Scientific Programme • Keynote speakers

Pálmi V. Jónsson

Chief of Geriatrics, Landspitali University Hospital,
Professor of Geriatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland

Preliminary title of the keynote talk:
“Insights from the AGES Reykjavik Study on Aging of the Brain”

Pálmi is Chief of Geriatrics at Landspítali National University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland, the Honorary Scientist of the year 2015, and Professor of Geriatrics at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland. A graduate from the Harvard Fellowship in Geriatric Medicine he has lived and worked in his native country, Iceland, from 1989. During early years he studied cardiovascular function and falls and introduced a framework for decision making at end of life to Iceland and worked on nursing home pre-admission assessment.

Pálmi is on the executive committee of the AGES study1, a large epidemiological study on aging, a collaborative project between the Icelandic Heart Association and National Institute of Aging. Pálmi is on the clinical team working with DeCode Genetics on the genetics of Alzheimer´s disease and longevity. Pálmi sits on the Board of InterRAI ( and has introduced the InterRAI Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment tool set to Iceland. Pálmi has published various research papers and book chapters on geriatrics and gerontology.

1 Harris TB, Launer LJ, Eiriksdottir G, Kjartansson O, Jonsson PV, Sigurdsson G, Thorgeirsson G, Aspelund T, Garcia ME, Cotch MF, Hoffman HJ, Gudnason V. Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study: multidisciplinary applied phenomics. Am J Epidemiol 2007;165(9):1076-87.

What do you think are the most exciting present and future developments in your field of aging research?

I believe it is paramount to operationalize the comprehensive geriatric assessment, so that it may be applied in every health and social setting, much the way InterRAI has suggested. I also see on the horizon a new approach to Alzheimer´s disease, where we would identify people at risk for the disease in middle age with then the application of a new line of treatment for that disease, which I am optimistic will be developed over next 5 to 15 years.

23NKG is a multidisciplinary conference where the participants have the opportunity to broaden their perspective beyond the themes of their own immediate research areas. How would you like to motivate social scientists and humanists to attend your lecture?

I will base my talk on research on the brain from the Aging, Gene and Environmental Susceptibility study, the Reykjavik Study. The study is one of the largest aging studies in the world and on the cutting edge as such. It is based on the Reykjavik Heart Study which was established in 1967. Hence, the study can provide insights from middle age, and even birth, to old age and clarify relationships between risk factors and living and life style in earlier years to conditions in old age.

In your mind, how can the Nordic Congress contribute to aging research in general? What do you expect from 23NKG?

Congress like the NKG gives an opportunity to meet colleagues interested in gerontology from all the Nordic countries, not only physicians, who are interested in a broad view on social sciences and services. This is educational but also gives an opportunity for networking which may end up leading to research co-operation among the Nordic research sites but can also in the end become European research with funds sought from the EU.



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