Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #219--January 8, 2004


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. Data:

1. SSA:

A. "OASDI Monthly Statistics, November 2003," (Social Security Administration, Office of Policy, December 2003, .pdf and HTML format).

B. "SSI Monthly Statistics, November 2003," (Social Security Administration, Office of Policy, December 2003, .pdf and HTML format).


II. Reports and articles:

2. CMMS ANNOUNCEMENT: "Changes to the National Coverage Determination Process," (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, December 30, 2003).

3. AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND AGEING PRESS RELEASE: "Government delivers support for aged care workers," (January 6, 2004).

4. _NATURE CELL BIOLOGY_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Polycomb CBX7 has a unifying role in cellular lifespan," by Jesús Gil, David Bernard, Dolores Martínez, and David Beach (_Nature Cell Biology_, Vol. 6, No. 1, January 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 67-72).


A. "National Use of Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy: Annual Trends and Response to Recent Evidence," by Adam L. Hersh, Marcia L. Stefanick, and Randall S. Stafford (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 291, No. 1, January 7, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 47-53).

B. "Enthusiasm for Cancer Screening in the United States," by Lisa M. Schwartz, Steven Woloshin, Floyd J. Fowler Jr., and H. Gilbert Welch (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 291, No. 1, January 7, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 71-78).

C. "Family Perspectives on End-of-Life Care at the Last Place of Care," by Joan M. Teno, Brian R. Clarridge, Virginia Casey, Lisa C. Welch, Terrie Wetle, Renee Shield, and Vincent Mor (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 291, No. 1, January 7, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 88-93).


A. "Arachidonate 5-Lipoxygenase Promoter Genotype, Dietary Arachidonic Acid, and Atherosclerosis," by James H. Dwyer, Hooman Allayee, Kathleen M. Dwyer, Jing Fan, Huiyun Wu, Rebecca Mar, Aldons J. Lusis, and Margarete Mehrabian (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 350, No. 1, January 1, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 29-37).

B. "Use of High-Cost Operative Procedures by Medicare Beneficiaries Enrolled in For-Profit and Not-for-Profit Health Plans," by Eric C. Schneider, M.D., Alan M. Zaslavsky, Ph.D., and Arnold M. Epstein (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 350, No. 2, January 8, 2004, .pdf HTML format, p. 143-150).

7. _BMJ_ PAPER: "Long term mortality after severe starvation during the siege of Leningrad: prospective cohort study," by Pär Sparén, Denny Vågerö, Dmitri B. Shestov, Svetlana Plavinskaja, Nina Parfenova, Valeri Hoptiar, Dominique Paturot, Maria Rosaria Galanti (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 328, No. 7430, January 3, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 11-14).

8. _NATURE MEDICINE_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Molecular determinants of resistance to antiandrogen therapy," by Charlie D. Chen, Derek S. Welsbie, Chris Tran, Sung Hee Baek, Randy Chen, Robert Vessella, Michael G. Rosenfeld and Charles L. Sawyers (_Nature Medicine_, Vol. 10, No. 1, January 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 33-39).

9. _MEDSCAPE_ ARTICLE: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles.

A. "The Effect of Group Exercise on Physical Functioning and Falls in Frail Older People Living in Retirement Villages: A Randomized, Controlled Trial," by Stephen R. Lord, Sally Castell, Joanne Corcoran, Julia Dayhew, Beth Matters, Amelia Shan, and Philippa Williams (_Journal of the American Geriatrics Society_, Vol. 51, No. 12, 2003, p. 1685-1692, via Medscape).

B. "Strategies for Continued Successful Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease: Switching Cholinesterase Inhibitors," by Serge Gauthier, Murat Emre, Martin R. Farlow, Roger Bullock, George T. Grossberg, and Steven G. Potkin (_Current Medical Research and Opinion_, Vol. 19, No. 8, 2003, p. 707-714, via Medscape).

C. "Assisted Dying and End-of-Life Symptom Management," by Deborah L. Volker (_Cancer Nursing_, Vol. 26, No. 5, 2003, p. 392-399, via Medscape).

D. "Insomnia in the Geriatric Patient," by Alon Y. Avidan (_Clinical Cornerstone_, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2003, p. 51-60, via Medscape).

E. "Open-Label Study of Mirtazapine Orally Disintegrating Tablets in Depressed Patients in the Nursing Home," by Steven P. Roose, J. Craig Nelson, Carl Salzman, Steven B. Hollander, and Heidi Rodrigues Mirtazapine in the Nursing Home Study Group (_Current Medical Research and Opinion_, Vol. 19, No. 8, 2003, p. 737-747, via Medscape).

