Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH

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“As the public-interest research arm of Kaiser Permanente Washington's learning health care system and a member of major research consortia, KPWHRI is honored to contribute to local and national health care improvements.”

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH

Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Investigator
Former executive director of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute and former vice president for research and health care innovation of Kaiser Permanente Washington

Biography

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, is a senior investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute. He served as the institute's executive director from 2002 through 2018, as well as vice president for research and health care innovation at Kaiser Permanente Washington from 2017 to 2018.

A general internist, Dr. Larson is a national leader in geriatrics, health services, and clinical research and has been an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine since 2007. He pursues an array of research, ranging from clinical interests such as Alzheimer’s disease and genomics to health services research involving technology assessment, cost-effectiveness analysis, learning health systems, and quality improvement. His research on aging includes a longstanding collaboration between Kaiser Permanente Washington and the University of Washington (UW) called the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study. Among ACT’s many groundbreaking findings:

  • Regular exercise is linked to reduced risk of dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and declines in how well people think.
  • Use of larger amounts of common medications that have strong anticholinergic side effects is linked to higher risks for developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Risk for dementia in old age can be linked to early life factors, such as socioeconomic status, education, and midlife vascular risk factors.
  • Risk for dementia is also tied to high blood sugar levels, even without diabetes.

With colleagues from Duke and  Harvard, Dr. Larson established and now helps lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Common Fund’s Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory. The Collaboratory sponsors pragmatic clinical trials and aims to improve the way clinical trials are conducted so that patients and care providers have access to the best available clinical evidence for decision-making. Dr. Larson is also the principal investigator for the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) project at KPWHRI and the UW. The goal of eMERGE research is to better understand the genomic basis of disease to tailor medical care to individual patients based on their genomic differences.

Dr. Larson has written or co-authored more than a dozen books, including 2017’s Enlightened Aging: Building Resilience for Long, Active Life, which draws from his decades of work as a physician and the leader of the ACT study. He has also published more than 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Until 2019, Dr. Larson maintained a small but longstanding internal medicine practice. He served as medical director for the UW Medical Center and associate dean for clinical affairs at its medical school from 1989 to 2002. He is a member and past president of the Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM), having received their highest honor, the Robert J. Glaser Award, in 2004. Dr. Larson is also a master of the American College of Physicians (ACP) and served on its Board of Regents for nearly a decade, including one term as chair. He was a commissioner on The Joint Commission from 1999 to 2010. 

Research interests and experience

 

Recent publications

Roden D, Glazer AM, Davogustto GE, Yang T, Muhammad A, Mosley JD, Larson EB, Van Driest S, Wells QS, Wada Y, Bland S, Yoneda ZT, Kroncke BM, George A, Shoemaker MB. Arrhythmia variant associations and reclassifications in the eMERGE-III sequencing study. Circulation. 2021 Dec 21. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.121.055562. Online ahead of print. PubMed

van Dalen JW, Brayne C, Crane PK, Fratiglioni L, Larson EB, Lobo A, Lobo E, Marcum ZA, Moll van Charante EP, qiu C, Reidel-Heller SG, Rohr S, Ryden L, Skoog I, van Gool WA, Richard E. Association of systolic blood pressure with dementia risk and the role of age, U-shaped associations, and mortality. JAMA Intern Med. 2021 Dec 13. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.7009. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Lee CS, Gibbons LE, Lee AY, Yanagihara RT, Blazes MS, Lee ML, McCurry SM, Bowen JD, McCormick WC, Crane PK, Larson EB. Association between cataract extraction and development of dementia. JAMA Intern Med. 2021 Dec 6. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.6990. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Hubbard EE, Heil LR, Merrihew GE, Chhatwal JP, Farlow MR, McLean CA, Ghetti B, Newell KL, Frosch MP, Bateman RJ, Larson EB, Keene CD, Perrin RJ, Montine TJ, MacCoss MJ, Julian RR. Does data-independent acquisition data contain hidden gems? a case study related to Alzheimer's disease. J Proteome Res. 2021 Nov 24. doi: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.1c00558. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Williams AT, Shrine N, van Gijzel H, Betts JC, Hessel EM, John C, Packer R, Reeve NF, Yeo AJ, Abner E, Olav Åsvold B, Auvinen J, Bartz TM, Bradford Y, Brumpton B, Campbell A, Cho MH, Chu S, Crosslin DR, Feng Q, Esko T, Gharib SA, Hayward C, Hebbring S, Hveem K, Jarvelin MR, Jarvik GP, Landis SH, Larson EB, Liu J, Loos RJF, Luo Y, Moscati A, Mullerova H, Namjo B, Porteous DJ, Quint JK, Regeneron Genomics Center, Ritchie MD, Sliz E, Stanaway IB, Thomas L, Wilson JF, Hall IP, Wain LV, Michalovich D, Tobin MD. Genome-wide association study of susceptibility to hospitalised respiratory infections. Wellcome Open Res. 2021, 6:290. https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17230.1

Palazzo L, Hsu C, Barnes DE, Figueroa Gray M, Greenwood-Hickman MA, Larson E, Dublin S. Patient and caregiver perspectives on a tool to increase recognition of undiagnosed dementia: a qualitative study. BMC Geriatr. 2021 Oct 26;21(1):604. doi: 10.1186/s12877-021-02523-0. PubMed

Hart LA, Walker R, Phelan EA, Marcum ZA, Schwartz NRM, Crane PK, Larson EB, Gray SL. Change in central nervous system-active medication use following fall-related injury in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021 Oct 19. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17508. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Mohammed A, Gibbons LE, Gates G, Anderson ML, McCurry SM, McCormick W, Bowen JD, Grabowski TJ, Crane PK, Larson EB. Association of performance on dichotic auditory tests with risk for incident dementia and Alzheimer dementia. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2021 Oct 14. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2021.2716. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

White L, Ingraham B, Larson E, Fishman P, Park S, Coe NB. Observational study of patient characteristics associated with a timely diagnosis of dementia and mild cognitive impairment without dementia. J Gen Intern Med. 2021 Oct 13. doi: 10.1007/s11606-021-07169-7. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Power MC, Murphy AE, Gianattasio KZ, Zhang YI, Walker RL, Crane PK, Larson EB, Gibbons LE, Kumar RG, Dams-O'Connor K. Association of military employment with late-life cognitive decline and dementia: a population-based prospective cohort study. Mil Med. 2021 Oct 9:usab413. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usab413. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

 

Research

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Cataract surgery linked with lessened dementia risk

JAMA Internal Medicine study finds cataract surgery associated with 30% lower risk of dementia in aging population.

ACT Study

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Roundup of 3 recent studies on dementia risk

Researchers explore links between hearing loss, military service, and cognitive decline — and look at timeliness of diagnosis.

Live Healthy

Senior couple at table eating a healthy meal

How to lower your risk of dementia

It’s never too late (or too soon) to take preventive steps.

KPWHRI in the Media

Research from the ACT Study, co-led by Eric Larson, MD, MPH, links cataract surgery to a lower risk of dementia.

Cataract surgery associated with lower risk of dementia

The Seattle Times, Dec. 13, 2021

Prescription overload

Senior adult sitting with glass of water in one hand and  holding medication in other hand

Deprescribing: Less may be more

Dr. Sascha Dublin explains why sometimes not taking medications may be a safer and healthier choice. 

KPWHRI In the Media

In his quarterly column, Eric Larson, MD, MPH, discusses the risk of over-diagnosis and over-treatment for older adults.

The benefits of slow medicine

3rd Act magazine, Fall 2021 (published in August)