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

Marcum ZA, Walker RL, Jones BL, Ramaprasan A, Gray SL, Dublin S, Crane PK, Larson EB. Patterns of antihypertensive and statin adherence prior to dementia: findings from the Adult Changes in Thought study. BMC Geriatr. 2019;19(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12877-019-1058-6. PubMed

Marcum ZA, Hohl SD, Gray SL, Barthold D, Crane PK, Larson EB. Brain health and dementia prevention:a mixed-method analysis. Am J Health Behav. 2019;43(2):300-310. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5993/AJHB.43.2.7. PubMed

Margolis KL, Buchner DM, LaMonte MJ, Zhang Y, Di C, Rillamas-Sun E, Hunt J, Ikramuddin F, Li W, Marshall S, Rosenberg D, Stefanick ML, Wallace R, LaCroix AZ. Hypertension treatment and control and risk of falls in older women. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2019 Jan 7. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15732. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Mukherjee S, Mez J, Trittschuh EH, Saykin AJ, Gibbons LE, Fardo DW, Wessels M, Bauman J, Moore M, Choi SE, Gross AL, Rich J, Louden DKN, Sanders RE, Grabowski TJ, Bird TD, McCurry SM, Snitz BE, Kamboh MI, Lopez OL, De Jager PL, Bennett DA, Keene CD, Larson EB; EPAD Study Group; Investigators from ACT; Investigators from ROS; Investigators from MAP; Investigators from ADNI; Investigators from the University of Pittsburgh ADRC, Crane PK. Genetic data and cognitively defined late-onset Alzheimer's disease subgroups. Mol Psychiatry. 2018 Dec 4. pii: 10.1038/s41380-018-0298-8. doi: 10.1038/s41380-018-0298-8. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Yaffe K, Barnes DE, Rosenberg D, Dublin S, Kaup AR, Ludman EJ, Vittinghoff E, Peltz CB, Renz AD, Adams KJ, Larson EB. Systematic Multi-domain Alzheimer's Risk Reduction Trial (SMARRT): study protocol. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018 Nov 23. pii: JAD180634. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180634. [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
Eric.B.Larson@kp.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

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

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Diana S. Buist, PhD, MPH

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

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Andrea Z. LaCroix, PhD

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

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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

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Erin J. Bowles, MPH

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

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Ellen O'Meara, PhD

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

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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

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Laura Harrington, PhD, MPH

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

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