Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #196--July 24, 2003


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:


I. Reports and articles:

1. CBO REPORT: "Cost Estimate for H.R. 1 and S.1, Medicare Prescription Drug Acts," (Congressional Budget Office, July 2003, .pdf format, 67p.).

Click on "hr1s1.pdf" to access the report.

2. DHHS OIG REPORT: "State Ombudsman Data: Nursing Home Complaints," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, OEI-09-02-00160, July 2003, .pdf format, 18p.)

From the Report Summary:

The OIG has issued a final report based on the analysis of nursing home complaint data reported in the National Ombudsman Reporting System (NORS). Nationally, from 1996 to 2000, the number of nursing home complaints reported into NORS increased approximately 28 percent. However, the types of complaints have not changed significantly. The highest frequency of nursing home complaints involve resident care. Local ombudsmen do not report all nursing home complaints into NORS, and they do not report complaints uniformly. This is, in part, due to laws and policies which are not within the Administration on Aging's (AoA) or the ombudsman's control. As a result, NORS data are not comprehensive and should not be used to compare states with respect to the volume and types of complaints. We believe the consistency of NORS data could be improved if AoA shares the results of this report with state ombudsmen and continues to clarify and refine the NORS process. In their comments on our draft report, AoA agreed that a lack of uniformity exists in states' reporting under NORS. AoA agreed with our recommendation to distribute the final report to the state ombudsmen and highlight the complaint trends. AoA also plans to conduct regional and state training on the use of complaint codes. Based on AoA's comments, we have changed the language in one of our findings to clarify the use of the word "report."

3. GAO PRESS RELEASE: "Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation's Single-Employer Insurance Program Added to 'High Risk' Program List," (US General Accounting Office, July 23, 2003). Note: "GAO has designated PBGCs single-employer pension insurance program as high risk, adding it to the list of agencies or major programs that need urgent attention and transformation to ensure that our national government functions in the most economical, efficient and effective manner possible. The single-employer insurance program insures the pension benefits of over 34 million participants in more than 30,000 private defined benefit plans. Agencies or programs receiving a high risk designation receive greater attention from GAO and are assessed in regular biennial reports."

To view the full report on "high risk" programs go to:

4. DHHS PRESS RELEASE: "Prescription Drug Spending Would Be Cut In Half for Most Seniors without Coverage," (US Department of Health and Human Services, July 23, 2003).

5. NCHS BRIEF: "Cholesterol Status Among Adults in the United States," (National Center for Health Statistics, July 2003, .pdf format, 2p.).

6. ADEAR NEWS RELEASE: "NIA and Alzheimer's Association Join Forces Promoting Major AD Genetics Initiative," (Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral Center, July 22, 2003).


A. "Bone Loss and Bone Size after Menopause," by Henrik G. Ahlborg, Olof Johnell, Charles H. Turner, Gunnar Rannevik, and Magnus K. Karlsson (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 349, No. 4, July 24, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 327-334).

B. "Effect of Verification Bias on Screening for Prostate Cancer by Measurement of Prostate-Specific Antigen," by Rinaa S. Punglia, Anthony V. D'Amico, William J. Catalona, Kimberly A. Roehl,and Karen M. Kuntz (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 349, No. 4, July 24, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 335-342).

C. "Nurses' Experiences with Hospice Patients Who Refuse Food and Fluids to Hasten Death," by Linda Ganzini, Elizabeth R. Goy, Lois L. Miller, Theresa A. Harvath, Ann Jackson, and Molly A. Delorit (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 349, No. 4, July 24, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 359-365).

8. _JAMA_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Acarbose Treatment and the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension in Patients With Impaired Glucose Tolerance: The STOP-NIDDM Trial," by Jean-Louis Chiasson, Robert G. Josse, Ramon Gomis, Markolf Hanefeld, Avraham Karasik, and Markku Laakso (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 290, No. 4, July 23, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 486-494).


A. "Effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on risk of Alzheimer's disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies," by Mahyar Etminan, Sudeep Gill, and Ali Samii (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 327, No. 7407, July 19, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 128-130).

B. "Prevalence of five common clinical abnormalities in very elderly people: population based cross sectional study," by A. J. M. de Craen, J. Gussekloo, Y. K. O. Teng, P. W. Macfarlane, and R. G. J. Westendorp (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 327, No. 7407, July 19, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 131-132).

C. "Longevity and carrying the C282Y mutation for haemochromatosis on the HFE gene: case control study of 492 French centenarians," by Hlne Coppin, M. Bensaid, S. Fruchon, N. Borot, H. Blanch, and M. P. Roth (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 327, No. 7407, July 19, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 132-133).

