Long Live the Family: The Rise of Familial Health Advantages in Sweden
Crafoordska Stiftelse decided in summer 2022 to fund this research project into the rise of health differences between families, using historical and contemporary population records from Sweden in the period 1813-2022. A PhD candidate (Isa Barraclough) will start in this project in October 2022.
The project is motivated by the wide gap in the length of life by socioeconomic status: the social gradient in mortality, which emerged in Sweden in the 1950ies for women and 1970ies for men. Even in the absence of a population-level social gradient in mortality, patterns of health and survival are and were shared in families. Historically, large disparities existed in lifestyle between lower and higher classes, and higher classes in particular had increased risk of lifestyle-related disease related to smoking, drinking and a sedentary lifestyle. In turn, among lower socioeconomic status groups infectious disease mortality may have been relatively higher and persisted longer. Causes of death analyses from historical Sweden confirm this broad picture, but leave open the question when family-shared factors started to contribute to inequalities in mortality. In this project, we identify families with beneficial survival in comparison to the population, and investigate the timing and mechanisms of the emergence of a social gradient in mortality in Sweden.
An Age-Old Advantage? Healthy aging in two centuries of Swedish and Dutch long-lived families (1813-2021)
In this project, we study healthy ageing families and factors contributing to long lives and healthy ageing within them. The three-year project was funded in autumn 2021 by the National Bank of Sweden foundation (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond). Co-applicant and postdoctoral researcher on the project is Niels van den Berg, expert on healthy ageing families. Niels works at the Leiden University Medial Centre in the Netherlands. The project funds two researcher positions for three years.
Maternal and Infant Health and Their Change over Time
This digitization grant was awarded in summer 2021 by the Ebbe Kock Foundation, for the digitization of hospital birth records from Landskrona. The digitized birth records will be used for research on the relation between mother’s infectious disease exposure in early life and her reproductive career in mid-life, including her children’s weight at birth.
This project was initiated and executed together with Therese Nilsson and Luciana Quaranta. Previously, we already received funding from Gyllenstiernska Krapperup Stiftelse (PI Therese Nilsson) and Ebbe Kock Stiftelse (PI, co-applicants Therese Nilsson and Luciana Quaranta) in 2020 and 2021 for two digitization projects of obstetric records, both funding research assistants entering historical records. These digitization projects are now finished and a link to our first research paper using the wonderful records can be found here.