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

Abdulrahman H, van Dalen JW, den Brok M, Latimer CS, Larson EB, Richard E. Hypertension and Alzheimer's disease pathology at autopsy: A systematic review. LID - 10.1002/alz.12707 [doi] Alzheimers Dement. 2022 Jun 27. doi: 10.1002/alz.12707 [Epub ahead of print] PubMed

Zhang X, Lucas AM, Veturi Y, Drivas TG, Bone WP, Verma A, Chung WK, Crosslin D, Denny JC, Hebbring S, Jarvik GP, Kullo I, Larson EB, Rasmussen-Torvik LJ, Schaid DJ, Smoller JW, Stanaway IB, Wei WQ, Weng C, Ritchie MD. Large-scale genomic analyses reveal insights into pleiotropy across circulatory system diseases and nervous system disorders. Nat Commun. 2022 Jun 14;13(1):3428. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-30678-w. PubMed

Nelson PT, Brayne C, Flanagan ME, Abner EL, Agrawal S, Attems J, Castellani RJ, Corrada MM, Cykowski MD, Di J, Dickson DW, Dugger BN, Ervin JF, Fleming J, Graff-Radford J, Grinberg LT, Hokkanen SRK, Hunter S, Kapasi A, Kawas CH, Keage HAD, Keene CD, Kero M, Knopman DS, Kouri N, Kovacs GG, Labuzan SA, Larson EB, Latimer CS, Leite REP, Matchett BJ, Matthews FE, Merrick R, Montine TJ, Murray ME, Myllykangas L, Nag S, Nelson RS, Neltner JH, Nguyen AT, Petersen RC, Polvikoski T, Reichard RR, Rodriguez RD, Suemoto CK, Wang SJ, Wharton SB, White L, Schneider JA. Frequency of LATE neuropathologic change across the spectrum of Alzheimer's disease neuropathology: combined data from 13 community-based or population-based autopsy cohorts. Acta Neuropathol. 2022 Jun 13. doi: 10.1007/s00401-022-02444-1. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Bagi Z, Kroenke CD, Fopiano KA, Tian Y, Filosa JA, Sherman LS, Larson EB, Keene CD, Degener O'Brien K, Adeniyi PA, Back SA. Association of cerebral microvascular dysfunction and white matter injury in Alzheimer's disease. Geroscience. 2022 May 25. doi: 10.1007/s11357-022-00585-5. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

O'Brien EC, Sugarman J, Weinfurt KP, Larson EB, Heagerty PJ, Hernandez AF, Curtis LH. The impact of COVID-19 on pragmatic clinical trials: lessons learned from the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory. Trials. 2022 May 21;23(1):424. doi: 10.1186/s13063-022-06385-8. PubMed

Eissman JM, Dumitrescu L, Mahoney ER, Smith AN, Mukherjee S, Lee ML, Scollard P, Choi SE, Bush WS, Engelman CD, Lu Q, Fardo DW, Trittschuh EH, Mez J, Kaczorowski CC, Hernandez Saucedo H, Widaman KF, Buckley RF, Properzi MJ, Mormino EC, Yang HS, Harrison TM, Hedden T, Nho K, Andrews SJ, Tommet D, Hadad N, Sanders RE, Ruderfer DM, Gifford KA, Zhong X, Raghavan NS, Vardarajan BN; Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI); Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC); A4 Study Team, Pericak-Vance MA, Farrer LA, Wang LS, Cruchaga C, Schellenberg GD, Cox NJ, Haines JL, Keene CD, Saykin AJ, Larson EB, Sperling RA, Mayeux R, Cuccaro ML, Bennett DA, Schneider JA, Crane PK, Jefferson AL, Hohman TJ. Sex differences in the genetic architecture of cognitive resilience to Alzheimer's disease. Brain. 2022 May 13:awac177. doi: 10.1093/brain/awac177. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Marcum ZA, Cohen JB, Larson EB, Williamson J, Bress AP. Can preferentially prescribing angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) over angiotensinconverting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) decrease dementia risk and improve brain health equity? NAM Perspectives. May 2022; https://doi.org/10.31478/202205c.

Whitehouse P, Gandy S, Saini V, George DR, Larson EB, Alexander GC, Avorn J, Brownlee S, Camp C, Chertkow H, Fugh-Berman A, Howard R, Kesselheim A, Langa K, Perry G, Richard E, Schneider L. Making the case for accelerated withdrawal of aducanumab. J Alzheimers Dis. 2022 Apr 5. doi: 10.3233/JAD-220262. Online ahead of print. PubMed

Coe NB, White L, Oney M, Basu A, Larson EB. Public spending on acute and long-term care for Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Alzheimers Dement. 2022 Mar 16. doi: 10.1002/alz.12657. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Larson EB, Nelson JC. In older adults, use of a recombinant zoster vaccine was associated with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Ann Intern Med. 2022;175(3):JC35. doi: 10.7326/J22-0010. Epub 2022 Mar 1. PubMed

 

Healthy Findings Blog

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Enlightened aging: Forgetful need not lead to fretful

Age-related memory changes are not always cause for concern, writes Eric Larson, MD, MPH.

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.

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

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

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