Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #28--April 6, 2000

CAAR (Current Awareness in Aging Research) is a weekly email report produced by the Center for Demography of Health and Aging at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that helps researchers keep up to date with the latest developments in the field. For more information, including an archive of back issues and subscription information see:

http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/cdha/caar/caar-index.htm

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I. Data:

1. HRS/AHEAD: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research Health and Retirement Study/Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old website has released a data alert with respect to the AHEAD 1995 public release. For details see:

http://www.umich.edu/~hrswww/center/alerts/dpub005.html
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2. PSID: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research Panel Study of Income Dynamics released "Release 3 of the 1993 Final Release Family File," on March 30, 2000. For a detailed list of changes from older release versions see:

http://www.isr.umich.edu/src/psid/errata.html

To access the data (1993 Family) see :

http://www.isr.umich.edu/src/psid/maindata.html

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II. Reports and articles

3. SSA PERIODICAL: The Social Security Administration has released the latest issue of _Social Security Bulletin_ (Vol. 62, No. 4, 1999, .pdf format, 90p.).

http://www.ssa.gov/policy/pubs/index.html?main=/policy/pubs/SSB/v62n4y1999/index.html
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4. _BMJ_ ARTICLES:

A. "Spain faces massive decline in population," by Xavier Bosch (_British Medical Journal_, April 1, 2000, Vol. 320, No. 7239, p. 891, HTML and .pdf formats).

http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/320/7239/891

B. "Biochemical diagnosis of ventricular dysfunction in elderly patients in general practice: observational study," by H. Smith, R. M. Pickering, A. Struthers, I. Simpson, and D. Mant (_British Medical Journal_, April 1, 2000, Vol. 320, No. 7239, p. 906-908, HTML and .pdf formats).

http://bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/320/7239/906

C. "Funding of long term care for older people needs to be publicly debated," by J. Petrie, C. MacKay, G. Alberti, and B. Williams (_British Medical Journal_, April 1, 2000, Vol. 320, No. 7239, p. 936, HTML and .pdf formats).

http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/320/7239/936
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5. _SCIENCE_ ARTICLES:

A. "Mitotic Misregulation and Human Aging," by Danith H. Ly, David J. Lockhart, Richard A. Lerner, and Peter G. Schultz (_Science_, Mar. 31, 2000, Vol. 287, No. 5462, p. 2486-2492). Note: Your organization may have access to full electronic text (HTML and .pdf formats) of this article. Check your organization's library.

>From the Abstract:

Messenger RNA levels were measured in actively dividing fibroblasts isolated from young, middle-age, and old-age humans and humans with progeria, a rare genetic disorder characterized by accelerated aging. Genes whose expression is associated with age-related phenotypes and diseases were identified. The data also suggest that an underlying mechanism of the aging process involves increasing errors in the mitotic machinery of dividing cells in the postreproductive stage of life. We propose that this dysfunction leads to chromosomal pathologies that result in misregulation of genes involved in the aging process.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/5462/2486

B. "Chipping Away at the Causes of Aging," by Jean Marx (_Science_, Mar. 31, 2000, Vol. 287, No. 5462, p. 2390). Note: Your organization may have access to full electronic text (HTML and .pdf formats) of this article. Check your organization's library.

>From the Summary:

Researchers are getting some clues to the causes of the physical degeneration that occurs in aging from DNA microarrays or chips, which enable them to perform wholesale analysis of gene expression patterns. On page 2486, a team reports that some of the gene changes they saw in aging fibroblasts, the cells that help form skin and connective tissue, could cause skin to wrinkle. They also found evidence for what may be a more global explanation of aging: an impairment of the machinery needed for normal separation of the chromosomes during cell division that could lead to genetic instability and a variety of disturbances in gene function.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/287/5462/2390
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6. MEDSCAPE ARTICLES: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles.

