Examination Procedure

Focus on health

The Rhineland Study team involves experts from a wide range of disciplines. Together they investigate the complexity of human health in order to gain important insights into promoting health. Trained study assistants conduct a whole range of examinations in the study centres: e.g. neurological examinations, examinations of the sensory organs (eyes, hearing) and brain structure and function using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


What exactly is the examination of microcirculation? How is a gait analysis done and how is the grip strength of the hand measured? These examinations provide valuable information to help answer our research questions. Click on the icons to learn more about the individual examinations:

Examinations of the Rhineland Study
We want to better our understanding of factors which are protective or are associated with higher risk, and which individual behaviours or external influences affect health and disease. During your visit to our study centre, we collect a range of health information from a variety of areas. Click on the icons to learn more about each station of your visit.
The cardiovascular system
We record how your vascular system is functioning by measuring the electrical activity of your heart and the blood flow through your body. During each of these examinations, we ask you to lie still for about half an hour.
Diet and physical activity
We record your usual diet by means of a questionnaire. You can fill this out online from home or at our examination centre. To record your physical activity, we ask you to wear an accelerometer applied to your thigh for one week.
Body composition
We measure your height, weight, waist circumference and determine your skeletal and muscle mass. In addition, as part of the MRI examination, we record how the fat is distributed in your body, in particular how much of it is directly under your skin and how much is around your abdominal organs.
We investigate how cognitive processes and abilities such as attention, reaction speed, mental flexibility, vocabulary, etc. change throughout life. This is done with a series of interactive and independent tasks, as well as by measuring your eye movements.
Brain imaging
We examine the structure of your brain using multiple, novel MRI scans. The examination takes about 60 minutes. It is a safe and painless method that has no known harmful effects on the human body. However, there are some reasons why we do not perform MRI examinations for special safety reasons. These are, for example, pregnancy or a pacemaker.
Examination of the sensory organs
We use non-invasive methods to examine your vision and create high-resolution images of your retina using the latest technical equipment. In addition to vision, your hearing and sense of smell are also tested as part of the examination program.
Examination of the sensory organs
We use various hearing tests to measure your hearing ability and speech comprehension. In addition to hearing ability and vision, your sense of smell is also tested as part of the examination program.
We will ask you for a number of biological samples with the help of which we will examine a large number of the processes in your body. At the examination centre, we will take your blood, a strand of hair, and ask you for a urine sample. We will also give you small special containers to take home, for giving a stool sample.
Examination of motor skills and muscle strength
We analyse your motor skills by testing your gait pattern and fine motor skills. For these examinations, we ask you to complete some easy walking exercises on a gait mat and trace a spiral on the tablet. We measure your muscle strength with a hand dynamometer.
We record the medications you take regularly and the medications you take when necessary. For this purpose, we ask you to bring all your medication packets and / or package inserts.

You can also read details about the examinations in our participant document (in German).

To get a better idea of what to expect, you can also take the virtual tour of our examination centre to learn more about the centre and the individual examinations:

The Duisdorf examination center from the outside
Learn more about the examination process in our virtual tour of the examination centre.
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BODY MASS, BODY COMPOSITION Height, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio, body fat, body mass, skeletal muscle mass
BIOMATERIALS COLLECTION Blood analysis: red/white blood cells, platelets, platelet dye, haematocrit, insulin, glycohemoglobin, triglycerides, total, HDL, LDL cholesterol, C-reactive protein, cystatin C, total/bilirubin, direct bilirubin, alanine, aspartate-amino transferase, glytamyl transferase
Urinalysis: red/white blood cells, protein
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND FITNESS Results of the actimeter: overview graph of distribution of activities over the course of the day (percentage distribution sitting or lying down, walking, standing), relative activity index (time course of activity over the days of measurement), recommendations
Average grip strength
EYE EXAMINATION measured glasses, measured refraction, measured visual acuity, Measured value of intraocular pressure
RISK SCORE FOR METABOLIC SYNDROME Combined measurement of different variables (e. g. age, cholesterol HDL, glucose level, blood pressure)
Sense of smell: number of correctly recognized odour samples

If it is recommended to consult a doctor due to a test result or an accidentally discovered finding, we will explicitly point this out to participants.

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