to detect skin diseases, but also signs or risks of internal diseases by analyzing the skin. Person-identifying parts (e.g. photographs of the face) are stored separately and specially protected.

This includes testing visual acuity and measuring refractive power, corneal thickness, eye length and intraocular pressure. We also test the visual field and take pictures of the eye and the back of the eye. In order to take certain pictures, we put drops in one eye to prevent the pupil from narrowing. By the end of the examination program, the effect of the eye drops has usually worn off. However, you should not participate in road traffic again until you no longer feel that your vision is impaired.

By examining the abdominal region using ultrasound and elastography (a novel ultrasound technique for measuring tissue stiffness or elasticity), information is obtained on various health-related aspects (e.g. fatty degeneration), which affect the kidneys, liver and spleen, among others. Furthermore, an ultrasound of the abdominal aorta is performed to detect indications of pathological changes such as aneurysms (dilations) or plaques (deposits) in this area.

As part of the neurocognitive examination, a series of short tests are performed on the computer to assess mental performance (including processing speed, memory, and attention).

With the help of the tuning fork test we examine your vibration sensation. 

We examine your smelling ability with a short smell test.

We will collect approx. 0.1 ml of tear fluid. This is done with an absorbent paper strip. After appropriate preparation, the tear fluid is also stored frozen in secure rooms of the Gutenberg Health Study or in the biomaterial bank of the University Medical Center Mainz for later investigations.

Even before your visit to the study center, we will send you information and material for collecting a stool sample. With the stool sample, investigations of the microbiome, i.e. the totality of the bacteria contained in the intestine, are possible. Since too little is currently known about the microbiome to be able to communicate medically relevant results yet, this examination is initially carried out purely for research purposes.

After appropriate processing, the stool samples will be stored in the biomaterial bank of the University Medical Center Mainz for later investigations.

To test your physical abilities, we perform a walking test and a standing up test, among other tests. 

This examination is only performed for people over 44 years of age.

Please Note:

The Gutenberg Health Study is an observational study. The comprehensive individual examinations are performed in a comparable (standardized) manner for all participants and are conducted without individual consultation or treatment. The results of the examination will be available for discussion with the attending (family) practitioner. They can integrate the results in the existing health history and, if necessary, initiate further examinations.