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About me

I finished my PhD at the Department of Public Health, Karolinska Institutet in Sep 2010. I did my postdoc at IMM and since Nov 2014 I am a research associate and an Associate Professor at the division of Epidemiology at IMM. My research concerns the ageing population, the driving force of longevity and the consequences of it. I am also interested in cognitive epidemiology, how cognition is associated with health and the underlying mechanisms of such associations. I have worked for many years with the national population registers in Sweden and have an interest in the validity of these. I am a member of the steering group for SINGS (The Swedish INterdisciplinary Graduate School in Register-Based Research) and lecture about epidemiological methods and register based research.


MSc, Stockholm University 2002 (Economics)

PhD, Karolinska Institutet Sep 2010 (Epidemiology)

Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Docent), Karolinska Institutet  Feb 2015

Research description

The ageing population - An epidemiologic approach to a fundamental public health issue.

This research project has three main themes. These are

Longevity - what is driving the increase in life expectancy and how old can we become?

Has the extended lifespan been comprised with healthy or unhealthy years?

Societal implications of an ageing population - what can be expected for the future­?


The first theme investigates to what extent the reduction in old age mortality is due to a delayed onset of diseases, to a higher survival rate or a longer survival time among those with disease? It also deals with the question about for how long we can expect to live in the future. The second theme investigates how healthy and unhealthy life expectancy has developed over time for the old age population in Sweden and deals with intriguing questions such as how to define healthy and unhealthy years and when in life one should measure this. As for the third theme, the core of this question is whether it is reasonable to assume that age specific health will remain unchanged over time, despite the decrease in age specific mortality rates, or whether it is more likely to assume that age-specific disease rates will decrease in parallel with decreasing mortality rates? This question is of utmost importance for society because it affects health care demands and retirement age. Another approach to this is to look at whether disease risks can decline enough in order to counterbalance the burden on the health care sector in the future. To be able to answer this, not only the shift in onset of diseases can be looked at but also rate of recurrence and changes in survival.  



The Swedish Society of Medicine



Max Planck Institute of Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany

Aging Research Center (ARC)
Stockholm University

Umeå University
University of Southern Denmark

Academic honours, awards and prizes

Invited as a guest researcher at Max Planck Institute for Demographic Reaserch, Research Group on Mathematical and Actuarial Demography headed by Professor Roland Rau. Nov and Dec 2016 and Okt and Nov 2017. 



Payback time? Influence of having children on mortality in old age
Modig K, Talbäck M, Torssander J, Ahlbom A
Journal of epidemiology and community health 2017;71(5):424-430

Does a hospital admission in old age denote the beginning of life with a compromised health-related quality of life? A longitudinal study of men and women aged 65 years and above participating in the Stockholm Public Health Cohort
Karampampa K, Frumento P, Ahlbom A, Modig K
BMJ open 2016;6(7):e010901-

Four Decades of Educational Inequalities in Hospitalization and Mortality among Older Swedes
Torssander J, Ahlbom A, Modig K
PloS one 2016;11(3):e0152369-

Mental disorder and long-term risk of mortality: 41 years of follow-up of a population sample in Stockholm, Sweden
Lundin A, Modig K, Halldin J, Carlsson Ac, Wändell P, Theobald H
Epidemiology and psychiatric sciences 2016;25(4):384-92

Socioeconomic differences in cancer survival among Swedish children
Mogensen H, Modig K, Tettamanti G, Talbäck M, Feychting M
British journal of cancer 2016;114(1):118-24

Stable or improved health status in the population 65 years and older in Stockholm, Sweden - an 8-year follow-up of self-reported health items
Modig K, Virtanen S, Ahlbom A, Agahi N
Scandinavian journal of public health 2016;44(5):480-9

Declining incidence trends for hip fractures have not been accompanied by improvements in lifetime risk or post-fracture survival--A nationwide study of the Swedish population 60 years and older
Karampampa K, Ahlbom A, Michaëlsson K, Andersson T, Drefahl S, Modig K
Bone 2015;78():55-61

Do postal health surveys capture morbidity and mortality in respondents aged 65 years and older? A register-based validation study
Kelfve S, Lennartsson C, Agahi N, Modig K
Scandinavian journal of public health 2015;43(4):348-55

