Digital public defence: Erik Prestgaard Erik Prestgaard at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis Long-term risk factors for stroke in healthy men for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

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Due to copyright issues, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. For the faculty to have time to process the order, the order must be received by the faculty at the latest 2 days before the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. After the public defence, please address any inquiries regarding the thesis to the candidate.


Digital trial lecture - time and place

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Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Sarah Wild, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland 
  • Second opponent: Professor Friedrich Martin Wilhelm Kurz, University of Bergen
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Professor Dag Jacobsen, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Chair of defence

Professor emeritus David Russell, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Principal supervisors

Professor Eivind Berge†, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål

Chief physician Irene Grundvold, Akershus University Hospital


Stroke is a major cause of death and disability globally. In order to prevent stroke effectively, knowledge of risk factors, a biological entity that can be measured before the onset of a disease event and that heightens the risk of that event, is essential. This thesis aims to build on the expanding knowledge of stroke risk factors, by using data from the Oslo Ischemia Study, a cohort of 2014 healthy middle-aged Norwegian men, followed for more than three decades. Specifically, we aimed to study the impact of potential novel risk factors, including variables obtained from an exercise test, and  measured at a single point in time. Further we aimed to investigate the impact of change in fitness and body weight during adult life. 

We found that blood pressure and heart rate measured during maximal exercise added prognostic information, even when taking into account traditional risk factors including resting blood pressure. We also observed that becoming fit during middle-age halved the risk of stroke, compared to remaining unfit. The opposite was true for those becoming unfit, which saw their stroke risk double compared to those remaining fit. Lastly, we examined weight changes during two different time periods of adult life and found that weight gain during early adult life was associated with increased stroke risk. This was not found for those gaining weight during mid-life. 

We believe these findings can help physicians identify those at heightened risk of stroke, while also serving as a basis for public health management strategies.

Additional information

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Published Jan. 22, 2021 1:07 PM - Last modified Feb. 10, 2021 11:36 AM