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.
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...
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
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 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
Put her in...
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 --...
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...
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...
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...
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,...
The Assessment of Capacity for Everyday Decisionmaking (the ACED). An instrument that puts assessment into our ethics and ethics into our assessments.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013 - 9:22am
Developed by James Lai and Jason Karlawish, the ACED is useful for assessing an adult’s capacity to solve functional problems. It is especially helpful to sort out whether to respect a disabled adult’s refusal of assistance to manage their disability. You can read more about why assessing capacity matters in this Huffington Post blog post by Dr. Mark Lachs...
Remarks delivered at the April 24, 2013 conference "Finding Humanity in Advanced Dementia," sponsored by the PNP Program at Washington University in St. Louis
Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 7:52pm
This and the other talks from the conference can be listened to on YouTube.
In one of my first substantive memories of a person with advanced dementia, I’m standing at the threshold to the room in the nursing home where my great grandmother lay. I don’t want to say she lived there because in the weeks and months after she fell from the step that led up to...