Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #223--February 5, 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. ICPSR: The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan has recently released the following datasets, which may be of interest to aging researchers. Note: Some ICPSR studies are available only to ICPSR member institutions. To find out whether your organization is a member, and whether or not it supports ICPSR Direct downloading, see:

Multiple Cause of Death, 1968-1973 (#3905)

Multiple Cause of Death, 1974-1978 (#3906)


A. "MEPS HC-059G: 2001 Office-Based Medical Provider Visits File," (US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, January 2004, is in ASCII and SAS transport format (.zip or .exe format), with documentation (.pdf and HTML format), and SAS and SPSS programming statements). Note: "The Office-Based Provider Public Use Data File contains characteristics associated with the office-based visit, such as, date of the visit, time spent with the provider, types of treatment and services received, types of medicine prescribed, condition codes, expenditures, source of payment associated with the visit, and imputed expenditure variables."

B. "MEPS HC-059F: 2001 Outpatient Visits File," (US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, January 2004, is in ASCII and SAS transport format (.zip or .exe format), with documentation (.pdf and HTML format), and SAS and SPSS programming statements). Note: "The Outpatient Visits Public Use Data File contains characteristics associated with the outpatient visit and imputed expenditure data such as the date of the visit, whether or not a doctor was seen, type of care received, type of services provided, expenditures, sources of payment, and imputed sources of payment."

C. "MEPS HC-059E: 2001 Emergency Room Visits File," (US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, January 2004, is in ASCII and SAS transport format (.zip or .exe format), with documentation (.pdf and HTML format), and SAS and SPSS programming statements). Note: " The Emergency Room Visits Public Use Data File contains characteristics associated with the emergency room visit, such as, the date of the visit, types of care and services received, types of medicine prescribed during the visit, condition codes, expenditures, sources of payment associated with the visit, and imputed expenditure variables."

3. IPUMS UPDATE: The Integrated Public Use Microdata Series at the University of Minnesota has announced changes to the 2000 1 percent and 5 percent samples. For details see the Jan. 30, 2004 item at:


II. Reports and articles:


A. "Budget of the United States Government: 2005," (Congressional Budget Office, February 2004, HTML, .pdf, Microsoft Excel format).

B. "Letter to the Honorable Jim Nussle regarding a comparison of CBO and Administration estimates of the effect of H.R. 1 on direct spending," (Congressional Budget Office, February 2004, HTML, .pdf, WordPerfect format).

4. NCHS CHARTBOOK: "Health Care in America: Trends in Utilization," by A.B. Bernstein, E. Hing, A.J. Moss, K.F. Allen, A.B. Siller, and R.B. Tiggle (National Center for Health Statistics, January 2004, .pdf format, 152p.).

Click on "View/download PDF" for full text.

5. BLS ARTICLE: "Long-term Care Insurance Gains Prominence," by Jordan Pfuntner and Elizabeth Dietz (_Compensation and Working Conditions_, January 28, 2004).

6. AOA ANNOUNCEMENT: "FY 2005 Budget Request," (Administration on Aging, February 2004, .pdf and HTML format).

7. UK OFFICE OF NATIONAL STATISTICS ARTICLE: "Ageing and Gender: Diversity and Change," by Sara Arber and Jay Ginn (UK Office of National Statistics, Social Trends 34, .pdf format, p. 1-14).

Press Release:

8. UK DEPARTMENT OF WORK AND PENSIONS REPORT: "Simplicity, security and choice: Informed choices for working and saving," (UK Department of Work and Pensions, February 2004, .pdf format, 36p.).

Annex 3:

Press Release:

9. AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND AGEING PRESS RELEASE: "More aged care places for Queensland," (February 5, 2004).

10. CMMS DECISION MEMO: "Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy for Brain Tumors (CAG-00141N)," (US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Jan. 29, 2004).

Click on "Decision Memo" at the bottom of the page for full text.

11. _PNAS_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Methionine sulfoxide reductase A protects neuronal cells against brief hypoxia/reoxygenation," by Olena Yermolaieva, Rong Xu, Carrie Schinstock, Nathan Brot, Herbert Weissbach, Stefan H. Heinemann, and Toshinori Hoshi (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 101, No. 5, February 3, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1159-1164).

12. _LANCET_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: Note: _Lancet_ requires free registration
before providing access to content.