A. NIA Aging and Genetic Epidemiology Working Group Studies: "Genetic Epidemiologic Studies on Age-Specified Traits" (NIA Aging and Genetic Epidemiology Working Group, November 1999).

http://www.medscape.com/19476.rhtml

or

http://www.medscape.com/govmt/NIA/2000/03.00/NIA0327.01/NIA0327.01-01.html

B. "Highlights from the 25th Annual International Stroke Conference, February 10-12, 2000, New Orleans, La.," by Scott E. Kasner, Jeffrey L. Saver, and Steven R. Levine. (Medscape Neurology, 2000).

http://www.medscape.com/19472.rhtml

or

http://www.medscape.com/Medscape/Neurology/journal/2000/v02.n02/mn0324.kasn/mn0324.kasn-01.html

C. "Cancer Research and the Aging Population," by B.J. Kennedy (_Oncology Issues_, Vol. 15, No. 1, January/Feburary 2000).

>From the Abstract:

Cancer is a disease of aging and a major cause of morbidity and death in the United States. Nationally, more than 50 percent of all cancers occur in people aged 65 and older. This same group accounts for 70 percent of cancer deaths. As the number of elderly Americans continues to climb, the prevalence of cancer will also increase. In men and women older than age 75, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. In women older than 75, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Thirty-five percent of all colon cancers in women occur in those older than age 80. In men older than age 75, prostate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death. By age 90, prostate cancer occurs in 90 percent of men, although it may not cause their death.

http://www.medscape.com/19477.rhtml

or

http://www.medscape.com/ACCC/OncIssues/2000/v05.n01/oi1501.04.kenn/oi1501.04.kenn-01.html

D. "Osteoporosis: Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment," by Mohammad Masud Iqbal (_Southern Medical Journal_, January 2000).

>From the Abstract:

Osteoporosis is an important health problem in the United States affecting approximately 24 million Americans, 15 to 20 million of whom are women over 45 years of age. Bone fractures are the major cause of morbidity and mortality associated with osteoporosis. The most common fractures are those of the forearm, hip, and vertebral body, as well as the humerus, tibia, pelvis, and ribs. Osteoporosis-related injuries result in complications leading to prolonged hospitalization, decreased independence, increased incidence of depression, and a reduced quality of life. The disease takes an enormous personal and economic toll, with estimated costs in excess of $13.8 billion annually for direct medical treatment. The incidence of osteoporosis-related fractures is increasing and constitutes a major public health problem in the United States. With a few preventive measures such as identification of risk factors, careful examination, and a few simple diagnostic tests, prevention of osteoporosis during the teen and early adult years is far superior to any treatment for older individuals. Osteoporosis can be identified and an appropriate treatment strategy can be determined.

http://www.medscape.com/19605.rhtml

or

http://www.medscape.com/SMA/SMJ/2000/v93.n01/smj9301.01.iqba/smj9301.01.iqba-01.html
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7. AARP REPORT: "AARP National Survey on Consumer Preparedness and E-Commerce: A Survey of Computer Users Age 45 and Older (March 2000, .pdf format, 72p.). The main page links to a summary, news release, and (at the bottom of the page ["download or view"]) electronic full text.

http://research.aarp.org/consume/ecommerce.html
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8._ AARP BULLETIN_ ARTICLE: The April 2000 _AARP Bulletin_ contains an article: "What's behind high drugs prices in the U.S.?" by Patricia Barry.

http://www.aarp.org/bulletin/apr00/drugs.html
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9. URBAN INSTITUTE RETIREMENT PROJECT REPORT: "ERISA at 50: A New Model for the Private Pension System," by Pamela Perun and C. Eugene Steuerle (Retirement Project Report #4, February 2000, HTML and .pdf formats, 21p.).

>From the Introduction:

In 1999, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the primary law regulating the private pension system, turned 25. For the most part, people agree that ERISA is showing its age and is in need of substantial reform. However, few agree on the shape such reform should take. Since its enactment, ERISA has expanded in often unanticipated and irrational ways. As a result, the private pension system is now burdened with overly complex rules, regulations, and plan types that inhibit its ability to generate adequate retirement income to millions of Americans. This paper proposes a new model for ERISA of vastly simplified plans and rules intended to make the private pension system more accessible by employers and employees alike.

http://www.urban.org/retirement/reports/4/retire_4.html

PDF Format (link on above page is incorrect at present):

http://www.urban.org/retirement/reports/4/retire_4.pdf

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III. Working Papers

10. CENSUS BUREAU: The Census Bureau has released "Current Population Survey, Technical Paper 63, Design and Methodology," (March 2000, .pdf format, 217p.).

http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/tp63.pdf
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11. INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND:

A. "What Will Happen to Financial Markets When the Baby Boomers Retire?" by Robin Brooks (IMF Working Paper WP/00/18, February 2000, .pdf format, 37p.).

