Course syllabus for

Aging and Age-Related Disorders from a Biological, Epidemiological and Clinical Perspective, 15 credits

Åldrande och åldersrelaterad sjuklighet ur ett biologiskt, epidemiologiskt och kliniskt perspektiv, 15 hp
This course syllabus is valid from spring 2024.
Please note that the course syllabus is available in the following versions:
Autumn2023 , Spring2024
Course code
Course name
Aging and Age-Related Disorders from a Biological, Epidemiological and Clinical Perspective
15 credits
Form of Education
Higher Education, study regulation 2007
Main field of study 
Not applicable 
Second cycle, in-depth level of the course cannot be classified 
Grading scale
Fail (U) or pass (G)
Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society
Decided by
Education committee NVS
Decision date
Revised by
Education committee NVS
Last revision
Course syllabus valid from
Spring 2024

Specific entry requirements

A Bachelor's degree or a professional degree equivalent to a Swedish Bachelor's degree of at least 180 credits in health care or medicine. Alternatively, a degree in social work. And proficiency in English equivalent to English B/English 6.


The overall objective of this course is to equip students with a comprehensive understanding of the particularities of health and care needs in old age, encompassing diverse topics related to geriatric syndromes, life-course determinants of healthy aging, and geriatric health and social care. By exploring these areas, students will develop critical thinking skills, apply research methodologies, and gain a deep appreciation of the complexities of health in older age, enabling the advancement of knowledge and effective care practices for the aging population.

Specifically, upon completion of the course, the student should independently be able to: 

  • assess the consequences of multimorbidity and polypharmacy for patients, care providers and healthcare systems, and the opportunities for the primary-to-quaternary prevention of multimorbidity
  • discuss the challenges and opportunities within the field of dementia research, e.g. clinical definition of cognitive disorders, use of biomarkers
  • appraise the implications of different methodologies employed in epidemiological studies to define and operationalize frailty, sarcopenia and measures of physical functioning in older adults
  • evaluate the evidence from life course studies on aging, with particular emphasis on interacting effects of biological, psychological, and social factors, and their inequalities across time, space, and historical contexts
  • discuss the challenges linked to the current organization of health and social care, and the extent to which it is able to respond to older people's health needs


The course consists of three parts.

Health challenges and geriatric syndromes in the elderly, 4.0 hp

Grading scale: GU

Covers various topics, including chronic diseases, multimorbidity and polypharmacy (Topic 1); Cognitive function and Dementia (Topic 2); Frailty, sarcopenia and physical function (Topic 3).

Life-course determinants of healthy aging, and social geriatric care, 3.5 hp

Grading scale: GU

Covers the topic of Life-course determinants of health, aging, and resilience (Topic 4) and Medical and social geriatric care (Topic 5). 

Advanced project, 7.5 hp

Grading scale: GU

Consists of writing and presenting an advaced project.

Teaching methods

The content of the course is based on recent research findings in the field, followed by different activities where students are asked to critically reflect in relation to their work/professional role. The learning activities consist of a blended learning approach with campus meetings mixed with online teaching in the form of lectures, interactive group discussions, and interactive seminars.



The course is examined through group assignments (formative assessment) and individual written examination (summative assessment). 

  • Part Health challenges and geriatric syndrome in elderly (4 hp) and Life-course determinants of healthy aging and social geriatric care (3,5 hp) are examined by individual written test related to the subject areas.
  • Part Advanced project (7,5 hp) is examined by writing and presenting an advanced project.

In addition, active participation in the group discussions and peer review of other students' assignments are mandatory.

The examiner decides whether, and if so how, absence from or failure to complete compulsory course elements can be made up. Study results cannot be reported until the student has participated in or completed compulsory course elements or compensated for any absence in accordance with instructions from the examiner. Absence from, or failure to complete a compulsory course element could mean that the student cannot retake the element until the next time the course is offered.

Late examinations will not be considered. Students who do not submit their assignment on time are referred to the re- examination. The examiner will decide whether a student has special reasons for the delay.

Students who have not passed the regular examination are entitled to participate in five more examinations. This does not apply when the course has been discontinued or undergone major changes. Students who do not pass the examination after three completed examinations can be offered to retake parts or the entire course one more time. This option will be subject to course availability.

