Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #249--August 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. NLS: The Bureau of Labor Statistics, via the Center for Human Resource Research (CHRR) at the Ohio State University, has released an electronic version of the NLS Mature Women 1989 pension file (D-MW-89Pension). The data can be downloaded free of charge. There is a link at the site to NLS Database Investigator software, the extraction system used with the data.

Direct link to data:

2. MEPS:

A. "Index of Insurance Component Tables (Health Insurance Cost Study) 1996-2002," (US Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2004). Data have been updated to include 2002).

B. "MEPS Household Compendia of Tables," (US Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2004). Household Health Insurance Tables have been updated to include 2003).

C. "New MEPS Insurance Component Survey Instruments for 2002," (US Agency for Health Care Research and Quality Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 2004, .pdf format).

D. "MEPS HC-064: 2003 P7R3/P8R1 Population Characteristics," (US Agency For Health Care Research, and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, July 2004, .data in .zip compressed or self-decompressing [.exe] ASCII and SAS transport format, documentation in ASCII, HTML, .pdf or ASP format). "This public use data file is the eighth point in time data file to be released from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Household Component (MEPS HC). The data are being released both as an ASCII file (with related SAS and SPSS programming statements) and in SAS transport format. This public use file provides information on data collected on a nationally representative sample of the civilian non-institutionalized population of the United States during the early part of 2003. The data consist of 2003 data obtained in Round 3 of Panel 7 and Round 1 of Panel 8 of the MEPS Household Component and contains variables pertaining to survey administration, demographics, employment, health status, and health insurance."

E. "MEPS HC-036: MEPS 1996-2002 Pooled Estimation Linkage File," (Agency For Health Care Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, July 2004, .data in .zip compressed or self-decompressing [.exe] ASCII and SAS transport format, documentation in ASCII, HTML, .pdf or ASP format). "This file is provided for use with pooled data from the MEPS FY 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, and 2002 public use files (HC-012, HC-020, HC-028, HC-038, HC-050, HC-060, and HC-062 respectively). Released as an ASCII file (with SAS user statements) and in SAS Transport format, this person-level file contains 1996-2002 combined variance stratum and PSU variables, along with the standard MEPS person ID variables for linking with the 1996-2002 MEPS person-level public use files. There is one record for each of the 115, 904 persons who are on the MEPS FY 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, or 2002 public use files."


II. Reports and articles:

3. GAO REPORT: "Medicaid Waivers: HHS Approvals of Pharmacy Plus Demonstrations Raise Continuing Cost and Oversight Concerns," (US Government Accountability Office GAO-04-480, July 2004, .pdf format, 75p.).

Note: This is a temporary address. GAO reports are always available at:


A. "Medicare Increases Nursing Home Payment Rates," (July 29, 2004).

B. "Medicare Announces Pay Increase for Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities," (July 29, 2004).

C. "CMS Announces FY 2005 Payment Increases and Policy Changes to Improve Quality and Access for Acute Care Hospitals," (August 3, 2004).

5. NIA PRESS RELEASE: "Vital Visionaries Program: 'Serious Fun' that Improves Medical Students Attitudes towards Older People," (August 5, 2004).


A. "Better Palliative Care for Older People," edited by Elizabeth Davies and Irene J. Higginson (WHO Regional Office for Europe, July 2004, .pdf format, 40p.).


Most deaths in European and other developed countries occur in people aged over 65, but relatively little health policy concerns their needs in the last years of life. As life expectancy increases, the number of people living to older ages is also increasing in many countries. At the same time, the relative number of people of working age is declining and the age of potential caregivers is increasing. Palliative care is therefore of growing public health importance. Older people have traditionally received less palliative care than younger people and services have focused on cancer. This booklet is part of the WHO Regional Office for Europe's work to present evidence for health policy- and decision-makers in a clear and understandable form. It presents the needs of older people, the different trajectories of illnesses they suffer, evidence of underassessment of pain and other symptoms, their need to be involved in decision-making, evidence for effective palliative care solutions, and issues for the future. A companion booklet entitled "Palliative care - the solid facts" considers how to improve services and educate professionals and the public.

