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Research projects

Ikaria Healthy Ageing

About this project

Project information

Project status

In progress


Nikolaos Venizelos

Research subject

Fyra personer i olika åldrar blickar ut över havet


The island of Ikaria in the Aegean Sea is characterized by the unusually high number of inhabitants reaches an age of 90 years, and furthermore, several serious diseases occur in low frequency. Within anthropology, Ikaria is one of the world's five "blue zones" where different lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors are assumed to contribute to disease-free, old age.

Lifestyle and environmental factors, however, are not identical in different "blue zones", hence clear consensus regarding the key causal links to healthy ageing has not been established scientifically.

Aim and strategies

The project intends to create a long-lasting collaborative research between Örebro University and Ikaria/Greece, and examine factors related to healthy ageing mechanisms in the population of Ikaria Island, which is one of the world’s most known zones with high number of inhabitants reaching the age of 90 and more. Environmental, genetic, and lifestyle factors are supposed to explain that example of healthy ageing. New knowledge based on modern molecular biological techniques would ultimately be extremely useful even for the ageing population in all parts of the world: both in terms of future changes in lifestyle and new medical interventions.

The project’s results are expected to provide useful knowledge for the ageing population worldwide, concerning medical and lifestyle planning.  


The project involves:

a) Collection of demographic and health data from deceased persons for the past 10 years, and

b) Collection of health, physical activity and lifestyle data from healthy volunteers of age 65-80 years and 81+ years old.

Biological samples:

Peripheral venous blood, saliva sample, urine and feces samples.

Research Projects

  1. Life expectancy in Ikaria- a demographic study based on data from deceased persons.
  2. Investigate and clarify molecular mechanisms and genetic factors related to healthy aging in the population of the Ikaria island.
  3. Objective measurement of Ikaria cohort’s habitual weekly physical activity.
  4. Study age-related eye diseases in the Ikaria project's participant population.


Research funding bodies

  • Region Örebro County
  • Örebro University