Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #264--November 24, 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. MEPS: "HC-067A: 2002 Prescribed Medicines File," (US Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, November 2004, data in ASCII text (.zip and .exe compressed format) and SAS transport format (.zip and .exe compressed format), documentation in .pdf, HTML, and ASP format, with SAS and SPSS programming statements in ASCII format). Note: "[T]his public use file provides detailed information on household-reported prescribed medicines for a nationally representative sample of the civilian non institutionalized population of the United States and can be used to make estimates of prescribed medicine utilization and expenditures for calendar year 2002."

2. IPUMS: University of Minnesota Integrated Public Microdata Surveys has added the following datasets to its beta extraction system: "the 2003 American Community Survey (ACS) sample, the 1990 Labor Market Areas sample, the 1980 Labor Market Areas sample, and the 1980 Detailed Metro/Nonmetro sample." For more information about these datasets, see the links at:

Click on links under the November 23, 2004 item.


II. Reports and articles:

3. CBO REPORT: "Disability and Retirement: The Early Exit of Baby Boomers from the Labor Force," (Congressional Budget Office, November 2004, .pdf format, 18p.).

4. CENSUS BUREAU REPORT: "2003 Service Annual Survey: Health Care and Social Assistance Services," (November 2004, .pdf format).

News release:

5. CDC/NCI REPORT: "United States Cancer Statistics: 2001 Incidence and Mortality," (Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute, November 2004, .pdf format, 699p.).

Follow link to "Print-friendly PDF format".

CDC News Release:

6. GAO CORRESPONDENCE: "The Protecting Seniors from Fraud Act: Status of the Triad Program," (Government Accountability Office, GAO-05-146R, November 23, 2004, .pdf format, 9p.).

Note: These are temporary addresses. GAO reports are always available at:

7. DHHS OIG REPORT: "Oversight and Evaluation of the Fiscal Year 2004 Comprehensive Error Rate Testing Program," (US Department of Health and Human Service, Office of the Inspector General, A-03-04-00007, November 2004, .pdf format, 16p.).

From the Executive Summary:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) developed the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) program primarily to establish the Medicare fee-for-service paid claims error rate for all types of Medicare services other than inpatient acute care hospital services. The objectives of this review were to determine whether (1) the CERT contractor had appropriate controls to ensure that medical reviews were performed in accordance with established procedures and that the results of those reviews were adequately maintained, updated, and reported and (2) the CERT quality assurance program ensured the reliability of the claims review process. The CERT contractor generally had appropriate controls to ensure that medical reviews were performed in accordance with established procedures and that the results of those reviews were adequately maintained, updated, and reported. Despite the lack of timeliness, the CERT contractor identified problems, took corrective action, and completed the review and the Medicare error rate calculations by the required due date.

However, the quality assurance program did not provide full assurance of the reliability of the claims review process. The CERT contractor completed only 984 of the required 2,587 FY 2004 quality assurance reviews by July 30, 2004. Personnel from CERT stated that because of an overwhelming backlog of initial medical record reviews, management reallocated resources to complete those reviews and delayed the completion of the required quality assurance reviews. We recommended that CMS direct the CERT contractor to schedule and complete the required number of quality assurance reviews throughout the year. In informal comments on a draft of this report, CMS officials agreed with the audit results and the recommendation.

8. CMS DECISION MEMO: "Decision Memo for Thyroid Testing (Inclusion of ICD-9-CM Code 733.02 for Idiopathic Osteoporosis) (CAG-00254N)," (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, November 23, 2004).


A. "National Palliative Care Information Collection: A Way Forward for Community-Based Palliative Care," (AIHW Cat. No. HWI-77, November 19, 2004, .pdf format, 229p.).

B. "Longitudinal Studies of Ageing: Implications for Future Studies," (AIHW Cat. No. AGE-42, November 19, 2004, .pdf format, 206p.).

10. _BMJ_ PRIMARY CARE: "Acupuncture as a complementary therapy to the pharmacological treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: randomised controlled trial," by Jorge Vas, Camila Méndez, Emilio Perea-Milla, Evelia Vega, María Dolores Panadero, José María León, Miguel Ángel Borge, Olga Gaspar, Francisco Sánchez-Rodríguez, Inmaculada Aguilar, Rosario Jurado (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 329, No. 7476, November 20, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1216-1219).


A. "{alpha}-Synuclein structures from fluorescence energy-transfer kinetics: Implications for the role of the protein in Parkinson's disease," by Jennifer C. Lee, Ralf Langen, Patrick A. Hummel, Harry B. Gray, and Jay R. Winkler (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 101, No. 47, November 23, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 16466-16471).

