Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #226--February 26, 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. Reports and articles:

1. CMS NEWS RELEASE: "CMS Announces Significant Increase in Numbers of Hospitals Voluntarily Reporting Hospital Quality Data" (Feb. 20, 2004).


A. "FDA Rule Requires Bar Codes on Drugs and Blood to Help Reduce Errors" (US Food and Drug Administration, Feb. 25, 2004, HTML and .pdf format)."As part of a wide-ranging effort to improve patient safety, on Feb. 25, 2004, FDA finalized a rule requiring bar codes on the labels of thousands of human drugs and biological products. The measure aims to protect patients from preventable medication errors by helping ensure that health professionals give patients the right drugs at the appropriate dosages."

B. "... Bush to Nominate FDA Commissioner McClellan to Head Medicare Agency" (US White House via US Food and Drug Administration, Feb. 20, 2004).

3. DHHS NEWS RELEASE: "HHS Announces Task Force on Drug Importation" (US Department of Health and Human Services, Feb. 26, 2004).

4. KFF SURVEY FINDINGS: "Selected Survey Findings on the Medicare Prescription Drug Law" (Kaiser Family Foundation, February 2004, Survey Toplines, .pdf format, 12p.; Chartpack, .pdf format, 12p.). "Seniors are confused about the Medicare prescription drug law. Selected findings from the January/February 2004 Kaiser Health Poll Report survey show that while about two-thirds of seniors report following the debate closely, just 15% say they understand the new prescription drug law very well and seven in 10 don't know that it passed and was signed into law."


A. "Australia's Demographic Challenges," (The Treasury [Australia], February 2004, .pdf format, 28p.).

B. "A More Flexible and Adaptable Retirement Income System," (The Treasury [Australia], February 2004, .pdf format, 15p.).

6. _BMJ_ News Roundup: "One in 12 older people are prescribed the wrong drug," by Janice Hopkins Tanne (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 328, no. 7437, p. 424).

7. MEDSCAPE ARTICLES: Note: Medscape requires free registration before providing articles:

A. "Evidence-Based Use of Colony-Stimulating Factors in Elderly Cancer Patients," by Gary H. Lyman, Nicole Kuderer, Olayemi Agboola, and Lodovico Balducci (_Cancer Control: Journal of the Moffitt Cancer Center_, Vol. 10, No. 6, 2003, p. 487-499 via Medscape).

B. "Projecting Future Drug Expenditures--2004," by James M. Hoffman, Nilay D. Shah, Lee C. Vermeulen, Robert J. Hunkler, and Karrie M. Hontz (_American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy_, Vol. 61, No. 2, 2004, p. 145-158 via Medscape).

C. "The Continuing Challenge of Assisted Death," by Mary Ersek (_Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing_, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2004, p. 46-59 via Medscape).

8. AARP PRIME TIME RADIO: The following AARP _Prime Time Radio_ shows, for Feb 10. - Feb. 17, 2004, are now available (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required, audio transcripts run between 24 and 30 minutes).

Feb. 17, 2004: Over Fifty? Hows It Going?


II. Working Papers:

9. NBER: "Rearranging the Family? Income Support and Elderly Living Arrangements in a Low Income Country," by Kristin Mammen and Douglas L. Miller (w10306, February 2004, .pdf format, 36p.).


Despite the importance of living arrangements for well-being and production, the effect of changes in household income on living arrangements is not well understood. This study overcomes the identification problems that have limited the study of the link between income and living arrangements by exploiting a discontinuity in the benefit formula for the social pension in South Africa. In contrast to the findings of the existing literature from wealthier populations, we find no evidence that pension income is used to maintain the independence of black elders in South Africa. Rather, potential beneficiaries alter their household structure. Prime working age women depart, and we observe an increase in children under 5 and young women of child-bearing age. These shifts in co-residence patterns are consistent with a setting where prime age women have comparative advantage in work away from extended family relative to younger women. The additional income from old age support may induce a change in living arrangements to exploit this advantage.

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

10. BOSTON COLLEGE CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH: "Supply-Side Consequences of Social Security Reform: Impacts on Saving and Employment," by Barry Bosworth and Gary Burtless (WP 2004-01, January 2004, .pdf format, 59p.).


Pension reform can potentially increase saving and improve incentives for labor force participation later in life. We investigate whether these effects are likely to occur and the potential size of the effects on private and total saving and on employment past age 55. Our survey of existing evidence and new empirical analysis focus on three issues: The possible reduction in other government saving if more assets are accumulated in a public retirement program; the reduction in non-pension private saving if assets are accumulated in new private retirement accounts; and the increase in old-age labor supply that could occur if Social Security benefits are reduced. We find mixed evidence that faster accumulation of assets in public or private retirement funds would produce higher public and private saving. Using the most optimistic estimates of the public saving response to faster accumulation in public retirement funds, we find advance funding will cause a big increase in aggregate saving and future national income. However, international evidence suggests governments are likely to offset a large percentage of public pension fund accumulation by reducing saving in other government accounts. The evidence on private saving suggests that savers tend to offset faster accumulation of assets in pension accounts with lower saving in non-pension accounts. Most empirical estimates of the labor supply response to Social Security reductions imply the response will be small. Even using unrealistically high estimates of responsiveness, we find that a one-third cut in benefits will add less than 3 percent to the future labor force.


