In the last decades, a large number of epidemiological studies in gastroenterology and hepatology have originated from the Scandinavian countries. With the help of large health databases, with good validity and other registries related to patient outcomes, researchers from the Scandinavian countries have been able to make some very important contributions to the field. These countries, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, have all universal access to health care and have shown to be ideal for epidemiological research. Population-based studies have been frequent and follow-up studies have been able to describe the temporal trends and changes in phenotypes. Our ability in Scandinavia to follow up defined groups of patients over time has been crucial to learn the natural history of many gastrointestinal and liver diseases and often in a population-based setting. Patient-related outcomes measures will probably gain increasing importance in the future, but Scandinavian gastroenterologists and surgeons are likely to have a better infrastructure for such endeavors compared to most other populations. Thus, there is a bright future for international competitive research within the field of gastrointestinal and liver diseases in Scandinavia.
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