A. "Rehabilitation therapy services for stroke patients living at home: systematic review of randomised trials," by Outpatient Service Trailists (_Lancet_, Vol. 363, No. 9406, January 31, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 352-356).

B. "Imaging cerebral atrophy: normal ageing to Alzheimer's disease," by Nick C. Fox and Jonathan M. Schott (_Lancet_, Vol. 363, No. 9406, January 31, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 392-394).

13. _JAMA_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Resident-to-Resident Violent Incidents in Nursing Homes," by Tomoko Shinoda-Tagawa, Ralph Leonard, Jean Pontikas, John E. McDonough, Donna Allen, and Paul I. Dreyer (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 291, No. 5, February 4, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 591-598).

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

A. "Androgen Receptor Outwits Prostate Cancer Drugs," by John T. Isaacs and William B. Isaacs (_Nature Medicine_, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2004, p. 26-27, via Medscape).

B. "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, 2004, p. 33-39, via Medscape).

15. CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH AT BOSTON COLLEGE ISSUE BRIEF: "Basic Investment Theory Explained," by Kevin E. Cahill and Sheila Campbell (CRR JTF #9, January 2004, .pdf format, 4p.).


The S&P 500 Index dropped more than 40 percent between March 2000 and March 2003, and almost anyone who entrusted their retirement savings to the bull market of the late 1990s saw their portfolio shrink, often in dramatic fashion. Now that the stock market is regaining some of its lost value, should people return to their bull market strategies for double-digit annual returns on their retirement savings?

In spite of the large fluctuations in the market, most investment advisors still offer the same guidance: consider both risk and return, determine ones tolerance for risk and reassess this tolerance periodically, and diversify the share of funds allocated to risky investments. These rules of thumb are effective because they are based on widely-accepted results of economic and financial theory. In fact, theory emphasizes that the typical investor should focus primarily on one decision: how much to invest in risky assets. This brief explains why.

16. CENTER FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF HEALTH REPORT: "Report on Bereavement and Grief Research," by Janice L. Genevro (Center for the Advancement of Health, November 2003, .pdf format, 182p.).

Press Release:

For more information about the Center:


A. "Pensions, Health Insurance, and Tax Incentives," by Leonard E. Burman, Richard W. Johnson, and Deborah Kobes (Urban Institute Discussion Paper 14, January 2004, .pdf format, 61p.).

Follow link to "Portable Document Format (PDF)".

B. "Balances in Defined Contribution Plans and IRAs," by Peter Orszag (February 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 1p.).

Over the past three decades, the private pension system has shifted toward defined contribution (DC) plans. Despite the shift, most households have little in DC and IRA assets. This report includes a table showing the value of these assets for households headed by someone approaching retirement age. In 2001, the median value of those assets was only $10,400. The data also show that the likelihood of having a DC account or IRA increases markedly as income increases.

C. "Key Thoughts on RSAs and LSAs," by Leonard E. Burman, William G. Gale, and Peter Orszag (February 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 4p.).

In his FY2005 budget, released Monday, President Bush proposes a set of new tax-preferred saving accounts (which were first presented in last year's budget). Under the Administration's proposal, two new types of individual accounts called Lifetime Saving Accounts (LSAs) and Retirement Saving Accounts (RSAs) would be created. This note provides information to help assess these proposals.

18. _US NEWS & WORLD REPORTS_ ARTICLE: "A Political Prescription," by Terence Samuel (US News & World Reports, February 9, 2004).

19. _TIME_ ARTICLE: "Brawn and Brain," by Sanjay Gupta (_Time_, Vol. 163, No. 6, February 9, 2004).,9171,1101040209-586216,00.html

20. _WIRED_ ARTICLE: "John Sperling Wants You to Live Forever," by Brian Alexander (_Wired_, February 2004).


III. Working Papers:

21. NBER:

A. "Are Americans Saving 'Optimally' for Retirement?" by John Karl Scholz, Ananth Seshadri, and Surachai Khitatrakun (National Bureau of Economic Research w10260, January 2004, .pdf format, 57p.).


