Olli Raitakari profile picture
Academy Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine (CAPC)
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+358 29 450 2304
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Areas of expertise

cardiovascular and metabolic diseases
risk factors
vascular epidemiology
genetic epidemiology
dietary intervention
cohort studies
follow-up studies


2001   Docent in Clinical Physiology
1997-1999  Postdoc training, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia
1997   Docent in Epidemiology
1996   Specialist in Clinical Physiology 
1995   Doctorate, PhD
1989   Licentiate in Medicine, MD


2017-                 Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of the Research Centre of Applied and 
                          Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Turku, Finland                         



2012-2016                          Academy Professor, University of Turku

2007-2016                          Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine (part time), University of Turku

2007-2008                          Senior Scientist Grant, Academy of Finland

2004-2016                          Chief Physician, Department of Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Turku
                                           University Hospital (leave of absence 2012-2016)

2002-2004                          Consultant in Clinical Physiology and Nuclear Medicine, Turku University Hospital

2002 (1 mo)                        Head of Nuclear Medicine Department, Turku University Hospital

2000-2003 (3 mo)               Head of Clinical Physiology Department, Turku University Hospital

2000-2005                          Senior Fellow Post, Academy of Finland

1998-2000                          Postdoctoral Research Post, Academy of Finland

1996-1997                          Consultant in Clinical Physiology, Turku University Hospital

1991-1996                          Positions as Resident in Clinical Chemistry, Nuclear Medicine, and Clinical 
                                           Physiology, Turku University Hospital

1988-1990                          Positions as General Practioner and Resident in Internal Medicine or Surgery


Evidence suggest that many non-communicable disease outcomes have roots in childhood and may even stem of adverse ancestral exposures. Improved knowledge how various ancestral and early-life exposures lead to adult disease outcomes is essential in developing better preventive practices and policies that lead to improved public health. My mission has been to contribute to this knowledge-base by working in epidemiologic cohort studies with follow-up from childhood to adulthood. I am the Principal Investigator of the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study (YFS), the largest study in Europe with a follow-up of cardiovascular risk factors from childhood to adulthood. I am also the Director of the STRIP Study, which is a leading long-term pediatric dietary intervention study testing the hypothesis that modifying the fat quality diet will have beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk early in life. During the past years, I have organized several field studies in these cohorts, and introduced novel technologies, such as imaging studies, genetic epidemiology methods and metabolomics approaches in these unique population resources. Our research has contributed to the understanding of pre-clinical development of atherosclerosis in children and young adults, including the effects of diet, life-style, metabolic risk factors, psychological traits and psychosocial factors, inflammation, hormones and genetic markers. For example, by applying non-invasive imaging methods in the Young Finns Study, we have demonstrated that exposure to adverse lipids, elevated blood pressure and obesity in childhood is related to atherosclerosis development in adulthood (JAMA 2003). Subsequent work stemmed from this initial observation has led to numerous original publications that have shown in detail how exposure to a large range of aetiogenic factors early in life contribute to the development of cardio-metabolic outcomes in adulthood. For example, by pooling international i3C Consortium data, we have demonstrated that overweight or obese children who became non-obese by adulthood had similar risks of many cardio-metabolic adult outcomes as individuals who were never obese (NEJM 2011). Thus, the results of our studies have clearly demonstrated that individual’s exposure to various stressors in early life is contributing to his/her adult phenotype and disease risk. The results have had significant impact on preventive practices. As a concrete demonstration of the international recognition and impact of my team’s work, many of our studies are widely cited in all updated paediatric guidelines on cardiovascular prevention both in Europe and in US.


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Circulating inflammatory cytokines and risk of five cancers: a Mendelian randomization analysis (2022)

BMC Medicine
Bouras E, Karhunen V, Gill D, Huang J, Haycock PC, Gunter MJ, Johansson M, Brennan P, Key T, Lewis SJ, Martin RM, Murphy N, Platz EA, Travis R, Yarmolinsky J, Zuber V, Martin P, Katsoulis M, Freisling H, Nost TH, Schulze MB, Dossus L, Hung RJ, Amos CI, Ahola-Olli A, Palaniswamy S, Mannikko M, Auvinen J, Herzig KH, Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi S, Lehtimaki T, Salomaa V, Raitakari O, Salmi M, Jalkanen S; PRACTICAL consortium, Jarvelin MR, Dehghan A, Tsilidis KK
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Genetic and observational evidence: No independent role for cholesterol efflux over static high-density lipoprotein concentration measures in coronary heart disease risk assessment (2022)

Journal of Internal Medicine
Kuusisto Sanna, Karjalainen Minna K., Tillin Therese, Kangas Antti J., Holmes Michael V., Kähönen Mika, Lehtimäki Terho, Viikari Jorma, Perola Markus, Chaturvedi Nishi, Salomaa Veikko, Raitakari Olli T., Järvelin Marjo-Riitta, Kettunen Johannes, Ala-Korpela Mika
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Afamin predicts the prevalence and incidence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (2022)

Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine
Pitkänen N, Finkenstedt A, Lamina C, Juonala M, Kähönen M, Makela KM, Dieplinger B, Viveiros A, Melmer A, Leitner I, Kedenko L, Seppälä I, Viikari JSA, Mueller T, Kronenberg F, Paulweber B, Lehtimäki T, Zoller H, Raitakari OT, Dieplinger H
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

Genome-wide analysis of 102,084 migraine cases identifies 123 risk loci and subtype-specific risk alleles (2022)

Nature Genetics
Hautakangas H, Winsvold BS, Ruotsalainen SE, Bjornsdottir G, Harder AVE, Kogelman LJA, Thomas LF, Noordam R, Benner C, Gormley P, Artto V, Banasik K, Bjornsdottir A, Boomsma DI, Brumpton B, Burgdorf KS, Buring JE, Chalmer MA, de Boer I, Dichgans M, Erikstrup C, Farkkila M, Garbrielsen ME, Ghanbari M, Hagen K, Happola P, Hottenga JJ, Hrafnsdottir MG, Hveem K, Johnsen MB, Kahonen M, Kristoffersen ES, Kurth T, Lehtimaki T, Lighart L, Magnusson SH, Malik R, Pedersen OB, Pelzer N, Penninx BWJH, Ran C, Ridker PM, Rosendaal FR, Sigurdardottir GR, Skogholt AH, Sveinsson OA, Thorgeirsson TE, Ullum H, Vijfhuizen LS, Widen E, van Dijk KW, Aromaa A, Belin AC, Freilinger T, Ikram MA, Jarvelin MR, Raitakari OT, Terwindt GM, Kallela M, Wessman M, Olesen J, Chasman DI, Nyholt DR, Stefansson H, Stefansson K, van den Maagdenberg AMJM, Hansen TF, Ripatti S, Zwart JA, Palotie A, Pirinen M
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))

The Role of Inflammatory Cytokines as Intermediates in the Pathway from Increased Adiposity to Disease (2021)

Kalaoja M, Corbin LJ, Tan VY, Ahola-Olli AV, Havulinna AS, Santalahti K, Pitkänen N, Lehtimäki T, Lyytikäinen LP, Raitoharju E, Seppälä I, Kähönen M, Ripatti S, Palotie A, Perola M, Viikari JS, Jalkanen S, Maksimow M, Salomaa V, Salmi M, Raitakari OT, Kettunen J, Timpson NJ, Timpson NJ
(Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli tai data-artikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä (A1))