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Evidenced-based Medicine for the Elderly

The elderly and aged often suffer from the co-occurrence of several medical conditions at once, a phenomenon known as “multimorbidity” that requires suitable diagnostic and treatment methods. The number of multimorbid patients will continue to rise over the coming years, and yet the current methods, structures and guidelines in place to address these patients’ needs are insufficient.

At present, evidence-based medicine (EBM) is the gold standard of therapies in the field of medicine. Instead of relying on scientifically unproven subjective experience, doctors or therapists should be basing their treatments on external evidence found in clinical studies. These studies, however, often do not include elderly or very old people and also fail to take into account the specific features of their medical conditions and daily coping mechanisms. The norm is several illnesses at once – on average eight pathologies – while medicines are only tested against a single pathology. It is against this background that the working group focuses on the current state of affairs regarding the medical care of old people in Germany, analyses problem areas and assesses further research needs.


  • National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities
  • German Academy of Science and Engineering acatech

Spokespersons of the Working Group

  • Prof. Dr. Cornel Sieber
    Institut für Biomedizin des Alterns, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Zenner ML (Secretary of Class III and member of the Leopoldina Presidium)
    Universitätsklinik für Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde, Tübingen

Members of the Working Group

  • Prof. Dr. Annette Becker
    Allgemeinmedizin, präventive und rehabilitative Medizin, Universität Marburg
  • Prof. Dr. Roland Eils
    Theoretische Bioinformatik, Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum Heidelberg
  • Prof. Dr. Georg Ertl ML
    Direktor der Medizinischen Klinik und Poliklinik I, Universität Würzburg
  • Prof. Dr. Jörg Hasford
    Institut für medizinische Informationsverarbeitung, Biometrie und Epidemiologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Jürgen Heesemann ML
    Max-von-Pettenkofer-Institut, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
  • Prof. Dr. Frank Jessen
    Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Universitätsklinikum Köln
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Uwe Koch-Gromus
    Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
  • Prof. Dr. Gabriele Meyer
    Institut für Gesundheits- und Pflegewissenschaft, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Prof. Dr. Henning Rosenau
    Deutsches, Europäisches und Internationales Straf- und Strafprozessrecht, Medizin- und Biorecht, Universität Augsburg
  • Prof. Dr. Ursula M. Staudinger ML
    Direktorin Columbia Aging Center, Mailman School of Public Health, New York (USA)
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Daniel Strech
    Institut für Geschichte, Ethik und Philosophie der Medizin, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover
  • Prof. Dr. Petra Thürmann
    Philipp Klee-Institut für Klinische Pharmakologie, Wuppertal und Lehrstuhl für Klinische Pharmakologie, Universität Witten/Herdecke
  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Wahl
    Psychologisches Institut der Universität Heidelberg

ML = Member of the Leopoldina



Dr. Stefanie Westermann

Scientific Officer, Department Science - Policy - Society

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 871
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 839
E-Mail stefanie.westermann @leopoldina.org