Jason Karlawish


Jason Karlawish is a physician and author. His research examines issues in bioethics. His novel Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont, based on true events along the early 19th century American frontier, is the story of a physician's increasing obsession with achieving fame and fortune. Karlawish is a Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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We all have Alzheimer's....

Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 7:00am

The April issue of Health Affairs, is dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a thorough and thoughtful set of articles edited by Darmouth’s Julie Bynum, MD.

AlzForum covered the...

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A blood test for Alzheimer's??? Not so fast....

Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 12:22pm

Nature Medicine published a study reporting how in a cohort of 500 someodd adults -- average age in their 70's -- a blood measure of various lipids predicted the group who, over three yeas of follow up, was likely to develop either mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimers' disease dementia. I spoke with...

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How learning your genetic risk can transform you....

Sunday, February 16, 2014 - 2:12pm

The American Journal of Psychiatry reports two remarkable findings: After cognitively normal older adults learns they have the ε4 allele of the APOE gene that increases risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease dementia, they perform worse...

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My Top 10 Books…

Sunday, December 29, 2013 - 1:00am

Order nonspecific, this is my list. Each one has been a close friend with whom I’ve talked to and listened to and, after in some cases, after years apart, looked up and gotten back in touch with.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert

Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

The Heart of the Matter by Graeme Greene

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Prescribing by...

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Been thinking about how we think about agitation in persons with dementia and how, as a result, we treat it, or really fail to treat it....

Friday, November 29, 2013 - 7:34pm

.... because we think of it as just a brain disease.

Yeats’ “Quarrel in Old Age” explains what I’m thinking. First stanza: imagine the speaker; a daughter, just off the phone following a call from the nursing home staff who care for her mother, and, in the second stanza, pay close attention to the punctuation.

“Where had her sweetness gone?
What fanatics invent
In this blind bitter town,
Fantasy or incident
Not worth thinking of...

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A diary of The Tragic Obsession Tour

Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 6:45am

Keeping a diary of the Tour... Reads not like a blog but a book with the oldest entry first (a "golb" perhaps?), so to read the latest diary entry, you'll have to click on "learn more" and scroll all-the-way-down....

October 11th -- Two big New York City events kicked off the tour: the New School's Fiction Forum on October 10th and the New York Academy of Medicine on October 11th.

Vigorous discussions of why write a novel instead of a biography or essay --...

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Alzheimer's disease: research, prevention and living with it.

Monday, October 28, 2013 - 6:39pm

Alzheimer’s Disease dementia effects five million people in the U.S. and as baby boomers age that number is expected to grow. But so far there’s been little success in treating the disease and slowing its debilitating progress. Now though, researchers are taking a different approach and looking at prevention. With the help of a $33 million grant by the Federal Government, neuroscientists will test a drug on at-risk populations before they get Alzheimer’s. I spoke...

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Is the brain ready for personalized medicine?

Saturday, September 7, 2013 - 9:07am

This was also published on the Robert Wood Johnson Human Capital Blog

“Prescribe the right drug to the right patient at the right time” is not a new medical practice, but when a biomarker—that is, a measure of disease pathophysiology—or a gene makes this decision, that is a radically new medical practice. The promise of personalized medicine is...

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Customer Service Comes to the Polls. The Bauer-Ginsburg Commission is up and running!

Friday, August 16, 2013 - 8:41am

UPDATE -- 16 August 2013 - The Bauer-Ginsburg Commission is up and running! Check out the website for the properly named Presidential Commission on Election Administration. SupporttheVoter.gov has the vision of bringing a "customer service model" to the voting experience. This could well mark a break away from the contentious partisan squabbles that scuttle efforts to transform a voting experience that...

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Prometheus and Myriad -- how two supreme court rulings have freed biomarkers and genes from bondage

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 7:55pm

In recent decades, biomarkers and genes have become essential in diagnosing disease and assessing patients’ responses to therapy. They are the language of desktop medicine. The increasing quantitative rigor and efficiency of these tests have led to the possibility of “personalized medicine.”  Despite such progress,...

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