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Jason Karlawish

Co-Director of the Penn Memory Center

Jason Karlawish


Jason Karlawish is a physician and writer. He cares for patients at the Penn Memory Center, which he co-directs, and studies and writes about issues at the intersections of bioethics, aging and the neurosciences. His essays have appeared in, KevinMD, the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, STAT news and the Washington Post. He is the author of the novel Open Wound: The Tragic Obsession of Dr. William Beaumont. Based on true events along the early 19th century American frontier, it is the story of a physician's increasing obsession with achieving fame and fortune. His book, The Problem of Alzheimer’s (St Martin’s Press, February 2021), is an account of how Alzheimer’s disease became a crisis and the steps needed to address it.


He has investigated the development of Alzheimer’s disease treatments and diagnostics, biomarker-based concepts of disease, informed consent, quality of life, research and treatment decision making, and voting by persons with cognitive impairment and residents of long term care facilities. In a widely read essay in the Journal of the American Medical Association, he introduced the concept of “desktop medicine,” a theory of medicine that recognizes how risk and its numerical representations are transforming medicine, medical care, and health. His essays on the concept of “whealthcare” have raised national awareness about the tight linkages between cognitive health and financial wealth. He has been an internationally recognized proponent of mobile polling, a method of bringing the vote to long term care facilities that minimizes fraud and maximizes voter rights. 

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