B. "Estrogen prevents bone loss through transforming growth factor {beta} signaling in T cells," by Yuhao Gao, Wei-Ping Qian, Kimberly Dark, Gianluca Toraldo, Angela S. P. Lin, Robert E. Guldberg, Richard A. Flavell, M. Neale Weitzmann, and Roberto Pacifici (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 101, No. 47, November 23, 2004, .pdf and HTML format, p. 16618-16623).

12. KFF REPORT: "Estimates of Medicare Beneficiaries' Out-of-Pocket Drug Spending in 2006," (Kaiser Family Foundation, November 2004, .pdf format, 36p.). Note: "This report projects the impact of the new Medicare drug benefit on out-of-pocket spending for people who enroll in 2006. The analysis is based on a model developed by the Actuarial Research Corporation for the Kaiser Family Foundation. The model generally conforms to the Congressional Budget Office's assumptions and projections about Medicare drug benefit spending and participation rates for the new benefit and for the low-income subsidy. The report was released at a briefing in Washington on November 22, 2004."

To access the press briefing, go to:


A. "AARP International Opinion Leader Study on Global Aging" (November 2004, .pdf format, 125p., accompanied by another AARP report: "Reinventing Retirement Conference Presentation: AARP International Opinion Leader Study on Global Aging" (November 2004, .pdf format, 29p.).

Links to the two reports, as well as an executive summary (.pdf format, 9p.) are at the bottom of the page.

B. The following AARP _Prime Time Radio_ show, for Oct. 12 - Nov. 16 2004, is now available (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required, audio transcripts run between 24 and 30 minutes).

Nov. 16, 2004--What Are Old People For?

14. NBER PERIODICAL: _NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health_ (Fall 2004, HTML and .pdf format, 4p.).

15. ILCUSA REPORT: "ILC Policy Report" (International Longevity Center, USA, November 2004, .pdf format, 6p.). The ILC Policy Report is "a monthly compilation of longevity news and trends in the U.S. and abroad."


III. Working Papers:

16. NBER: "Stochastic Infinite Horizon Forecasts for Social Security and Related Studies," by Ronald Lee, Timothy Miller, and Michael Anderson (w10917, November 2004, .pdf format, 81p.).


This paper consists of three reports on stochastic forecasting for Social Security, on infinite horizons, immigration, and structural time series models. 1) In our preferred stochastic immigration forecast, total net immigration drops from current levels down to about one million by 2020, then slowly rises to 1.2 million at the end of the century, with 95% probability bounds of 800,000 to 1.8 million at the century's end. Adding stochastic immigration makes little difference to the probability distribution of the old age dependency ratio. 2) We incorporate parameter uncertainty, stochastic trends, and uncertain ultimate levels in stochastic models of wage growth and fertility. These changes sometimes substantially affect the probability distributions of the individual input forecasts, but they make relatively little difference when embedded in the more fully stochastic Social Security projection. 3) Using a 500-year stochastic projection, we estimate an infinite horizon balance of -5.15% of payroll, compared to the -3.5% of the 2004 Trustees Report, probably reflecting different mortality projections. Our 95% probability interval bounds are -10.5 and -1.3%. Such forecasts, which reflect only "routine" uncertainty, have many problems but nonetheless seem worthwhile.

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


A. "How Does Marriage Affect the Allocation of Assets in Women's Defined Contribution Plans?" by Angela C. Lyons and Tansel Yilmazer (WP 2004-28, November 2004, .pdf format, 16p.).


Past studies that examine gender differences in investment decisions have treated married households as a single decision-making unit. This study improves upon traditional unitary bargaining models and estimates a series of unitary and collective-type models to investigate how a husband's age and relative control over financial resources affects the allocation of assets in women's defined contribution plans. Using data from the Survey of Consumer Finances, the results show that women who are married to less educated and older men are less likely to take on risk with their portfolios. Women who earn a greater share of the household's total earnings are also less likely to invest in risky assets. There is little evidence that the characteristics of the wife affect the husband's investment decisions. The findings have important policy implications, especially with respect to proposed Social Security reforms which would enable workers to choose how their personal security accounts are invested.

B. "Poverty and Income Maintenance in Old Age: A Cross-National View of Low Income Older Women," by Timothy M. Smeeding and Susanna Sandstrom (WP 2004-29, November 2004, .pdf format, 20p.).


Over the past 40 years, great strides have been made in reducing poverty among the elderly in most rich countries. Pensioner poverty, however, has not been eradicated, especially in the Anglo-speaking nations. Poverty rates among older women are much higher than those for older men and much higher in the United States compared to other nations. In general, poverty rates rise with both age and changes in living arrangements, though living alone has a greater effect for women. Poverty rates among older women are highest among the divorced, widowed, and never married (all of which are also expected to rise significantly over the next decades). The challenge is to design retirement benefit systems that guarantee a minimum standard of living for all elderly women, while also preserving incentives for self financed retirement.