>From the Abstract:

This paper explores whether changes in the age distribution have significant effects on financial markets that are rational and forward-looking. It presents an overlapping generations model in which agents make a portfolio decision over stocks and bonds when saving for retirement. Using the model to simulate a baby boom-baby bust demonstrates that returns to baby boomers will be substantially below returns to earlier generations, even when markets are rational and forward-looking. This result is important because the current debate over how to reform pay-as-you-go pension systems often takes historical returns on financial assets--and on the equity premium--as given.

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.cfm?sk=3422.0

Click on "Full Text in PDF format" for full text.

B. "Pension System Viability and Reform Alternatives in the Czech Republic," by Thomas Laursen (IMF Working Paper WP/00/16, February 2000, .pdf format, 45p.).

>From the Abstract:

The finances of the Czech pension system have deteriorated markedly in recent years and the aging population will add further strains in the future. The system is also burdened by significant distortions in disincentive effects. This paper assesses the current pay-as-you-go (PAYG) system, including its long-run viability, and discusses reform options. It concludes that alterations to the basic PAYG parameters can go a long way toward addressing the problems, although more systemic changes--such as pre-finding, strengthening the link between contributions and benefits, and diverting part of the pension contributions to a mandatory, private pension savings pillar--could also help.

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.cfm?sk=3419.0

Click on "Full Text in PDF format" for full text.
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12. FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD:

A. "Should America Save for its Old Age? Population Aging, National Saving, and Fiscal Policy," by Douglas Elmendorf and Louise Sheiner (FRB Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-3, November 1999, .pdf format, 48p.).

>From the Abstract:

While popular wisdom holds that the United States should save more now in anticipation of the aging of the baby boom generation, the optimal response to population aging from a macroeconomic perspective is not clear-cut. Indeed, Cutler, Poterba, Sheiner, and Summers ("CPSS", 1990) argued that the optimal response to the coming demographic transition was more likely to be a reduction in national saving than an increase. In this paper we reexamine this question. In particular, we ask how the optimal saving response depends on the openness of our economy, on how we view the consumption of children, and on the existence of pay-as-you-go transfer programs like Social Security and Medicare. We find that, if the United States were a small open economy and world interest rates were fixed at their current level, the desire to smooth consumption as our population aged would lead us to increase saving today. But the optimal response in a closed economy is much less clear-cut, as slower growth of the labor force will push down the rate of return on capital and diminish desired saving. For reasonable parameters, the optimal response to our aging population in a closed economy is likely to be small--either a small decline in national saving or a small increase. We also explore the role of the government in population aging. Government programs can influence consumption if they affect the capital-labor ratio or the relative weight that society places on the consumption of the elderly.

http://www.bog.frb.fed.us/pubs/feds/2000/200003/200003abs.html

Click on "Full paper..." for full text.

B. "Generational Aspects of Medicare," by Louise Sheiner and David Cutler (FRB Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-9, January 2000, .pdf format, 12p.).

>From the Abstract:

This paper examines the generational aspect of the current Medicare system and some stylized reforms. We find that the rates of return on Medicare for today's workers are higher than those for Social Security and that the Medicare system is shifting a greater share of the burden on future workers than is Social Security. Nonetheless, the rates of return on Medicare, using the Medicare Trustees assumptions, are still not that high--roughly 2 percent for today's youngest workers. But forecasting future Medicare expenditures is quite difficult. Under an alternative higher-cost baseline, which we consider plausible, rates of return for today's youngest workers will exceed 3 percent. Putting Medicare on a sustainable basis by raising the payroll tax or reducing benefits would greatly reduce the rate of return for today's workers. Under the Trustees assumptions, for example, the payroll tax would have to be increased by 2.0 percent of payroll to put the Medicare system in balance in perpetuity. This policy would reduce the rate of return on today's youngest workers to about 1.3 percent.

http://www.bog.frb.fed.us/pubs/feds/2000/200009/200009abs.html

Click on "Full paper..." for full text.