A. "The Association Between Self-Rated Vision and Hearing and Functional Status in Middle Age," by Paul P. Lee, James P. Smith, and Raynard S. Kingston (2004, .pdf, PostScript, and Microsoft Word format, 21p.).


Abstract: Purpose: To describe the relationship between self- reported visual and hearing impairment and an index of global functional status among seniors age 70 years or older. Methods: A total of 7,320 United States community-dwelling persons aged 70 years or older participating in the 1993 Assets and Health Dynamics of the Oldest Old Survey (AHEAD) completed detailed questionnaires about their demographic, socioeconomic, and health status. Multivariate analyses of functional status (using a global index of functional status based on self-reported limitations in 11 activities) were conducted, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic status and common medical conditions, as well as independently for hearing and vision. Results: Of the respondents, 27% rated their vision as fair or poor, whereas 25% rated their hearing as fair or poor. Controlling for demographic factors, socioeconomic status, medical conditions, and general health status, limitations in both vision and hearing correlated independently with worsened functional status. Controlling for income, wealth, and education did not greatly reduce the strength of the association between visual and hearing impairment and function. Conclusions: Visual and hearing impairment appear to have a significant relationship to overall functioning in the oldest old, regardless of income or wealth. By confirming these findings across income and household wealth groups, adjusted for medical conditions and general health status, in a nationally representative population of Americans age 70 years or older, this study provides a powerful added impetus to efforts for improving vision and hearing for all other Americans, including the oldest old.

B. "Do Children Act As Old Age Security in Rural India? Evidence from an Analysis of Elderly Living Arrangements," by Sarmistha Pal (January 2004, .pdf format, 29p.).


In the absence of any extra familial welfare system, most elderly persons in India tend to live with their children. Little is however known about their living conditions. The present paper attempts to bridge this gap of the literature and examines the living arrangements of elderly men and women in rural India with a view to derive implications of old age security. An analysis of the recent National Sample Survey data suggests that a majority of elderly men and women with children tend to coreside with children and enjoy a higher per capita household expenditure compared to non- coresident elderly persons. While ownership of property and financial assets among the elderly tend to enhance the likelihood of coresidence, physical immobility of the elderly tend to reduce it. There is little evidence that economically active sons with schooling are more likely to support their elderly parents. These results tend to highlight the problems of caring for the elderly, especially when they do not have wealth, health or both.


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

12. American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 159, No. 5, March 2004).

13. The Gerontologist (Vol. 44, No. 1, February 2004). 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.

14. Journal of Marriage and the Family (Vol. 66, No. 1, February 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.


15. 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.

Aging and Society (Vol. 24, No. 1, 2004).

Omega-Journal of Death and Dying (Vol. 47, No. 2, 2003).

Social Work (Vol. 49, No. 1, 2004). 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.

16. 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 Feb. 24, 2004:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of Feb. 24, 2004:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of Feb 24, 2004:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of Feb 24, 2004:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


IV. Books:

17. ISFS: _Encyclopedia of Retirement and Finance_, edited by Lois A. Vitt (Greenwood Press, 2003, 2 vols. 869p., ISBN 0-313-32495-6). For more information see the Institute for Socio-Financial Studies site at:


V. Funding Opportunities:

18. NIH: "Technology and Aging" (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging PA-04-064, Feb. 20, 2004). For more information see:


VI. Conferences:

19. GSA: "57th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America," to be held in Washington, DC, Nov. 19-23, 2004. For more information see:

Interested researchers might want to bookmark the site, and visit it again later in the year.


VII. Legislation Information Updates:

20. US SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE PUBLICATION: "Medicare Outlier Payments to Hospitals," a special hearing held Mar. 11, 2003 (Senate Hearing 108-268, ASCII text and .pdf format, 52p.).

Scroll to or "find in page" "108-268" (without the quotes).


A. "Predatory Lending: Are Federal Agencies Protecting Older Americans From Financial Heartbreak?" a hearing held Feb. 24, 2004).

Hearing testimony:

B. "Ageism In Health Care: Are our Nation's Seniors Receiving Proper Oral Health Care?" a forum held Sep. 22, 2003 (Senate Hearing 108-248, Serial Publication No. 108-22, ASCII text and .pdf format, 153p.).

Scroll to or "find in page" "108-248" (without the quotes).

C. "HIPAA Medical Privacy and Transition Rules: Overkill or Overdue?" a hearing held Sep. 23, 2003 (Senate Hearing 108-256, Serial Publication No. 108-23, ASCII text and .pdf format, 171p.).

Scroll to or "find in page" "108-256" (without the quotes).

D. "Shattering the Silence: Confronting the Perils of Family Elder Abuse," a hearing held Oct. 20, 2003 (Senate Hearing 108-288, Serial Publication No. 108-25, ASCII text and .pdf format, 53p.).

Scroll to or "find in page" "108-288" (without the quotes).

22. US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE HEARING TESTIMONY: "Strengthening Pension Security for All Americans: Are Workers Prepared for a Safe and Secure Retirement?" a hearing held Feb. 25, 2004 (HTML and .pdf format).

Hearing testimony:

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