Aging & Geriatrics

“Our ‘living laboratory’ produces practical findings that are helping seniors delay dementia and other debilitating conditions.”

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH
Vice President for Research, Kaiser Permanente Washington
Executive Director, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Research overview

The world’s population is aging, and many U.S. baby boomers are entering their golden years. So it’s only fitting that much research at Kaiser Permanente Washington contributes to helping seniors to lead healthier lives.

“Research on aging cuts across virtually everything our Institute does,” said Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, the senior investigator who serves as executive director of Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) and Kaiser Permanente Washington vice president for research. This includes studies of older women’s health, mental health issues in the elderly, and controlling cancers and chronic illnesses that become more common with age. The widely cited Chronic Care Model, developed at KPWHRI’s MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation, is now the leading care-design model for everyone, including older people, with chronic disease.

The Institute also hosts several long-running cohort studies, including the Seattle Longitudinal Study, begun in the early 1950s, and the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) study, a collaboration with the University of Washington. For more than 20 years, ACT researchers, led by Dr. Larson, have focused on finding ways to delay or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and cognitive decline. Through ACT and related studies, the Institute has discovered clues to healthy aging that translate into guidance for safely staying active and avoiding cardiovascular risks. More recently, ACT researchers have also been contributing to research on traumatic brain injury and on the genetic foundations of various diseases, including Alzheimer’s.

In addition, the Institute’s drug safety research contributes to better understanding of how certain common medications affect seniors’ well-being. Meanwhile, our investigators are also seeking ways to help seniors stay physically active, avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, and receive late-life care that best reflects their values and preferences.

“We’re learning what our study participants value as they grow older,” Larson said. “And we hope to apply that to help them have a positive experience with aging—promoting their independence and providing them with skills to cope with any problems that may occur.”

Recent publications on Aging & Geriatrics

Coe NB, Skira MM, Larson EB. A comprehensive measure of the costs of caring for a parent: differences according to functional status. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Sep 17. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15552. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Heath L, Gray SL, Boudreau DM, Thummel K, Edwards KL, Fullerton SM, Crane PK, Larson EB. Cumulative antidepressant use and risk of dementia in a prospective cohort study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Sep 17. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15508. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Lee CS, Larson EB, Gibbons LE, Lee AY, McCurry SM, Bowen JD, McCormick WC, Crane PK. Associations between recent and established ophthalmic conditions and risk of Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2018 Aug 2. pii: S1552-5260(18)33034-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2018.06.2856. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Gray SL, Anderson ML, Hanlon JT, Dublin S, Walker RL, Hubbard RA, Yu O, Montine TJ, Crane PK, Sonne JA, Keene CD, Larson EB. Exposure to strong anticholinergic medications and dementia-related neuropathology in a community-based autopsy cohort. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018 Jul 21. pii: JAD171174. doi: 10.3233/JAD-171174. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Deming Y, Dumitrescu L, Barnes LL, Thambisetty M, Kunkle B, Gifford KA, Bush WS, Chibnik LB, Mukherjee S, De Jager PL, Kukull W, Huentelman M, Crane PK, Resnick SM, Keene CD, Montine TJ, Schellenberg GD, Haines JL, Zetterberg H, Blennow K, Larson EB, Johnson SC, Albert M, Moghekar A, Del Aguila JL, Fernandez MV, Budde J, Hassenstab J, Fagan AM, Riemenschneider M, Petersen RC, Minthon L, Chao MJ, Van Deerlin VM, Lee VM, Shaw LM, Trojanowski JQ, Peskind ER, Li G, Davis LK, Sealock JM, Cox NJ; Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI), Alzheimer Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC), Goate AM, Bennett DA, Schneider JA, Jefferson AL, Cruchaga C, Hohman TJ. Sex-specific genetic predictors of Alzheimer's disease biomarkers. Acta Neuropathol. 2018 Jul 2. pii: 10.1007/s00401-018-1881-4. doi: 10.1007/s00401-018-1881-4. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Researchers in Aging & Geriatrics

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH, MACP

Vice President for Research and Health Care Innovation, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington; Executive Director & Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
206-287-2988
larson.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Senior Investigator
206-287-2870
Sascha.Dublin@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana S. Buist, PhD, MPH

Director of Research and Strategic Partnerships; Senior Investigator
206-287-2931
Diana.S.Buist@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD

Senior Investigator
858-822-1073
Alacroix@ucsd.edu

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Edward H. Wagner, MD, MPH

Director (Emeritus), MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation
206-287-2877
wagner.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator
206-287-2532
Dori.E.Rosenberg@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Erin J. Bowles, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2708
Erin.A.Bowles@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ellen O'Meara, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2938
Ellen.S.O'Meara@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Melissa L. Anderson, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2647
Melissa.L.Anderson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Rod L. Walker, MS

Biostatistician
206-287-2895
Rod.L.Walker@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Bridget Burke, PhD, MPH, MIS

Research Fellow
206-287-5252
Bridget.T.Burke@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Laura Harrington, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2066
Laura.B.Harrington@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)