Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #270--January 13, 2005


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:


A. "Scaled Factors for Hypothetical Earnings Examples," by Michael Clingman and Orlo Nichols (US Social Security Administration, Office of the Chief Actuary, Actuarial Notes 2004.3, December 2004, .pdf format, 9p.).

B. "Illustrative Benefits for Retired Workers, Disabled Workers, and Survivors Scheduled under Current Law," by Michael Clingman, Orlo Nichiols and Chris Chaplain (US Social Security Administration, Office of the Chief Actuary, Actuarial Notes 2004.4, December 2004, .pdf format, 6p.).

2. BJS REPORT: "Crimes Against Persons Age 65 or Older, 1993-2002," by Patsy Klaus (Bureau of Justice Statistics, January 2005, .pdf, ASCII, and MS Excel format, 4p.). Note: "This report presents data from the National Crime Victimization Survey and the Uniform Crime Reports comparing crimes against persons age 65 or older with those in younger age groups."

3. DOL FACT SHEET: "The Bush Administration's Plan for Strengthening Retirement Security," (US Department of Labor, January 11, 2005).

News release (January 10, 2005):


A. "Medicare to Cover Aprepitant (EMEND®) as Part of a Three-Drug Regimen for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting," (January 6, 2005).

B. "Medicare Demonstration Project Pays for Flu Medicines," (January 7, 2005).

C. "Health Care Spending In The United States Slows For The First Time In Seven Years," (US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, January 11, 2005). Note: At the bottom of the news release, there is a link to "Detailed national health spending estimates" (including .zip compressed comma separated value [.csv] format data).

D. "Medicare Expands Coverage of Cochlear Implants" (US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, January 7, 2005).

5. DHHS NEWS RELEASE: "HHS Promotes New Medicare Preventive Benefits for Better Senior Health," (January 10, 2005).


A. "Advances in measuring lifespan in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae," by Nadège Minois, Magdalena Frajnt, Chris Wilson, and James W. Vaupel (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 102, No. 2, January 11, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 402-406).

B. "Changes in extracellular space size and geometry in APP23 transgenic mice: A model of Alzheimer's disease," by Eva Syková, Ivan Vorísek, Tatiana Antonova, Tomás Mazel, Melanie Meyer-Luehmann, Mathias Jucker, Milan Hájek, Michael Or, and Jan Bures (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 102, No. 2, January 11, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 479-484).

C. "SNP detection using peptide nucleic acid probes and conjugated polymers: Applications in neurodegenerative disease identification," by Brent S. Gaylord, Michelle R. Massie, Stuart C. Feinstein, and Guillermo C. Bazan (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 102, No. 2, January 4, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 34-39).

D. "Microtubule-binding drugs offset tau sequestration by stabilizing microtubules and reversing fast axonal transport deficits in a tauopathy model," by Bin Zhang, Arpita Maiti, Sharon Shively, Fara Lakhani, Gaye McDonald-Jones, Jennifer Bruce, Edward B. Lee, Sharon X. Xie, Sonali Joyce, Chi Li, Philip M. Toleikis, Virginia M.-Y. Lee, and John Q. Trojanowski (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 102, No. 2, January 4, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 227-231).


A. "Anticonvulsant Medications Extend Worm Life-Span," by Kimberley Evason, Cheng Huang, Idella Yamben, Douglas F. Covey, and Kerry Kornfeld _Science_, Vol. 307, No. 5707, January 14, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 258-262).

B. "Self-Propagating, Molecular-Level Polymorphism in Alzheimer's {beta}-Amyloid Fibrils," by Aneta T. Petkova, Richard D. Leapman, Zhihong Guo, Wai-Ming Yau, Mark P. Mattson, and Robert Tycko (_Science_, Vol. 307, No. 5707, January 14, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 262-265).

8. _NEJM_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Risk of Fracture after Androgen Deprivation for Prostate Cancer," by Vahakn B. Shahinian, Yong-Fang Kuo, Jean L. Freeman, and James S. Goodwin (_New England Journal of Medicine_, Vol. 352, No. 2, January 13, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 154-164).

9. _JAMA_ COMMENTARY ABSTRACT: "Strategies for Use of a Limited Influenza Vaccine Supply," by Sara E. Cosgrove, Neil O. Fishman, Thomas R. Talbot, Keith F. Woeltje, William Schaffner, Victoria J. Fraser, Julia A. McMillan, and Trish M. Perl (_Journal of American Medical Association_, Vol. 293, No. 2, January 12, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 229-232).