C. "Does Work Pay at Older Ages?" by Barbara A. Butrica, Richard W. Johnson, Karen E. Smith, and Eugene Steuerle (WP 2004-30, November 2004, .pdf format, 50p.).


Encouraging work at older ages is a critical policy goal for an aging society, but many features of the current system of benefits and taxes provide strong work disincentives. The implicit tax rate on work increases rapidly at older ages, approaching 50 percent for some workers by age 70. In addition, by age 65 people can typically receive nearly as much in retirement as they can by working. If older Americans could overcome these barriers and delay retirement, they could substantially improve their economic well-being at older ages. For example, many people could increase their annual consumption at older ages by more than 25 percent by simply retiring at age 67 instead of age 62.

18. GERMAN INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMIC RESEARCH [DIW]: "Life Expectancy and Health Care Expenditures in the 21st Century: A New Calculation for Germany Using the Costs of Dying," by Friedrich Breyer and Stefan Felder (Discussion Paper No. 452, October 2004, .pdf format, 16p.).


Some people believe that the impact of population ageing on future health care expenditures will be quite moderate due to the high costs of dying. If not age per se but proximity to death determines the bulk of expenditures, a shift in the mortality risk to higher ages will not affect lifetime health care expenditures as death occurs only once in every life. We attempt to take this effect into account when we calculate the demographic impact on health care expenditures in Germany. From a Swiss data set we derive age-expenditure profiles for both genders, separately for persons in their last four years of life and for survivors, which we apply to the projections of the age structure and mortality rates for the German population between 2002 and 2050 as published by the Statistische Bundesamt. We calculate that at constant prices per-capita health expenditures of Social Health Insurance would rise from eruos 2,596 in 2002 to between euros 2,959 and euros 3,102 in 2050 when only the age structure of the population changes and everything else remains constant at the present level, and to euros 5,485 with a technology-driven exogenous cost increase of one per cent per annum. A "naïve" projection based only on the age distribution of health care expenditures, but not distinguishing between survivors and decedents, yields values of euros3,217 and euros 5,688 for 2050, respectively. Thus, the error of excluding the "costs of dying" effect is small compared with the error of under-estimating the financial consequences of expanding medical technology.


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

19. American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 160, No. 11, December 1, 2004).

20. European Journal of Palliative Care (Vol. 11, No. 5, 2004).

21. Journal of Health Economics (Vol. 23, No. 6, November 2003).

and "click on "Tables of contents & abstracts" on the right side of the page.

22. Research on Aging (Vol. 27, No. 1, January 2005). 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.

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

A. Point your browser to:

B. click on "advanced search"
C. Type in your publication name and click "Exact title" radio button
D. Under "Show", click the "fax/ariel" radio button.
E. View the table of contents for the issue noted.

Journal of Aging and Physical Activity (Vol. 12, No. 4, 2004).

Social Work (Vol. 49, No. 4, 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.


24. 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 November 24, 2004:

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

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

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

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Funding Opportunities:

25. NIH: "Addendum to PAR-03-106: Innovations in Biomedical Computational Science and Technology," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging, in conjunction with other agencies, NOT-CA-05-005, November 18, 2004).


VI. Conferences:

26. HERITAGE FOUNDATION: "The Progress of the Medicare Drug Discount Card," to be held December 1, 2004 (The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium). "The Medicare drug discount card program, part of the Medicare Modernization Act, enables seniors to receive drug discounts at competitive prices. For poor seniors, the card comes with an additional $600 annual subsidy to offset drug costs. But the drug discount card ends on January 2006. How many seniors have signed up for the cards? How have private sector organizations promoted the cards? What kind of discounts have seniors gotten? How has the card program affected drug prices? Should seniors who like it be able to keep it? These and other urgent questions will be addressed by Karen Ignani, President of American Health Insurance Plans, and James Firman, President of the National Council on the Aging."

VII. Legislation Information Updates:

27. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH HEARING TESTIMONY: "Flu Vaccine: Protecting High-Risk Individuals and Strengthening the Market," a hearing held November 18, 2004.

Hearing testimony (HTML and RealPlayer format):


VIII. Websites of Interest:

28. Kaisernetwork Issue Spotlights: The Kaiser Family Foundation has added an "Issue Spotlight" page to its website. "Issue Spotlights provide Kaiser Daily Report news summaries, webcasts and published resources to keep you up-to-date on today's key health policy issues. Check back for updates and new Issue Spotlights in the upcoming months." Issues of possible interest to researchers in aging include: Long-Term Care, Medicare, and Prescription Drugs.

29. MEDICARE.GOV UPDATE: On November 18, 2004, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services updated the Nursing Home Compare website. "As part of the November 18th Release, the following enhancements were made:

a. Quality Measures - adding one new measure concerning weight loss.

b. Adding OSCAR/ASPEN State Agency contacts under Resources."




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