D. "Efficacy of knee tape in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee: blinded randomised controlled trial," by Rana S. Hinman, Kay M. Crossley, Jenny McConnell, and Kim L. Bennell (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 327, No. 7407, July 19, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 135-138).

10. _LANCET_ RESEARCH LETTER: Note: _Lancet_ requires free registration before providing content.

"Haemoglobin concentration and prognosis in new cases of heart failure," by Paul R Kalra, Timothy Collier, Martin R. Cowie, Kevin F. Fox, David A. Wood, Philip A. Poole-Wilson, Andrew J. S. Coats, and George C. Sutton (_Lancet_, Vol. 362, No. 9379, July 19, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 211).


A. "Chronic stress and age-related increases in the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6," by Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, Kristopher J. Preacher, Robert C. MacCallum, Cathie Atkinson, William B. Malarkey, and Ronald Glaser (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 100, No. 15, July 22, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 9090-9095).

B. "Tau filaments from human brain and from in vitro assembly of recombinant protein show cross- beta structure," by John Berriman, Louise C. Serpell, Keith A. Oberg, Anthony L. Fink, Michel Goedert, and R. Anthony Crowther (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 100, No. 15, July 22, 2003, .pdf and HTML format, p. 9034-9038).

12. CENTER FOR STUDYING HEALTH SYSTEM CHANGE ISSUE BRIEF: "Unequal Access: African-American Medicare Beneficiaries and the Prescription Drug Gap," by Marie C. Reed, J. Lee Hargraves, Alwyn Cassil (Center for Studying Health System Change Issue Brief 64, July 2003, HTML format).

13. _TIME_ ARTICLE: "Too Old to Drive?" by Jeffrey Kluger (_Time_, Vol. 162, No. 4, July 28, 2003).,9171,1101030728-465960,00.html

14. AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND AGEING PRESS RELEASE: "$750,000 Mentor Scheme For Aged Care Students," (July 23, 2003).

II. Working Papers:

15. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON CENTER FOR DEMOGRAPHY AND ECOLOGY: "Race and Independent Living Among Elderly Brazilians Since 1980," by Susan De Vos and Flavia Andrade (CDE Working Paper 2003-08, July 2003, .pdf format, 16p.).


This paper examines independent living among elderly Brazilians 65+ of different racial groups since 1980. Consistent with current theoretical notions about the living arrangements of elderly people, there was an overall increase in independent living among them. However, the increase mainly reflects change among White Brazilians who constitute a little over half the population whereas there was little change among Browns or Blacks. While a common explanation is that racial disparities in Brazil reflect structural factors, we found that controlling for urban/rural residence, region, education and income failed to explain away many differences. Could a force such as discrimination help explain differences? Further study needs to include information about non-coresident kin as well as household members.

16. NBER:

A. "The Effects of Changes in State SSI Supplements on Pre-Retirement Labor Supply," by David Neumark and Elizabeth T. Powers (NBER Working Paper No. w9851, July 2003, .pdf format, 25p.).


Because the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is means-tested, with both income limits and asset limits, those on the margin of eligibility for the elderly component of the program face incentives to reduce labor supply (or earnings) prior to becoming eligible. Our past research relying on cross-state variation in SSI benefits found evidence consistent with the predicted negative labor supply effects. However, a reliance on cross-state variation necessitated reliance on less-than-ideal control samples. In contrast, this paper uses CPS data covering a 22-year period, which permit identification of the effects of SSI from within-state, time-series variation in SSI benefits, using a better control sample. The evidence points consistently to negative effects of more generous SSI payments on the labor supply of likely SSI participants aged 62-64. The implied elasticities of labor supply with respect to benefits, for those with a high probability of SSI participation, are generally in the range of 0.2 to 0.3, looking at both employment and hours of work.

Click on "PDF" or submit your email address at the bottom of the page for full text.

B. "Is the Social Security Trust Fund Worth Anything?" by Ken Smetters (NBER Working Paper No. w9845, July 2003, .pdf format, 28p.).


