Conference: Biotechnology for a longer life

We want to live as long as possible, but at the same time many people fear growing old. Growing old means an increased risk of degenerative diseases, and of becoming fragile and dependent on others. Moreover, elderly people often find themselves isolated and without a well-defined role in society.
Current advances in health care has increased life expectancy in the Nordic countries well above 80 years, and several biotechnology companies claim to be developing ways to slow or arrest ageing, or even extend life indefinitely. During this conference, developments of new technology for extending human longevity will be presented and examined, and questions regarding the quality of life for an ageing population will be addressed.

How realistic is the dream of extending human longevity with several decades? What is the secret of long life? What are the societal implications of an ageing population? How will the perspective of living longer affect the human perception of life? Are treatments for Alzheimer, Parkinson’s diseases in sight?

The aim of this conference is to bring together policy makers, researchers and health care professionals to predict the near future and discuss how we as individuals and as a society should prepare for it.

Location: Aarhus University, AIAS, building 1630, Høgh Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C. Denmark

Time: 9 December 2016, 08.30-16.10


8.30-9.00 Registration and coffee

9.00-9.10 Welcome

9.10-10.15 Theme I – Chair Hallvard Kvale

Life expectancy and quality of life – Growing old in the Nordic countries and in Europe

Relevant diseases, demography and life expectancy in the Nordic countries, Statistics on life expectancy in the Nordic countries, and how treating diseases as well as new technology will increase this.

09:10 Tine Rostgaard, professor, ph.d., KORA: «Living longer, living better: a perspective on quality of life with increasing life expectancy»

10:00 Jon Snædal, professor, geriatric clinic, Landspitali University Hospital: «Life extension, an utopia for geriatricians?»

10.30-10.45 Coffee/tea

10.45-12:30 Theme II – Chair Salvör Nordal                  

Treatment and enhancement

10:45 Trine Lembrecht Jørgensen MD, PhD, postdoc in Age Care, University of Southern Denmark: Presentation of the Age Care Center

11:05 Matti Häyry, bioethicst, Finland: «Considerable life extension and the meaning of life»,

11:25 Sigrid Bratlie Thoresen, Senior advisor, The Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board: «Current treatments pursued for extending longevity»

11:45 Tinna Stevnsner, Associate professor, Danish Aging Research Center and Danish Center for Molecular Gerontology, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University. «Molecular Biology of Aging».

12:05 Questions

12.30-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14:00 Theme III – Chair Carsten Obel              

The future of being old.

Quality of life.

13:00 Morten Kyng, Professor, Center for Pervasive Healthcare, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University: «Empowering Citizens and Healthcare Professionals in design and use of telemedicine and telehealth»

13:20 Siri Bjørvig, Manager Personal Health Systems, Norwegian Centre for E-health Research: «Trends and policies regarding Welfare Technology and its potential for geriatric care»

13:40 Questions

14.00-14.20 Coffee

14.20-16.10 Theme IV – Chair Tine Sommer            

Individuals, society and social implications of longevity

Mental health and wellbeing

14:20 Carsten Obel, Head of Department, Centre For Collaborative Health, Aarhus University: «Is mental health in elderly anything special?»

14:40 Lars Larsen, Associate professor, Department Of Psychology And Behavioral Sciences, Aarhus university: «Improving well-being in the elderly by way of psychological intervention»

15:00 Svend Andersen, professor, School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University: ”Can One Love Old People as One-Self? A Theological Point of View”

15:20 Eva Naur Jensen, assistant professor, Department of Law, Aarhus University: «The legal and ethical questions of monitoring and retaining citizens with loss of cognitive abilities»

15:40 Questions

16.10 Closing the seminar