Low IQ has become less important as a risk factor for early disability pension. A longitudinal population-based study across two decades among Swedish men
Karnehed N, Rasmussen F, Modig K
Journal of epidemiology and community health 2015;69(6):563-7

Does improved survival lead to a more fragile population: time trends in second and third hospital admissions among men and women above the age of 60 in Sweden
Karampampa K, Andersson T, Drefahl S, Ahlbom A, Modig K
PloS one 2014;9(6):e99034-

High IQ in Early Adolescence and Career Success in Adulthood: Findings from a Swedish Longitudinal Study
Bergman Lr, Corovic J, Ferrer-wreder L, Modig K

Losing ground--Swedish life expectancy in a comparative perspective
Drefahl S, Ahlbom A, Modig K
PloS one 2014;9(2):e88357-

Personality measured as Murray's psychological needs and all-cause mortality: 41 years of follow-up of a population-based sample
Lundin A, Stoetzer U, Modig K, Carlsson Ac, Wandell P, Theobald H

Age-specific trends in morbidity, mortality and case-fatality from cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction and stroke in advanced age: evaluation in the Swedish population
Modig K, Andersson T, Drefahl S, Ahlbom A
PloS one 2013;8(5):e64928-

Limitless longevity: comment on the Contribution of rectangularization to the secular increase of life expectancy
Modig K, Drefahl S, Ahlbom A
International journal of epidemiology 2013;42(3):914-6

Trends in age at first hospital admission in relation to trends in life expectancy in Swedish men and women above the age of 60
Karampampa K, Drefahl S, Andersson T, Ahlbom A, Modig K
BMJ open 2013;3(9):e003447-

Associations between intelligence in adolescence and indicators of health and health behaviors in midlife in a cohort of Swedish women
Modig K, Bergman Lr
INTELLIGENCE 2012;40(2):82-90

The aging population in Sweden: can declining incidence rates in MI, stroke and cancer counterbalance the future demographic challenges?
Modig K, Drefahl S, Andersson T, Ahlbom A
European journal of epidemiology 2012;27(2):139-45

The era of centenarians: mortality of the oldest old in Sweden
Drefahl S, Lundström H, Modig K, Ahlbom A
Journal of internal medicine 2012;272(1):100-2

Genetics of the association between intelligence and nicotine dependence: a study of male Swedish twins
Modig K, Silventoinen K, Tynelius P, Kaprio J, Rasmussen F
ADDICTION 2011;106(5):995-1002

Association between intelligence and type-specific stroke: a population-based cohort study of early fatal and non-fatal stroke in one million Swedish men
Modig Wennerstad K, Silventoinen K, Tynelius P, Bergman L, Rasmussen F
Journal of epidemiology and community health 2010;64(10):908-12

Associations between IQ and cigarette smoking among Swedish male twins
Wennerstad Km, Silventoinen K, Tynelius P, Bergman L, Kaprio J, Rasmussen F
SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE 2010;70(4):575-81

IQ in Early Adulthood and Mortality By Middle Age Cohort Study of 1 Million Swedish Men
Batty Gd, Wennerstad Km, Smith Gd, Gunnell D, Deary Ij, Tynelius P, et al
EPIDEMIOLOGY 2009;20(1):100-9

Municipal policies and plans of action aiming to promote physical activity and healthy eating habits among schoolchildren in Stockholm, Sweden: a cross-sectional study
Guldbrandsson K, Wennerstad Km, Rasmussen F

Association between offspring intelligence and parental mortality: a population-based cohort study of one million Swedish men and their parents
Modig-wennerstad K, Silventoinen K, Batty D, Tynelius P, Bergman L, Rasmussen F

Association between intelligence and coronary heart disease mortality: a population-based cohort study of 682361 Swedish men
Silventoinen K, Modig-wennerstad K, Tynelius P, Rasmussen F

IQ in early adulthood and later cancer risk: cohort study of one million Swedish men
Batty Gd, Wennerstad Km, Smith Gd, Gunnell D, Deary Ij, Tynelius P, et al
ANNALS OF ONCOLOGY 2007;18(1):21-8

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