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, Group Health
Executive Director, Group 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 Group Health 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 Group Health Research Institute (GHRI) and Group Health 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 GHRI’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

Danila MI, Outman RC, Rahn EJ, Mudano AS, Thomas TF, Redden DT, Allison JJ, Anderson FA, Anderson JP, Cram PM, Curtis JR, Fraenkel L, Greenspan SL, LaCroix AZ, Majumdar SR, Miller MJ, Nieves JW, Safford MM, Silverman SL, Siris ES, Solomon DH, Warriner AH, Watts NB, Yood RA, Saag KG. A multi-modal intervention for Activating Patients at Risk for Osteoporosis (APROPOS): rationale, design, and uptake of online study intervention material. Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2016;4:14-24. PubMed

Langa KM, Larson EB, Crimmin EM, Faul JD, Levine DA, Kabeto MU, Weir DR. A comparison of the prevalence of dementia in the United States in 2000 and 2012. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Nov 21. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.6807. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Mez J, Chung J, Jun G, Kriegel J, Bourlas AP, Sherva R, Logue MW, Barnes LL, Bennett DA, Buxbaum JD, Byrd GS, Crane PK, Ertekin-Taner N, Evans D, Fallin MD, Foroud T, Goate A, Graff-Radford NR, Hall KS, Kamboh MI, Kukull WA, Larson EB, Manly JJ; Alzheimer Disease Genetics Consortium., Haines JL, Mayeux R, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg GD, Lunetta KL, Farrer LA. Two novel loci, COBL and SLC10A2, for Alzheimer's disease in African Americans. Alzheimers Dement. 2016 Oct 19. pii: S1552-5260(16)32931-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2016.09.002. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Jakobsdottir J, van der Lee SJ, Bis JC, Chouraki V, Li-Kroeger D, Yamamoto S, Grove ML, Naj A, Vronskaya M, Salazar JL, DeStefano AL, Brody JA, Smith AV, Amin N, Sims R, Ibrahim-Verbaas CA, Choi SH, Satizabal CL, Lopez OL, Beiser A, Ikram MA, Garcia ME, Hayward C, Varga TV, Ripatti S, Franks PW, Hallmans G, Rolandsson O, Jansson JH, Porteous DJ, Salomaa V, Eiriksdottir G, Rice KM, Bellen HJ, Levy D, Uitterlinden AG, Emilsson V, Rotter JI, Aspelund T; Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium, Alzheimer’s Disease Genetic Consortium, Genetic and Environmental Risk in Alzheimer’s Disease consortium, O'Donnell CJ, Fitzpatrick AL, Launer LJ, Hofman A, Wang LS, Williams J, Schellenberg GD, Boerwinkle E, Psaty BM, Seshadri S, Shulman JM, Gudnason V, van Duijn CM. Rare functional variant in TM2D3 is associated with late-onset Alzheimer's disease. PLoS Genet. 2016 20;12(10):e1006327. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006327. eCollection 2016 Oct. PubMed

Greenwood-Hickman MA, Renz A, Rosenberg DE. Motivators and barriers to reducing sedentary behavior among overweight and obese older adults. Gerontologist. 2016 Aug;56(4):660-8. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnu163. Epub 2015 Feb 11. PubMed

Researchers in Aging & Geriatrics

Eric B. Larson, MD, MPH

Vice President for Research, Group Health; Executive Director & Senior Investigator, GHRI
206-287-2988
larson.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Sascha Dublin, MD, PhD

Associate Investigator
206-287-2870
dublin.s@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Diana S. Buist, PhD, MPH

Director of Research and Strategic Partnership; Senior Investigator
206-287-2931
buist.d@ghc.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; Senior Investigator, GHRI
206-287-2877
wagner.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Dori E. Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Assistant Investigator
206-287-2532
rosenberg.d@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Erin J. Bowles, MPH

Research Associate
206-287-2708
bowles.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Ellen O'Meara, PhD

Research Associate
206-287-2938
omeara.e@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Melissa L. Anderson, MS

Senior Biostatistician
206-287-2647
anderson.melissa@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)

Rod L. Walker, MS

Biostatistician
206-287-2895
walker.rl@ghc.org

Curriculum vitae (CV)