Prof. Anders Ahlbom

Anders Ahlbom

Professor Emeritus/Emerita

About me

I am Senior Professor of Epidemiology and former Chair and Director, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet and former Visiting Scientist, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard University. The general objective of my research has been to improve the understanding of the impact that environmental and lifestyle factors have on risks of disease, in particular cancer and cardiovascular disease. Methodological issues with bearing on causal inference and disease etiology have been of continued interest. I have been deeply involved in assessments of environmental health risks primarily in connection with the WHO and the European Commission. Teaching epidemiologic methods at Karolinska Institutet and internationally has been an important part throughout my career and I am co-author of a textbook that was published in a dozen languages.





Research description

My current research is focused on a research program related to the aging population  started a few years ago. The overarching question is the health of the increasing number of old people in the society. It has been hypothesized that the continuing increase in life expectance will be accompanied by a shift in morbidity towards higher ages but this is often challenged by the view that the longer life will result in a longer period of morbidity and dependency for daily life activities. A better understanding of this is essential to respond to the question of whether the ageing population will be one in good or bad health. Related to this are fundamental questions such as is there a limit to how long life expectancy will continue to increase, does also maximum life span increase when life expectancy increases, and what do mortality rates and mortality trends look like in centenarians. These are questions of profound scientific interest that also are of major importance for the impact that the ageing population will have on society in terms of retirement age, required resources for health care, supply of work force, and more.


The research is funded by Forte.


We collaborate with researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Ageing Research, Rostock, Germany.


BA, Stockholm University, 1974

PhD, Karolinska Institutet, 1978

Docent (associate professor), Karolinska Institutet, 1980