B. "Palliative Care: the solid facts," edited by Elizabeth Davies and Irene J. Higginson (WHO Regional Office for Europe, July 2004, .pdf format, 32p.).


Populations in European and other developed countries are ageing, and more people are now living with the effects of serious chronic illnesses towards the end of life. Meeting their needs presents a public health challenge. Traditionally, palliative care towards the end of life has been offered mostly to cancer patients, but must now be offered for a wider range of serious illnesses and integrated more broadly across health care services. This booklet is part of the WHO Regional Office for Europe's work to present evidence for health policy- and decision-makers in a clear and understandable form. It explains why health services should provide good quality palliative care for all people facing serious chronic illness. It provides evidence for the effectiveness of palliative care, shows how it can be improved, and explains the need to ensure full access. The booklet also explores the varied cultural and health care contexts in different countries, and reveals how to educate professionals and the public about these issues. A companion booklet entitled "Better palliative care for older people" considers this vulnerable group in more detail. Both booklets seek to broaden awareness, stimulate debate and promote action.

7. AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND AGEING REPORT: "A New Strategy for Community Care : The Way Forward," (August 2004, .pdf format, 52p.).

Press Release:

8. _PNAS_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Metastatic cancer DNA phenotype identified in normal tissues surrounding metastasizing prostate carcinomas," by Donald C. Malins, Naomi K. Gilman, Virginia M. Green, Thomas M. Wheeler, Edward A. Barker, Mark A. Vinson, Mohammad Sayeeduddin, Karl Erik Hellström, and Katie M. Anderson (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 101, No. 31, August 3, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 11428-11431).

9. _NATURE_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Pathways towards and away from Alzheimer's disease," by Mark P. Mattson (_Nature_, Vol. 430, No. 7000, August 5, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 631-639).

10. _NEJM_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Primary Care Physicians Who Treat Blacks and Whites," by Peter B. Bach, Hoangmai H. Pham, Deborah Schrag, Ramsey C. Tate, and J. Lee Hargraves (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 351, No. 6, August 5, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 575-584).

11. _NATURE MEDICINE_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Systemic delivery of genes to striated muscles using adeno-associated viral vectors," by Paul Gregorevic, Michael J. Blankinship, James M. Allen, Robert W. Crawford, Leonard Meuse, Daniel G. Miller, David W. Russell and Jeffrey S. Chamberlain (_Nature Medicine_, Vol. 10, No. 8, August 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 828-834).

12. _BMJ_ NEWS: "Life expectancy in Great Britain rises--but later years are still spent in poor health," by Karen Hébert (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 329, No. 7460, July 31, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 250).

13. _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." "Sociodemographic Effects on the Onset and Recovery of ADL Disability among Chinese Oldest-old," by Danan Gu and Yi Zeng (Vol. 11, No. 1, August 4, 2004, .pdf format, 42p.).


By pooling the data from the three waves (1998, 2000, and 2002) of the Chinese Longitudinal Health and Longevity Survey, this study examines the association of sociodemographic factors with the onset and recovery of ADL disability including changes in functional status before dying. The results show that the sociodemographic factors play some specific roles in disability dynamics at very high ages even after controlling for a rich set of confounders.

Our results also point out that the conventional method, which excludes the information of ADL changes before dying due to unavailability of the data, overestimates the effects of age, gender, ethnicity, and living alone on disability transitions whereas it underestimates the effects of SES, although such discrepancies are not very big compared with the results including information of ADL changes before dying.

Click on "Enter".

14. CATO INSTITUTE POLICY PAPER: "Drug Reimportation: The Free Market Solution," by Roger Pilon (Cato Policy Analysis No. 521, August 2004, .pdf format, 22p.).

Follow link to "Full Text of Policy Analysis".

15. URBAN INSTITUTE REPORT: "The Fiscal Gap and Retirement Saving Revisited," by Alan J. Auerbach, William G. Gale, Peter Orszag (Tax Analysts Tax Break, from _Tax Notes_, Jul. 26, 2004, .pdf format, p. 431-437).