F. "Metabolic, Inflammatory and Haemostatic Effects of a Low-Dose Continuous Combined HRT in Women With Diabetes: Potentially Safer With Respect to Vascular Risk?" by Joyce McKenzie, Alan J. Jaap, Stephen Gallacher, Anne Kelly, Lynne Crawford, Ian A. Greer, Ann Rumley, John R. Petrie, Gordon D. Lowe, Kenneth Paterson, and Naveed Sattar (_Clinical Endocrinology_, Vol. 59, No. 6, 2003, p. 682-689, via Medscape).

G. "How Much Should Medicare Pay for Drugs?" by Joseph P. Newhouse (_Health Affairs_, Vol. 23, No. 1, 2004, p. 89-102, via Medscape).

10. HRS BIBLIOGRAPHY UPDATE: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research Health and Retirement Study has recently updated its bibliography. The bibliography can be found at:

The new items are:

Under "Monographs:"

Benitez-Silva, H. and Dwyer, D.S., Expectations Formation of Older Married Couples and the Rational Expectations Hypothesis 2003. SUNY-Stony Brook. Stony Brook, N.Y.

Benitez-Silva, H., Dwyer, D.S., Gayle, W.-R., and Muench, T.J., Expectations in Micro Data: Rationality Revisited 2003. SUNY-Stony Brook. Stony Brook, N.Y.

Cahill, K.E. and Soto, M., How Do Cash Balance Plans Affect the Pension Landscape? 2003. Center for Retirement Research. Boston College. Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Issue Brief #14.

11. _DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH_ ARTICLE: Note: "_DR_ is a free, expedited, peer-reviewed journal of the population sciences published by the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research." "Educational differentials in male mortality in Russia and northern Europe A comparison of an epidemiological cohort from Moscow and St. Petersburg with the male populations of Helsinki and Oslo," by Vladimir Shkolnikov, Alexander D. Deev, Øystein Kravdal, and Tapani Valkonen (Vol. 10, No. 1, January 8, 2004, .pdf format, 26p.).

Background: Prior estimates of the Russian mortality by socio-demographic group revealed significant differentials around the censuses of 1979 and 1989, but these studies were based on different sources of information on education for the deceased and the population at risk, leading to a potential numerator-denominator bias. To eliminate this problem, and to compare with the corresponding differentials in Nordic countries, an epidemiological cohort from Moscow and St. Petersburg is used for estimation of mortality in this study, along with similar register-based data from Helsinki and Oslo.

Data and Methods: The Russian data include 7815 men from Moscow and St. Petersburg born in 1916-35 who participated in the Lipid Research Clinics (LRC) program, with a follow-up period from 1975 to 1997. Data with a similar structure, covering complete cohorts, were established for men born 1916-35 cohorts and living in Helsinki (1976-1995) or Oslo (1975-1991). Three educational categories were used: low (less than 10 years of schooling), middle (11 to 12 years) and high (13+ years).

Results: In the LRC cohort, mortality of men with high education is close to the city average for Helsinki and Oslo. Absolute inter-group differences are much greater in the Russian sample than in the two other populations. Differences in temporary life expectancies (40-74) between men with high and low education are 5.2, 3.5, and 3.2 years in the LRC cohort, Helsinki, and Oslo, respectively. Also relative differences are larger in the LRC cohort, although less markedly. Low/high education ratios of standardized death rates are 2.2, 2.0, and 1.9 in the three populations.

Educational mortality differences measured by a relative index of inequality are 3.1, 2.7, and 2.6 (using he all-Russia educational distribution in the calculation for the LRC cohort.) A similar pattern appears, of course, in Poisson regression models where it is controlled not only for age, but also calendar time. Consideration of causes of death shows that the larger relative difference between educational categories in the LRC cohort than in the Nordic capitals stems from particularly sharp gradients in mortality from cerebrovascular diseases and, more clearly, external causes.

Whereas all-cause mortality has increased over time for men in the LRC cohort with low or middle education, there are indications that those with high education have experienced a decline (i.e. differentials have increased). In contrast to this, the development in Oslo and Helsinki has been more similar for the different educational groups.

Implications: The educational gaps in mortality of the Russian population and its extreme levels in the low education group should be addressed by adequate health policies. Trends in inequalities in health and their determinants require careful monitoring and further analyses.

Click on "Enter".


A. "The Effects Of Cash And Counseling On Personal Care Services And Medicaid Costs In Arkansas," by Stacy Dale, Randall Brown, Barbara Phillips, Jennifer Schore, and Barbara Lepidus Carlson (_Health Affairs_, Web Exclusive, November 2003, .pdf and HTML format).

B. "Improving The Quality Of Medicaid Personal Assistance Through Consumer direction," by Leslie Foster, Randall Brown, Barbara Phillips, Jennifer Schore, and Barbara Lepidus Carlson (_Health Affairs_, Web Exclusive, March 2003, .pdf and HTML format).

13. ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION REPORT: "Falling Short: Too Few Adult Day Services Centers," (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, December 2003, RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, and PowerPoint format). "Families faced with the task of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or another chronic illness often have only two options: full-time care at home by family members, or placement in a nursing home. There is another option: adult day services, allowing the disabled loved one to remain at home and still receive appropriate care, while easing the burden on their families."

Link to the Webcast:

To access the report summaries and PowerPoint slides go to:

14. _EBRI_ ISSUE BRIEF SUMMARY: "Can America Afford Tomorrow's Retirees: Results From the EBRI-ERF Retirement Security Projection Model," (Employee Benefit Research Institute Issue Brief No. 263, November 2003).

15. AOA NEWSLETTER: "AoA e-News," (US Administration on Aging, January 2004, .pdf and Word format, 7p.).

16. NBER BULLETIN: "NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health," (National Bureau of Economic Research, Fall 2003, .pdf and HTML format, 4p.). "The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health summarizes selected Working Papers recently produced as part of the Bureau's program of research in aging and health economics.

Scroll to "Fall 2003".

17. US NEWS & WORLD REPORT ARTICLE: "Memories of Estrogen," by Bernadine Healy (US News & World Reports, December 29, 2003).

18. AARP _PRIME TIME RADIO_: The following AARP _Prime Time Radio_ show, covering Dec. 17, - Dec. 30, 2003, is now available (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required, audio transcripts run between 24 and 30 minutes).

Dec. 23, 2003: Enjoying Your Second Adolescence
Dec. 23, 2003: The Language You Cry In


III. Working Papers:

19. NBER: "Age Variations in Workers' Value of Statistical Life," by Joseph E. Aldy and W. Kip Viscusi (National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. w10199, January 2004, .pdf format, 51p.).


This paper develops a life-cycle model in which workers choose both consumption levels and job fatality risks, implying that the effect of age on the value of life is ambiguous. The empirical analysis of this relationship uses novel, age-dependent fatal and nonfatal risk variables. Workers' value of statistical life exhibits an inverted U-shaped relationship over workers' life cycle based on hedonic wage model estimates, age-specific hedonic wage estimates, and a minimum distance estimator. The value of statistical life for a 60-year old ranges from $2.5 million to $3.0 million -- less than half the value for 30 to 40-year olds.

Click on "PDF" or submit your email address for full text.


A. "The Demand for Guarantees in Social Security Personal Retirement Accounts," by Olivia S. Mitchell and Alexander Muermann (MRRC 2003-60, October 2003, .pdf format, 26p.).


This project evaluates how workers might invest their Personal Retirement Account (PRA) funds between safe and risky assets, depending on whether they are offered a rate of return guarantee on the risky asset. We focus on how asset allocation decisions might differ depending on participants' attitudes about risk and regret. If, for example, the return on the risky asset turns out to be very high when a worker retires, he might regret not having allocated a large enough portion of his contributions to the risky asset. On the contrary, if the stock market does poorly, the retiree might regret having invested at all in that asset. We show that anticipated disutility from regret can have a potent effect on investment choices in a PRA. If there is no guarantee, regret induces investors to move away from extreme decisions: that is, investors who take regret into account hold less stock if the risk premium is high, but more stocks if the risk premium is low. Further, a rate of return guarantee provided at no cost to the plan participant induces him to hold more stocks, with or without regret. We also show that, with or without regret, investors' willingness to pay for a guarantee rises with the level of the guaranteed return. This research could be informative regarding the potential profitability of the guaranteed pension business, which would help determine whether a government subsidy would be required to bring these products to market.

B. "The Impact of Financial Education on Savings and Asset Allocation," by Annamaria Lusardi (MRRC 2003-61, October 2003, .pdf format, 62p.).


The responsibility to save and contribute to a pension is increasingly left to the individual worker. Understanding how households save and prepare for retirement is of paramount importance. There is concern in the U.S. that many families have little or no wealth even close to retirement. In this project, I use data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative sample of the cohort born between 1931 to 1941, to examine the financial situation of older households and their retirement plans. I first show that many families have not thought about retirement even though they are a few years away from retirement and the event is imminent. This finding confirms the results of other surveys, such as the Retirement Confidence Survey, that show that a large majority of workers have not made any plans for retirement.

C. "Defined Benefit Pension Plan Liabilities and International Asset Allocation," by Tongxuan Yang (MRRC 2003-58, October 2003, .pdf format, 30p.).


