The Icelandic Society for the Nervous System

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gro harlem

In 1999, Audur Gudjónsdóttir, RNOR, sent a letter to Gro Harlem Brundtland, who was then the Director General of WHO, and asked her whether it would be possible that WHO would take the initiative to collect information on experimental spinal cord treatments into a database.

This letter became the root of the prime reason that Audur Gudjónsdóttir and the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs in Iceland held, together with WHO, a conference in Iceland in 2001 with 26 pioneers from all over the world in the treatment of spinal cord injury. The result of the conference was that a database should be created holding information on all experimental treatments of spinal cord injury.

Conference agenda read here: 



Dear Ambassador,

I refer to our ongoing correspondence on the subject of spinal cord injuries and most recently your letter of 8 October 1999.

I wish first of all to apologize for any miscommunication that may have occurred. The Organization is certainly most interested in working with you on the establishment of a centre in Iceland on the issue of spinal cord injuries. The proposed first step, to collect worldwide pertinent information on spinal cord injuries - with regard to incidence, outcome and health care implications - is also fully in line with our plans. Similarly, we shall be pleased to collaborate with the centre to organize an international meeting, subsequent to their collection of global data.

Read the responds here: 


jon kristjansson

I would like to start by thanking the World Health Organisation, and especially you, for your support and co-operation in arranging the international conference on Human Spinal Cord Injury, held in Reykjavík May 31st - June 2nd 2001.
At the conference many pioneers in the field of spinal cord injury expressed the view that it is becoming very urgent to provide more resources in the search for a more effective treatment and even cure of spinal cord injuries. These injuries are not only frequent among young people but are also a substantial financial burden for the health and social services in most countries.

Read the letter: 

gro harlem

Thank you for your letter of 11 July 2001 regarding the International Conference on Human Spinal Cord Injury held in Reykjavik from 31 May to June 2001.
*********** Before answering your letter I requested Dr Derek Yach, Executive Director, Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health to meet with your Ambassador and Permanent Representative in Geneva, Mr Stefan Johannesson, in order to discuss possible future collaboration between WHO and Iceland. I am pleased to inform you that we are working with Mr Johannesson to establish a WHO Collaborating Centre on Human Spinal
Cord Injuries in Reykjavik.

Read the letter: 


lara margret

At the initiative of Lára Margrét Ragnarsdóttir, former member of the parliament of Iceland, and the Chairman of the Health Committee of the Council of Europe, a proposal was submitted to the Council in 2002 on measures for spinal cord injury treatment. The European Council approved the proposal, but the Council’s Committee of Ministers did not. Read: Recommendation 1560 (2002)


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Postal address: Institute of Spinal Cord Injury, Iceland - ISCI,
Main office: Institute of Spinal Cord Injury, Iceland - ISCI (Mænuskaðastofnun Íslands), Nesbali 56, IS-170 Seltjarnarnes
tel +354 562 4925 / +354 897 4925 isci @