Click on "PDF" for full text.


III. Working Papers:

16. WHARTON SCHOOL (UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA) PENSION RESEARCH COUNCIL: "Why Pension Fund Management Needs a Paradigm Shift," by Keith Ambachtsheer (WP 2004-04, August 2004, .pdf format, 27p.).


This paper asserts that the management of the assets of defined benefit (DB) plans has been guided by a simple three-part paradigm. First, designers assumed that the generous equity risk premium observed in the past will be available in the future. Second, they have posited that a constant asset mix policy portfolio such as 60-40 or 70-30 (in stocks) will provide adequate protection against shorter-term equity markets volatility. Third, given the first two assumptions, it can be deduced the bulk of a fund's human and financial resources can be spent attempting to add modest additional return to the fund's policy portfolio return by taking on a modest amount of additional risk. We show that within this 'old' paradigm framework, the average US DB pension fund performed reasonably well over the 10-year period ending 2002. But we also show that the choice of policy portfolio largely determined total DB plan balance sheet mismatch risk, and that on average, this major risk went unrewarded over the 10-year measurement period. Our findings raise questions about the appropriateness of the 'old' pension paradigm; instead, we assert that a 'new' paradigm is required which include a defensible set of investment beliefs which include a time- varying equity risk premium; an integrative investment model that directly links a varying return opportunity set to DB balance sheet stakeholder income needs and risk tolerances; and a human systems-based decision-making protocol that can dynamically integrate the first two elements into the production of measurable stakeholder value over time.

17. MICHIGAN RETIREMENT RESEARCH CENTER: "Labor Supply Responses to Social Security," by John Laitner (WP2004-83, 2004, .pdf format, 26p.).


Economists' most basic model for studying Social Security policy issues is the so -- called life -- cycle model of saving behavior. This paper sets up a life--cycle model in which a household simultaneously chooses its lifetime consumption profile and retirement age. The paper calibrates parameters from Consumer Expenditure Survey data, making special use of observations of changes in household consumption immediately following retirement. The paper's last section provides illustrative simulations of the e.ect of current Social Security provisions on average retirement ages, finding evidence of a several year reduction in working life in some cases.

18. DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, JOHANNES KEPLER UNIVERSITY OF LINZ: "The Fiscal Impact of Immigrants in Austria - A Generational Accounting Analysis," by Karin Mayr (Working Paper No. 409, July 2004, .pdf format, 39p.).


In this paper, we employ generational accounting to analyse the inter-temporal stance of Austrian public finance in 1998 as well as the inter-temporal fiscal impact of immigration to Austria. Immigrants affect inter-temporal fiscal balance in essentially two ways. Firstly, they have a demographic effect in enlarging the population (and thus the tax base) and in altering its age- (and gender-) composition. Secondly, they change the fiscal characteristics of age cohorts due to a representative immigrant exhibiting higher or lower tax and transfer payments than a representative native of the same age and gender. The overall fiscal effect of immigration is found positive, under the assumption that the age and fiscal characteristics of future immigrants resemble those of the current immigrant population in Austria. This is due to a favourable age composition and lower per capita net transfer receipts during retirement age, which compensates for lower per capita net tax payments during working age. However, immigration is not likely to achieve inter-temporal fiscal balance, even if immigration increases or migrants are screened by skill or age.

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

19. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (Vol. 59, No. 4, July 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 these issues.

20. 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.

Ageing and Society (Vol. 24, No. 4, 2004).


21. 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 August 4, 2004:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of August 4, 2004:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of August 4, 2004:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of August 4, 2004:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Legislation Information Updates:

22. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING HEARING PUBLICATION: "Internet Fraud Hits Seniors: As Seniors Venture into the Web, the Financial Predators Lurk and Take Aim," a hearing held March 23, 2004 (S.Hrg. 108-486, .pdf and ASCII text format, 95p.).

Scroll down to or "find in page" "108-486" (without the quotes).




Charlie Fiss
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Center for Demography and Ecology and
Center for Demography of Health and Aging
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