If there are special reasons, or a need for adaptation for students with disabilities, the examiner may decide to deviate from the syllabus' regulations in terms of examination form, number of examinations, possibility of supplementation or exemption from compulsory educational elements, etc. Content and learning outcomes as well as the level of expected skills, knowledge and abilities must not be changed, removed or lowered.

Other directives

Language: English

Course evaluation is carried out according to the guidelines that are established by the Committee for Higher Education, at Karolinska Institutet.

The course may not be credited in a degree together with another course the student has completed and passed the contents of which completely or partly correspond to the contents of this course.

Literature and other teaching aids

Scientific publications and reports.

Barnett K, Mercer SSW, Norbury M, Watt G, Wyke Epidemiology of multimorbidity and implications for health care, research, and medical education: a cross-sectional study
Clegg A, et al. Frailty in elderly people
Solomon A, et al. Advances in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease and dementia
Chatterji S, Byles J, Cutler D, et al. Health, functioning, and disability in older adults - Present status and future implications
Olde Rikkert MGM, Melis RJF, Cohen AA, Geeske P Why illness is more important than disease in old age
Kingston A, Wohland P, Wittenberg R, et al Is late-life dependency increasing or not? A comparison of the Cognitive Function and Ageing Studies
Ferraro KF, Shippee TP Aging and Cumulative Inequality: How Does Inequality Get Under the Skin?
Hendry, Anne; et al. ADVANTAGE Joint Action (JA) key components of an integrated approach to prevent and manage frailty
Araujo de Carvallo, Islene; et al. Organizing integrated health-care services to meet older people’s needs
Barboza Solís, Cristina; et al. Adverse childhood experiences and physiological wear-and-tear in midlife: Findings from the 1958 British birth cohort
Bennett, Kate M. Emotional and personal resilience through life. Future of an ageing population: evidence review
Ben-Shlomo, Yoav; et al. Life Course Epidemiology
Ben-Shlomo, Yoav; et al. The last two decades of life course epidemiology, and its relevance for research on ageing
Colón-Emeric, Cathleen; et al. Two Approaches to Classifying and Quantifying Physical Resilience in Longitudinal Data
Cosco, TD; et al. Healthy ageing, resilience and wellbeing
Cruz-Jentoft, AJ; et al. Sarcopenia
Cruz-Jentoft, AJ; et al. Sarcopenia: revised European consensus on definition and diagnosis
2021 Long-Term Care in the EU. Trends, challenges and opportunities in an ageing society
Fabbri, Elisa; et al. Aging and Multimorbidity: New Tasks, Priorities, and Frontiers for Integrated Gerontological and Clinical Research
Fratiglioni, Laura; et al. Ageing without dementia: can stimulating psychosocial and lifestyle experiences make a difference?
Fried, LP; et al. Frailty in older adults: evidence for a phenotype
Garattini, Livio; et al. Integrated care: easy in theory, harder in practice?
Goddard, Maria; et al. Integrated Care: A Pill for All Ills?
Guralnik, JM; et al. A short physical performance battery assessing lower extremity function: association with self-reported disability and prediction of mortality and nursing home admission
Calderón-Larrañaga, Amaia; et al. International Symposium: Multimorbidity research at the crossroads: developing the scientific evidence for clinical practice and health policy
Kodner, DL; et al. Integrated care: meaning, logic, applications, and implications – a discussion paper
Marengoni A, et al. Aging with multimorbidity: a systematic review of the literature
McCormack, B; et al. Person-Centred Healthcare Research
Multimorbidity: clinical assessment and management. NICE guideline (NG56). Baseline assessment tool
Multimorbidity: clinical assessment and management. NICE guideline (NG56). Database of tratment effects.
Patient-Centred Innovations for Persons with Multimorbidity (PACE in MM)
Rydberg Sterner, T; et al. Depression and neuroticism decrease among women but not among men between 1976 and 2016 in Swedish septuagenarians
Shaw, Sara; et al. What is integrated care ? An overview of integrated care in the NHS
Studenski, Stephanie; et al. Gait speed and survival in older adults
Thompson, CM Why Is It Difficult for Social Network Members to Support People Living with Mental Illnesses?: Linking Mental Illness Uncertainty to Support Provision
WHO ICOPE guidance for person-centered assessment and pathways
WHO ICOPE integrated care implementation guidance for systems and services
Wilson, Daisy; et al. Frailty and sarcopenia: The potential role of an aged immune system
WHO ICOPE integrated People-Centred Care