Brief biography and research interests

Hannu Koponen, MD, PhD, has been a Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Helsinki and at Helsinki University Hospital since 2013. From 2014 onwards, he has also been the Head of the Specific Training Programme for Geriatric Psychiatry. His previous appointments have been at the Departments of Psychiatry at the University of Oulu (2001-2005) and the University of Eastern Finland (2005-2013), serving as Professor of Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine. Before his teaching career, Professor Koponen served as a senior psychiatrist in the South-Savo Hospital District in 1983-2001 and also as the Head of the Department of Psychiatry in the South-Savo Hospital District in 1994-2001.

Professor Koponen received his certification as a psychiatrist in 1989 and was appointed a Docent in Psychogeriatrics at the University of Tampere in 1991 and a Docent in Psychiatry at the University of Helsinki in 1993. He has worked as a consultant in the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health in 1996-2016 and in the Finnish Medicine Agency Fimea since 2001. He has also been a member of the Educational Committee of the Finnish Psychiatric Association since 2016. He has served on several committees of the Finnish Medical Association Duodecim Current Care Guidelines project (depression, schizophrenia, cognitive disorders) and is currently chairing the committee for anxiety disorders. Professor Koponen is a member of the International Psychiatric Association.

Professor Koponen’s scientific activity started in the 1980s, when he conducted a prospective neuropsychiatric study on geriatric delirium, which was also the topic of his thesis. His current research topics include psychiatric epidemiology, schizophrenia, and psychopharmacology, and he has authored 243 Web of Science listed papers in these fields (H-index 35, citations 3636). He has also supervised seven theses in the fields of geriatric psychiatry, schizophrenia, and metabolic syndrome, and is currently supervising five theses.

Current projects:

  1. The Finnish conscript cohort study: 5000 young men born in 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, or 1989 were randomly selected and their health status clarified during military service. Their health and well-being have since been followed by self-questionnaires and register data. Initial papers have been published and a follow-up visit for participants is under evaluation . The study is being carried out in collaboration with Ilkka Kiviranta, a Professor in Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Helsinki, and Helsinki University Hospital.
  2. The Finnish Depression and Metabolic Syndrome in Adults study, FDMSA: New patients over 35 years of age who went themselves or were referred by a general practitioner to a depression nurse case manager in 2008–2009 due to depressive symptoms and a score higher than 10 in the BDI were enrolled in this study. Altogether 706 patients chose to participate. In addition, random sampling was used to select a group of 426 middle-aged (> 35 years) persons as controls from among residents in the participating municipalities. The participants were evaluated at baseline and at one- and five-year follow-ups to determine the long-term course of depression and associations between physical activity, quality of life, and use of health services. The study is being carried out in collaboration with Professors Mauno Vanhala and Pekka Mäntyselkä, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, General Practice Unit, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
  3. Criminal acts in the elderly with cognitive disorders: The aim of this study is to evaluate the association between various types of criminal acts and cognitive disorders in the elderly. Data will be collected from various registers, and the study is currently awaiting approval. The study will be carried out with Professor Nina Lindberg, University of Helsinki, and Chief Physician Risto Vataja, Department of Psychiatry, Helsinki University Hospital.
  4. Lifespan development of schizophrenic psychoses within the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort: The NFBC 1966 is an unselected, general population birth cohort ascertained during mid-pregnancy. Data were collected during pregnancy from the 24th gestational week onwards and at the ages of 1, 14, 31, and 34 years (psychoses  and controls), and 43 years (psychoses , siblings, and controls). Professor Hannu Koponen is the principal investigator in the substudy of antipsychotic drugs.

Recent publications:

Kuronen M, Kautiainen H, Karppi P, Hartikainen S, Koponen H: Physical restraints and associations with neuropsychiatric symptoms and personal  characteristics in residential care: a cross-sectional study. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2016. DOI: 10.1002/gps.4629

Anja P. Husa, Jani Moilanen, Graham K. Murray, Riikka Marttila, Marianne Haapea, Irina Rannikko, Jennifer Barnett, Peter B. Jones, Matti Isohanni, Anne M. Remes, Hannu Koponen, Jouko Miettunen, Erika Jääskeläinen: Lifetime antipsychotic medication and cognitive performance in schizophrenia at age 43 years in a general population birth cohort. Psychiatry Res 2017; 247: 130-138.

Huhtaniska, S., Jääskeläinen, E., Heikka, T., Moilanen, J.S., Lehtiniemi, H., Tohka, J., Manjón, J.V., Coupé, P., Björnholm, L., Koponen, H., Veijola, J., Isohanni, M., Kiviniemi, V., Murray, G.K., Miettunen, J. (2017). Long-term antipsychotic and benzodiazepine use and brain volume changes in schizophrenia: The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 study. Psychiatry Res: Neuroimaging 2017; 266: 73-82.

Anja P. Hulkko, Graham K. Murray, Jani Moilanen, Marianne Haapea, Irina Rannikko, Peter B. Jones, Jennifer H. Barnett, Sanna Huhtaniska, Matti K. Isohanni, Hannu Koponen, Erika Jääskeläinen, Jouko Miettunen: Lifetime use of psychiatric medications and cognition at 43 years of age in schizophrenia in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966. European Psychiatry 2017; 45: 50-58.