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

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Professor of Health Services, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine
Former Executive Director, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Former Vice President, Research and Health Care Innovation, 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

Zhou J, Walker RL, Gray SL, Marcum ZA, Barthold D, Bowen JD, McCormick W, McCurry SM, Larson EB, Crane PK. Glucose-dementia association is consistent over blood pressure/antihypertensive groups. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021 Jan 30. doi: 10.3233/JAD-201138. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

den Brok MGHE, van Dalen JW, Abdulrahman H, Larson EB, van Middelaar T, van Gool WA, van Charante EPM, Richard E. Antihypertensive medication classes and the risk of dementia: a systematic review and network meta-analysis. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021 Jan 16:S1525-8610(20)31068-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2020.12.019 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

eMERGE Consortium. Lessons learned from the eMERGE network: balancing genomics in discovery and practice. HGG Adv. Vol 2, Issue 1, 14 Jan. 2021, 100018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xhgg.2020.100018.

Shaffer RM, Li G, Adar SD, Keene CD, Latimer CS, Crane PK, Larson EB, Kaufman JD, Carone M, Sheppard L. Fine particulate matter and markers of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology at autopsy in a community-based cohort. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;79(4):1761-1773. doi: 10.3233/JAD-201005. PubMed

Bowen DJ, Makhnoon S, Shirts BH, Fullerton SM, Larson E, Ralston JD, Leppig K, Crosslin DR, Veenstra D, Jarvik GP. What improves the likelihood of people receiving genetic test results communicating to their families about genetic risk? Patient Educ Couns. 2021 Jan 7:S0738-3991(21)00001-X. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2021.01.001. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Patel HV, Henrikson NB, Ralston JD, Leppig K, Scrol A, Jarvik GP, DeVange S, Larson EB, Hartzler AL. Implementation matters: how patient experiences differ when genetic counseling accompanies the return of genetic variants of uncertain significance. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2022 Feb 21;2021:950-958. eCollection 2021. PubMed

Kumar RG, Jayasinghe N, Walker RL, Gibbons LE, Power MC, Larson EB, Crane PK, Connor KD. Association of remote traumatic brain injury and military employment with late-life trajectories of depressive symptom severity. J Affect Disord. 2020 Dec 5;281:376-383. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2020.12.003. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Kunkle BW, Schmidt M, Klein HU, Naj AC, Hamilton-Nelson KL, Larson EB, Evans DA, De Jager PL, Crane PK, Buxbaum JD, Ertekin-Taner N, Barnes LL, Fallin MD, Manly JJ, Go RCP, Obisesan TO, Kamboh MI, Bennett DA, Hall KS, Goate AM, Foroud TM, Martin ER, Wang LS, Byrd GS, Farrer LA, Haines JL, Schellenberg GD, Mayeux R, Pericak-Vance MA, Reitz C; Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC), Graff-Radford NR, Martinez I, Ayodele T, Logue MW, Cantwell LB, Jean-Francois M, Kuzma AB, Adams LD, Vance JM, Cuccaro ML, Chung J, Mez J, Lunetta KL, Jun GR, Lopez OL, Hendrie HC, Reiman EM, Kowall NW, Leverenz JB, Small SA, Levey AI, Golde TE, Saykin AJ, Starks TD, Albert MS, Hyman BT, Petersen RC, Sano M, Wisniewski T, Vassar R, Kaye JA, Henderson VW, DeCarli C, LaFerla FM, Brewer JB, Miller BL, Swerdlow RH, Van Eldik LJ, Paulson HL, Trojanowski JQ, Chui HC, Rosenberg RN, Craft S, Grabowski TJ, Asthana S, Morris JC, Strittmatter SM, Kukull WA. Novel Alzheimer disease risk loci and pathways in African American individuals using the African genome resources panel: a meta-analysis. JAMA Neurol. 2020 Oct 19. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.3536. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Klarin D, Verma SS, Judy R, Dikilitas O, Wolford BN, Paranjpe I, Levin MG, Pan C, Tcheandjieu C, Spin JM, Lynch J, Assimes TL, Nyrønning LÅ, Mattsson E, Edwards TL, Denny J, Larson E, Lee MTM, Carrell D, Zhang Y, Jarvik GP, Gharavi AG, Harley J, Mentch F, Pacheco JA, Hakonarson H, Skogholt AH, Thomas L, Gabrielsen ME, Hveem K, Nielsen JB, Zhou W, Fritsche L, Huang J, Natarajan P, Sun YV, DuVall SL, Rader DJ, Cho K, Chang KM, Wilson PWF, O'Donnell CJ, Kathiresan S, Scali ST, Berceli SA, Willer C, Jones GT, Bown MJ, Nadkarni G, Kullo IJ, Ritchie M, Damrauer SM, Tsao PS. Genetic architecture of abdominal aortic aneurysm in the Million Veteran program. Circulation. 2020 Sep 28. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.047544. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Palmer MR, Kim DS, Crosslin DR, Stanaway IB, Rosenthal EA, Carrell DS, Cronkite DJ, Gordon A, Du X, Li YK, Williams MS, Weng C, Feng Q, Li R, Pendergrass SA, Hakonarson H, Fasel D, Sohn S, Sleiman P, Handelman SK, Speliotes E, Kullo IJ, Larson EB, Ja+++. Loci identified by a genome-wide association study of carotid artery stenosis in the eMERGE network. Genet Epidemiol. 2021 Feb;45(1):4-15. doi: 10.1002/gepi.22360. Epub 2020 Sep 22. PubMed

 

ACT Study news

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Healthy aging: New tool for research and collaboration

Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study launches a new website to advance our understanding of brain aging.

Healthy Findings Blog

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Practice acceptance when change or adversity strike

At any age — but especially later in life — adapting and seeking assistance when we need it can help through tough times.

Healthy aging

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Lessons about aging from COVID-19

Eric Larson, MD, MPH, shares ways to reduce social isolation and loneliness, no matter the cause.

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.

KPWHRI In the Media

Dr. Eric Larson interviewed about new research based on ACT Study data

Cataract surgery may reduce the risk of dementia, study finds

Oregon Public Broadcasting, Jan. 4, 2022

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.

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