With over $1 trillion in assets, the U.S. Social Security trust fund is the largest pension reserve in the world, and potentially a model for other developed countries facing future financing problems. But are those assets actually worth anything?' This question has generated a heated debate in the U.S. as policymakers debate options for Social Security reform, with the understanding that the characterization of the trust fund influences these decisions. Some observers claim that the trust fund is not worth anything while others argue that it is valuable. However, different reasons are given for the same position. This paper provides a unified conceptual framework for thinking rigorously about the assets accumulated in the trust fund. Multiple perspectives of the trust fund are identified and are summarized under two categories: (I) storage technology arguments and (II) ownership arguments. Storage technology arguments focuses on whether the trust fund surpluses actually reduce the level of debt held by the public or, alternatively, are used to hide' smaller on-budget surpluses. Ownership arguments focus on property rights, i.e., how trust fund credits should be allocated regardless of whether they reduce the debt held by the public. Only the storage technology argument can be empirically tested, as we do herein. We find that there is no empirical evidence supporting the claim that trust fund assets have reduced the level of debt held by the public. In fact, the evidence suggests just the opposite: trust fund assets have probably increased the level of debt held by the public. Moreover, the adoption of a unified budget' framework in the late 1960s appears to play a statistically significant role in this result. We show how this counterintuitive result can be explained by a simple split the dollar game' where competition between two political parties exploits the ignorance of voters who don't understand that the government's reported budget surplus actually includes the off-budget' Social Security surplus. To be sure based on a limited annual time series (1949 2002) and so the results should be interpreted with caution. But the empirical tests are, if anything, biased toward finding a reduction in the level of debt held by the public, and not the increase that we find.

Click on "PDF" or submit your email address at the bottom of the page for full text.

C. "Market Evidence of Misperceived Prices and Mistaken Mortality Risks," by Jay Bhattacharya, Dana Goldman, and Neeraj Sood (NBER Working Paper No. w9863, July 2003, .pdf format, 43p.).


This paper develops a market-based test of whether consumers make systematic mistakes in assessing their own mortality risks, and whether they are able to make 'correct' price comparisons between insurance and credit markets. This test relies on data from secondary life insurance markets, wherein consumers sell their life insurance policies to firms in return for an up front payment. We find evidence consistent with the hypotheses that: (1) unhealthy consumers are systematically too optimistic about their mortality risks and (2) consumers focus on nominal price information in deciding to sell life insurance, rather than on the real discounted expected price.

Click on "PDF" or submit your email address at the bottom of the page for full text.


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

17. American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 158, No. 2, July 15, 2003).

18. Journals of Gerontology (B): Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (Vol. 58B, No. 4, July 2003). Note: Full electronic text of these journals is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and these issues.

19. INGENTA Tables of Contents: INGENTA provides fee based document delivery services for selected journals.

A. Point your browser to:

B. click on "browse by publication"
C. Click the "fax/ariel" radio button, type the Journal Name in the "by words in the title" search box and click "search".
D. View the table of contents for the issue noted.

American Sociological Review (Vol. 68, No. 3, 2003). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

Journal of Health and Social Behavior (Vol. 44, No. 2, 2003). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

Population Studies (Vol. 57, No. 2, 2003).

Research on Aging (Vol. 25, No. 4, 2003). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library and the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Databases. Check your library for the availability of these databases and this issue.

20. AMEDEO MEDICAL LITERATURE: Note: "AMEDEO has been created to serve the needs of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, other members of the health professions, and patients and their friends. They can easily access timely, relevant information within their respective fields... All AMEDEO services are free of charge. This policy was made possible thanks to generous unrestricted educational grants provided by AMGEN, Berlex, Eisai, Glaxo Wellcome, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, and Schering AG."

A. Osteoporosis: Literature for the week of July 22, 2003:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of July 22, 2003:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of July 22, 2003:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of July 22, 2003:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


IV. Funding Opportunities:

21. NIH: "Research on Mind-Body Interactions and Health," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging in conjunction with several other agencies, RFA-OD-03-008, July 14, 2003).


V. Legislation Information Updates:

22. US SENATE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE HEARING TESTIMONY: "Nursing Home Quality Revisited: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly," a hearing held July 17, 2003.

To view testimony, go to:


A. "Forum: Keeping America's Seniors Moving: Examining Ways to Improve Senior Transportation," a hearing held July 21, 2003.

To view testimony go, to:

B. "Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Prescription Drugs: What Are The Consequences?" a hearing held July 22, 2003.

To view testimony go, to:

24. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON THE BUDGET HEARING TESTIMONY: "Economic Effects of Long-Term Federal Obligations," a hearing held July 24, 2003.

To view testimony go, to:

Scroll down to or "find in page" "Economic Effects" (without the quotes).

25. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE HEARING TRANSCRIPT: "The Pension Security Act: New Pension Protections to Safeguard the Retirement Savings of American Workers," a hearing held February 13, 2003 (US House Serial Publication No. 108-2, ASCII text and .pdf format, 146p.).

Scroll to or "find in page "108-02" (without the quotes).




Charlie Fiss
Information Manager
Center for Demography and Ecology and
Center for Demography of Health and Aging
Rm. 4470A Social Science Bldg
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
Phone: (608) 265-9240
Fax: (608) 262-8400