This paper examines the degree to which Americans are saving optimally for retirement. Our standard for assessing optimality comes from a life-cycle model that incorporates uncertain lifetimes, uninsurable earnings and medical expenses, progressive taxation, government transfers, and pension and social security benefit functions derived from rich household data. We solve every households decision problem from death to starting age and then use the decision rules in conjunction with earnings histories to make predictions about wealth in 1992. Ours is the first study to compare, household by household, wealth predictions that arise from a life-cycle model that incorporates earnings histories for a nationally representative sample. The results, based on data from the Health and Retirement Study, are striking we find that the model is capable of accounting for more than 80 percent of the 1992 cross-sectional variation in wealth. Fewer than 20 percent of households have less wealth than their optimal targets, and the wealth deficit of those who are undersaving is generally small.

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

B. "Is There a Retirement-Consumption Puzzle? Evidence Using Subjective Retirement Expectations," by Steven Haider and Melvin Stephens Jr. (NBER Working Paper No. w10257, February 2004, .pdf format, 52p.).


Previous research finds a systematic decrease in consumption at retirement, a finding that is inconsistent with the Life-Cycle/Permanent Income Hypothesis if retirement is an expected event. In this paper, we use workers' subjective beliefs about their retirement dates as an instrument for retirement. After demonstrating that subjective retirement expectations are strong predictors of subsequent retirement decisions, we still find a retirement consumption decline for workers who retire when expected. However, our estimates of this consumption fall are about a third less than those found when we instead rely on the instrumental variables strategy used in prior studies. Finally, we examine a number of hypotheses that have been put forward to explain the retirement consumption decline. We find little empirical support for these explanations in our data.

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

C. "Social Security and Unsecured Debt," by Erik Hurst and Paul Willen (NBER Working Paper No. w10282, February 2004, .pdf format, 49p.).


Most young households simultaneously hold both unsecured debt on which they pay an average of 10 percent interest and social security wealth on which they earn less than 2 percent. We document this fact using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We then consider a life-cycle model with optimizing and rule-of-thumb' households and explore ways to reduce this inefficiency. We show that both allowing households to use social security wealth to pay off debt and exempting young households from social security contributions (but in both cases requiring higher contributions later in life) leads to increases in welfare for both types of households and significant increases in consumption and saving, and reductions in debt, for optimizing households.

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

22. WHARTON SCHOOL [UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA] PENSION RESEARCH COUNCIL: "Betting on Death and Capitial Markets in Retirement: A Shortfall Risk Analysis of Life Annuities versus Phased Withdrawal Plans," by Ivica Dus, Raimond Maurer, and Olivia S. Mitchell (WP-2004-1, 2004, .pdf format, 48p.).

How might retirees consider deploying the retirement assets accumulated in a defined contribution pension plan? One possibility would be to purchase an immediate annuity. Another approach, called the phased withdrawal strategy in the literature, would have the retiree invest his funds and then withdraw some portion of the account annually. Using this second tactic, the withdrawal rate might be determined according to a fixed benefit level payable until the retiree dies or the funds run out, or it could be set using a variable formula, where the retiree withdraws funds according to a rule linked to life expectancy. Using a range of data consistent with the German experience, we evaluate several alternative designs for phased withdrawal strategies, allowing for endogenous asset allocation patterns, and also allowing the worker to make decisions both about when to retire and when to switch to an annuity. We show that one particular phased withdrawal rule is appealing since it offers relatively low expected shortfall risk, good expected payouts for the retiree during his life, and some bequest potential for the heirs. We also find that unisex mortality tables if used for annuity pricing can make women's expected shortfalls higher, expected benefits higher, and bequests lower under a phased withdrawal program. Finally, we show that delayed annuitization can be appealing since it provides higher expected benefits with lower expected shortfalls, at the cost of somewhat lower anticipated bequests.


A. "The case for negative senescence," by James W. Vaupel, Annette Baudisch, Martin Dolling, Deborah A. Roach, and Jutta Gampe (WP-2004-002, January 2004, .pdf format, 27p.).


Negative senescence is characterized by a decline in mortality with age after reproductive maturity, generally accompanied by an increase in fecundity. Hamilton (1966) ruled out negative senescence: we adumbrate the deficiencies of his model. We review empirical studies of various plants and some kinds of animals that may experience negative senescence and conclude that negative senescence may be widespread, especially in indeterminate-growth species for which size and fertility increase with age. We develop optimization models of life-history strategies that demonstrate that negative senescence is theoretically possible. More generally, our models contribute to understanding of the evolutionary and demographic forces that mold the age trajectories of mortality, fertility and growth.