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IV. Journal Tables of Contents (check your library for availability)

13. Journal of Health Economics (Vol. 19, No. 2, April 2000).

http://www.elsevier.nl/locate/jnlnr/05393

Click on "Tables of Contents/Abstracts" in the left frame. Note: Your organization may have access to electronic full text of articles. Check your organization's library.
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14. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences (B) (Vol. 55B, No. 2, March 2000). Note: This journal is available in electronic full text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and of this issue.
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15. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences (B) (Vol. 55B, No. 2, March 2000). Note: This journal is available in electronic full text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and of this issue.
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16. CARL Uncover Journal Tables of Contents. Follow the instructions below to access tables of contents. CARL Uncover provides fee based document delivery services for selected journals.

A. Point your browser to:

http://uncweb.carl.org:80/

B. click on "Search Uncover"
C. click on "Search Uncover Now"
D. Type the Journal Name in the search box and click the radio button "Journal Title Browse"
E. click on the journal name
F. click on "journal issues"
G. click on the issues identified below

American Journal of Public Health (Vol. 90, No. 4, April 2000). Note: This journal is available in electronic full text in the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Database and the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of these databases and of this issue.

Journal of Health and Social Behavior (Vol. 41, No. 1, March 2000). Note: This journal is available in electronic full text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and of this issue.

Medical Care Research and Review (Vol. 57, No. 1, March 2000). Note: This journal is available in electronic full text in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and of this issue.

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V. Conferences:

17. ASSOCIATION FOR GERONTOLOGY IN HIGHER EDUCATION (A UNIT OF THE GERONTOLOGICAL SOCIETY): Capitalizing on Professional and Cultural Diversity to Benefit Older Adults, 27th Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). This conference will be held Feb. 22-25, 2001, San Jose, California. For more information see:

http://www.aghe.org/annmeetinfo.htm

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VI. Legislation Information Updates

18. HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE SUBCOMMITTEE ON SOCIAL SECURITY HEARINGS:

A. Social Security Integrity Activities, a hearing held Mar. 30, 2000.

http://waysandmeans.house.gov/socsec/106cong/ss-13wit.htm

B. 2000 Social Security Trustees Annual Report, a hearing held Apr. 6, 2000.

http://waysandmeans.house.gov/socsec/106cong/ss-14wit.htm
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19. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING HEARING: Now Hiring: The Rising Demand for Older Workers, a hearing held Apr. 3, 2000.

http://www.senate.gov/~aging/hr47.htm

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VII. Websites of Interest

20. UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA BERKELEY SOCIAL SCIENCE & GOVERNMENT DATA LIBRARY FTP: The UC-Berkeley Social Science and Government Data Library has recently made available via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) a large set of its collection of US Census Bureau data files holdings. While most of these files have age parameters, and might therefore be useful to researchers in aging, of particular interest is the subject summary tape file collection from the 1990 Census. Data is available from 19 of 22 subject summary tape files. The other three are directly accessible via a web extraction interface. Included among these are SSTF8--Housing of the Elderly and SSTF19--Older Population of the US. The data are accompanied by an extraction system ("Go") and technical documentation. Note that because of the magnitude of some of the files, users may want to use anonymous FTP rather than the web interface provided. For those who do this, make sure to download all the files, along with the documentation directory, to a folder or subdirectory already created on your machine. Note that if the UC-Berkeley subdirectory you are interested doesn't appear in a generic FTP listing, it should be available by using the "cd" command. Use the directory structure available via the web interface as your guide. Note also that if you are going to use ftp to transfer the files, transfer them binary and open a session to port 4021. Using generic ftp, this call should work:

ftp://goldrush.berkeley.edu:4021

In Windows ftp click on "advanced" to change the port number before you connect.

Subject Summary Tape Files:

ftp://goldrush.berkeley.edu:4021/pub/SSTF/index.html

UC Berkeley Social Science & Government Data Library "Files to ftp"

ftp://goldrush.berkeley.edu:4021/pub/index.html


Jack Solock
Data Librarian--Center for Demography and Ecology and Center for Demography of Health and Aging
4470 Social Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706
608-262-9827
jsolock@ssc.wisc.edu