Despite the integration of international capital markets and the relaxation of capital controls, U.S. defined benefit pension plans do not sufficiently diversify their assets across international holdings. In this paper, we explore whether incorporating liabilities in the asset allocation decision can help explain pension plans' home bias. We find that incorporating pension liabilities proves not to explain pension plan home bias in the case when returns are nominal. Furthermore, when we focus on real returns, incorporating pension plan liabilities makes the home bias puzzle worse. The fact remains that U.S. defined benefit pension plans could benefit substantially from more international investment.

D. "Expectation Formation of Older Married Couples and the Rational Expectations Hypothesis," by Hugo Benítez-Silva and Debra S. Dwyer (MRRC 2003-58, October 2003, .pdf format, 42p.).


This paper tests the Rational Expectations (RE) hypothesis regarding retirement expectations of married older American couples, controlling for sample selection and reporting biases. In prior research we found that individual retirement expectation formation was consistent with the Rational Expectation hypothesis, but in that work spousal considerations were not analyzed. In this research we take advantage of panel data on expectations to test the RE hypothesis among married individuals as well as joint expectations among couples. We find that regardless of whether we assume that married individuals form their own expectations taking spouse's information as exogenous, or the reports of the couple are the result of a joint expectation formation process, their expectations are consistent with the RE hypothesis. Our results support a wide variety of models in economics that assume rational behavior for married couples.

21. CENTER FOR ECONOMIC STUDIES/IFO INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH (CESIFO) [UNIVERSITY OF MUNICH]: "Harmonisation of Old-Age Security Within the European Union," by Silke Uehelmesser (WP-1108, December 2003, .pdf format, 23p.)


Not sufficiently harmonised national pension systems within the European Union distort the allocation of labour and endanger redistributive activities. This paper identifies the most decentralised level of harmonisation which guarantees efficient allocation and enables redistribution. For this, we build on theoretical results to evaluate the realised distribution of the legal power between the European Union and the Member States and the resulting level of harmonisation. We find that harmonisation is sub-optimally low. Binding rules guaranteed by the European Union are needed which means that the Member States have to concede more fundamental responsibilities to the European Union.

Click on "Publications", then "Working Papers", then click on "2003" under "Browse Working Paper List". Then scroll to or "find in page" "1108".

22. MAASTRICHT ECONOMIC RESEARCH SCHOOL ON TECHONOLOGY AND ORGANISATION (METEOR) [UNIVERSITEIT MAASTRICHT]: "Paying for Pensions and Other Public Expenditures: Overtaxing our Children?" by Alexander C. Sebald and Chris de Neubourg (Research Memorandum 03-52, December 2003, .pdf format, 12p.).


This paper argues that although current public pension schemes may shift the major financial burden to future generations, private and public transfers of wealth across generations offset this development. As a result the financing of existing social security and pension arrangements seems to be less problematic than commonly assumed. Policy models that assume there is no linkage between generations except through the state bear little resemblance to empirical reality. An accounting system is therefore needed which highlights the allocation of retirement costs among working and retired population as well as future generations, and includes the public as well as private ledger. Many of the aformentioned features are included in the well-established practice of 'Generational Accounting'. This paper, however, will integrate private as well as public intergenerational transfers of wealth so as to account not only for the burden, which current generations leave, but also the wealth, which is passed on to future generations.


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

23. Age and Aging (Vol. 33, No. 1, January 2004).

24. American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 159, No. 1, January 1, 2004).

25. Experimental Aging Research (Vol. 30, No. 1, January 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Database. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

26. The Geronotologist (Vol. 43, No. 6, December 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.

27. Journal of Aging Studies (Vol. 18, No. 1, Feb. 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Database. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

Follow link to "Tables of Contents and Abstracts".

28. 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.

Demography (Vol. 40, No. 4, 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.

Medical Care (Vol. 41, No. 12, 2003).

29. 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 January 6, 2004:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of January 6, 2004:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of January 6, 2004:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of January 6, 2004:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Conferences:

30. NCHS: "2004 NCHS Data Users Conference," July 12-14, 2004 (Atlanta, GA). "Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and to discuss NCHS's data collection, analysis, and dissemination activities through a series of lectures, workshops, and exhibits."

31. ASA-NCOA: "2004 Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging and The National Council on the Aging: Taking the Journey Together," to be held April 14-17, 2004 (San Francisco, CA).

32. ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION JAPAN: "The 20th International Conference of the Alzheimer's Disease International Dementia Care in an Aging Society," to be held October 15-17, 2004 (Kyoto, Japan). The theme of the conference is "Dementia Care in an Aging Society."

33. PENN STATE RURAL WOMEN'S HEALTH INITIATIVE: "2004 National Rural Women's Health Conference: Improving the Health of Women: Meeting the Challenges of the Rural Setting," to be held October 28-30, 2004 (Hershey, PA). For more information about the conference go to:





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