B. "Menopause and post-generative longevity: Testing the 'stopping-early' and 'grandmother' hypotheses," by Sara Grainger and Jan Beise (WP-2004-003, January 2004, .pdf format, 43p.).


The existence of menopause and post-generative longevity as part of the human females life history is somewhat puzzling from an evolutionary perspective. The 'stopping-early hypothesis' states that, because human infants are so altricial, it is beneficial for women to cease reproduction at the age at which the risk of maternal death reaches a certain threshold.

In contrast, 'the grandmother hypothesis' states that survival long past the age of menopause has been selected for because grandmothers significantly improve grandoffspring survival probabilities. In this study, 'the stopping-early hypothesis' and 'the grandmother hypothesis' are tested for both the evolution of menopause and the evolution of post-generative longevity. This is done by simulating hypothetical life histories of women with and without menopause, with and without post-generative longevity, and with and without positive grandmother effects on infant survival.

Results indicate that neither the benefits accrued from maternal care of late born offspring, nor grandmaternal facilitation of infant survival, are adequate to account for the evolution of menopause. With respect to the existence of post-generative longevity, rather than menopause, however, some level of support is found for both the stopping early and the grandmother hypothesis. The effects of removing post-generative grandmaternal care on long-term reproductive success are shown to be far greater than the effects of removing post-generative maternal care.

C. "The helping and the helpful grandmother - The role of maternal and paternal grandmothers in child mortality in the 17th and 18th century population of French Settlers in Quebec, Canada," by Jan Beise (WP-2004-004, January 2004, .pdf format, 29p.).

24. CENTRE FOR INTER-UNIVERSITY RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS ON ORGANIZATIONS [CIRANO]: "The Living Arrangement Dynamics of Sick, Elderly Individuals," by Benoit Dostie and Pierre Thomas Leger (CIRANO Working Paper 2004-03, January 2004, .pdf format, 29p.).


In this paper, we address the dynamics associated with living-arrangement decisions of sick, elderly individuals. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and its Parental Health Supplement, we construct the complete living-arrangement histories of elderly individuals in need of care. We use a simultaneous random-effects competing-risks model to analyze the impact of demographic characteristics, health and wealth on the living-arrangement decisions of sick elderly individuals while taking into account state and duration dependence as well as unobserved heterogeneity. We find that state and duration dependence serve as important predictors for the living arrangement choices of sick elderly individuals.

25. DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS AT UNIVERSITY OF SIENA: "The controversy over the US Social Security Surplus. A non-conventional view," by Sergio Cesaratto (Quaderni n.418, January 2004, .pdf format, 15p.).


This paper examines the US controversy over the Social Security Trust Fund (SS-TF). It is shown that, according to neoclassical theory, the SS-TF has a substantial meaning as a safety belt in view of the alleged pending problems of, but, according to more Keynesian principles, it does not play this function. On the opposite, the establishment of a SS-TF will have deflationary effects on the economy.

26. MCMASTER UNIVERSITY [Toronto] SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS OF AN AGING POPULATION (SEDAP): "Stasis Amidst Change: Canadian Pension Reform in an Age of Retrenchments," by Daniel Bland and John Myles (SEDAP Working Paper No. 111, November 2003, .pdf format, 46p.).


Faced with aging populations and especially heightened fiscal constraints, large scale pension reforms were implemented in many affluent democracies during the 1990s. Canadian reforms, by contrast, were quite modest and old age security benefits emerged largely unscathed. Drawing on the comparative experience of other OECD nations, we highlight four characteristics of the Canadian pension system and the policy environment to account for this relative stability:(1) the comparatively modest scale of Canadian public sector pension expenditures; (2) relatively greater reliance on general revenue as opposed to payroll taxes to finance these expenditures; (3) the availability of other expenditure targets, notably health care, post-secondary education and social assistance, that could be cut with less political backlash; and (4) a pension design that allocates the public sector share disproportionately to the bottom end of the income distribution, precluding the emergence of the oppositional politics that fueled public debate elsewhere.


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

27. American Journal of Public Health (Vol. 94, No. 2, February 1, 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library and the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Database. Check your library for the availability of these databases and this issue.

