Your ADVANCE visit

Hear from ADVANCE participant James about why he chose to take part in the ADVANCE Study in the video below.

What happens during my ADVANCE visit?

Taking part in the ADVANCE Study means spending a day with us at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Stanford Hall, near Loughborough in the East Midlands.

We offer a choice of start times between 7.45am and 9.30am. Our admin team will give you all the information you require prior to your visit. When you arrive at Stanford Hall you will be directed to the ADVANCE Study unit and met by one of our team of nurses and clinicians. We will discuss the study with you and answer any questions you may have. We will then go through the consent form with you and confirm you are still happy to take part in our research.

You should arrive in a fasted state (nothing but water to drink from midnight the night before your visit), and there are some clinical tests we have to complete before we serve you breakfast. Firstly, we will take a blood sample from you and then we perform tests which assess your blood pressure, heart rate variability and an assessment of arterial stiffness using a Vicorder device.

After breakfast and during the rest of the day, the following assessments will be performed, with a break for lunch:

  • 6-minute walk test
  • Lung function test
  • DEXA scan looking at bone mineral density and lean muscle and fat distribution
  • X-ray of the pelvis and knees (if applicable)
  • Hearing test (discharged personnel only)

There are also online questionnaires for you to complete throughout the day.

If you have also signed up for the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) study, you will also have:

  • MRI scan of the brain
  • Cognitive function tests

We aim to make your visit to DMRC Stanford Hall an enjoyable and informative experience, and the team are on hand to answer any questions you may have and ensure you understand what is happening every step of the way. Depending on your start time and whether you are taking part in the TBI study, we try to get participants on their way home or back to base from around 2.30-4pm.

Does will taking part in ADVANCE benefit me?

ADVANCE is a longitudinal cohort study, and you will be asked to visit at least 6 times at regular intervals. Each time, accommodation and travel expenses will be provided, and you will have various assessments, e.g. assessments on your bones, heart and lung health. These include tests that are not routinely completed on the NHS. All of this you will get for free, and as a thank you for taking part, you will receive £200 for each visit, as well as a chance to enter a prize draw.

How will my participation benefit others?

Your participation in ADVANCE will help us understand how injuries from Afghanistan affect people across their lifespan. There is no other research being conducted anywhere in the world that is looking into this issue in as much depth. Our research will help shape future healthcare and policy on both physical and mental health of service personnel and veterans.