Table 611

Iceland: Advantages for health-related research in the twenty-first century

• A small prototypic Western society with advanced infrastructure

• Official health registries

• Universal access to healthcare

• Advanced training abroad common

• Founder population and extensive genealogy databases

• Environmental similarity

• The general public supports and participates in research

• High-tech biomedical research companies

• The Reykjaviik-AGES study environmental conditions (climate, altitude, diet, pollutants, infectious agents) in comparison to larger nations. It is interesting to note that the total population of individuals older than 65 is only 33,500 (15,000 men and 18,500 women). This is a manageable size on its own, and harbors unique opportunities for research on health and disease pertinent in an entire population (Gudmundsson, 2004).

Research into the social aspects of aging has been limited until now, but with an established teaching and research position in social gerontology at the University of Iceland, that is about to change.

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