28. Journal of Health Economics (Vol. 23, No. 1, January 2004). Note: Full-text may be available at the web site. Check with you library.

29. 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.

International Psychogeriatrics (Vol. 15, No. 3, 2003).

Journal of Aging and Physical Activity (Vol. 12, No. 1, 2004).

Research on Aging (Vol. 26, No. 2, March 2004). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the ProQuest Research Library and the EBSCO Host Academic Search Elite Database. Check your library for the availability of these databases and this issue.


30. 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 February 3, 2004:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of February 3, 2004:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of February 3, 2004:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of February 3, 2004:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Books:


A. "Aged by Culture," by Margaret Morganroth Gullette (University of Chicago Press, 2004, 280p.).

B. "Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World," edited by Jonathan Gruber and David A. Wise (University of Chicago Press, 2004, 752p.).


VI. Funding Opportunities:

32. DHHS: "Geriatric Academic Career Awards," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, HRSA-04-024, January 29, 2004).

33. NIH:

A. "NIH Director's Pioneer Award" (US National Institutes of Health). "In a move to stimulate high-risk, high-impact medical research, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is inviting nominations for the NIH Directors Pioneer Award Program, part of a series of far-reaching initiatives known collectively as the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research. To inaugurate this new program, the NIH will provide up to $500,000 per year for five years to a highly select group of individuals who have the potential to make extraordinary contributions to medical research....The Directors Pioneer Award will encourage investigators in the biomedical, behavioral and social sciences, physical and chemical sciences, computer sciences, mathematics and engineering to take on creative, unexplored avenues of research related to the improvement of human health. While the research that will be funded may carry uncertain outcomes, the award will provide investigators with the resources and flexibility needed to pursue truly groundbreaking discoveries." For more information see:

B. "Alzheimer's Disease Research Centers," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, RFA-AG-04-011, January 30, 2004).

C. "Alzheimer's Disease Core Centers," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, RFA-AG-04-012, January 30, 2004).

D. "NIA Intervention Testing Program Solicits Proposals for Compounds to Test for Anti-Aging Activity in Mice," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, NOT-AG-04-003, January 28, 2004).


VII. Conferences:

34. LUXEMBOURG INCOME STUDY WORKSHOP: "2004 Luxembourg Income Study Summer Workshop," to be held Jun. 27 - Jul. 03, 2004 in Luxembourg.

Application (.pdf or Microsoft Word format):

Announcement (.pdf format, 1p.).

35. CENTRE FOR EUROPEAN POLICY STUDIES/AARP GLOBAL AGING PROGRAM: "A Balancing Act: Achieving Adequacy and Sustainability in Retirement Income Reform," to be held March 4, 2004. "Examining pension and employment reform in Europe and the United States, leading policymakers, business and labor decision makers, and pension experts debate whether and under what conditions it is possible to achieve both adequate and sustainable retirement security, and assess the political climate for reform." The deadline for registration is February 25, 2004.


VIII. Legislation Information Updates:

36. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON SOCIAL SECURITY HEARING TESTIMONY: "Field Hearing on Social Securitys Future," a hearing held January 26, 2004.

Hearing Testimony:

37. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM HEARING PUBLICATION: "A Medicare Prescription Drug Safety Net: Creating a Targeted Benefit for Low-Income Seniors," a hearing held Sept. 24, 2003 (Serial No. 108-86, .pdf and ASCII text format, 82p.).

Scroll to or "find in page" "108-86" (without the quotes).

38. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING HEARING PUBLICATION: "Ensuring the Integrity of Social Security Programs: Protecting Seniors from Representative Payee Fraud," a hearing held September 9, 2003 (S. Hrg. 108-240, .pdf and ASCII format, 53p.).

Scroll to or "find in page" "108-240" (without the quotes).


IX. Websites of Interest:

39. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN ONLINE PROGRAM: The University of Wisconsin Collaborative Online Gerontology Certificate program (OGC). "We are currently offering two certificate programs: undergraduate credit and non-credit (CEU); both are created with the unique needs of working adult learners in mind. They are designed to meet the continuing education needs of anyone who is currently working with older adults, as well as anyone who would like to do so. We encourage anyone with a personal or professional interest in the field of aginghealth care professionals, human service providers, primary caregivers, educators and many others to participate."




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