10. _BMJ_ EDITORIAL ABSTRACT: "Specialist palliative care in dementia," by Julian C. Hughes, Louise Robinson, Ladislav Volicer (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 330, No. 7482, January 7, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 57-58).

11. KFF REPORT: "e-Health and the Elderly: How Seniors Use the Internet for Health - Survey," (Kaiser Family Foundation, January 2005, .pdf format, 38p.). Note: "A national Kaiser Family Foundation survey of older Americans found that as the Internet becomes an increasingly important resource for informing decisions about health and health care options, less than a third (31%) of seniors (age 65 and older) have ever gone online, but that more than two-thirds (70%) of the next generation of seniors (50-64 year-olds) have done so."

Press Briefing (RealPlayer or Windows Media Player format):

12. URBAN INSTITUTE "FIRST TUESDAY" TRANSCRIPT: "Working Longer to Make Retirement More Secure," (Urban Institute "First Tuesday", January 4, 2005).


A. "Administrative Challenges in Managing the Medicare Program," by Michael E. Gluck and Richard Sorian (2004-15, December 2004, .pdf format, 93p.).

Click on "Download or View" at the bottom of the page for full text.

B. "Across the States: Profiles of Long-Term Care 2004," by Mary Jo Gibson, Steven Gregory, Ari Houser and Wendy Fox-Grage (D18202, December 2004, .pdf format, 268p.).

C. "Providing Disaster Relief For Older Tsunami Victims," by Jane Scobie (AARP Global Perspectives, January 2005).

D. The following AARP _Prime Time Radio_ shows, for December 28, 2004 - January 11, 2005, are now available (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required, audio transcripts run between 24 and 30 minutes).

Jan. 4, 2005--David John on Social Security
Jan. 11, 2005--Wise Use of Medicine
Jan. 11, 2005--Medicare Changes

E. _AARP Bulletin_ (January 2005). Selected items from the latest issue are electronically available.

14. _US NEWS & WORLD REPORT_ ARTICLE: "The debate is joined over reforming Social Security," by James M. Pethokoukis (U.S. News & World Report, January 17, 2005).

15. _NEWSWEEK_ ARTICLE: "Artful Aging," by Karen Springen and Sam Seibert (_Newsweek_, January 17, 2005).


II. Working Papers:

16. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN CENTER FOR DEMOGRAPHY AND ECOLOGY: "The Accuracy of Self-Reported Anthropometry: Obesity among Older Mexicans," by Alberto Palloni, Beth Soldo and Rebeca Wong (WP 2004-23, 2004, .pdf format, p.).


Recent surveys of older adults include batteries of questions or modules on self-reported chronic conditions as well as on limited self-reported anthropometry. Experience with such surveys in developed countries shows that some self-reported conditions possess reasonably high validity. There is much less information on the accuracy of self-reported anthropometry. In developing countries these problems are virtually unexplored. This is a problematic gap in our knowledge since no less than ten different surveys are currently in the field eliciting information on these characteristics. In this paper we use a new data set to explore the accuracy of self-reported height and weight in a sample of older adults in Mexico. In this survey (MHAS), administered to a nationally representative sample of older adults fifty and over, actual measures of body weight and stature were collected for a sub-sample jointly with self-reported weight and height. Our analyses probe the following four issues: (a) the degree of concordance between self-report and objective measures; (b) individual determinants of discordance (c) biases in estimates of determinants of obesity when assessed from self-reported height and weight, (d) biases in equations assessing the relation between obesity evaluated through self-reported height and weight and self-reported diabetes.


A. "Understanding Expenditure Patterns in Retirement," by Barbara A. Butrica, Joshua H. Goldwyn, and Richard W. Johnson (WP 2005-3, January 2005, .pdf format, 37p.).


Understanding the consumption needs of retirees is critical to assessing the adequacy of retirement income and the possible impact of Social Security reform on the well-being of older Americans. This study uses data from the Health and Retirement Study, including a recent supplemental expenditure survey, to analyze spending patterns and consumption needs for adults ages 65 and older. Results indicate that typical older married adults spend 84 percent of after-tax household income, and nonmarried adults spend 92 percent of after-tax income. Even at older ages individuals devote a larger share of their expenditures and income to housing than any other category of goods and services, including health care. Fully 8 percent of married adults report after-tax incomes that fall short of our estimated basic-needs threshold, consisting of housing, health care, food, and clothing. By comparison, only 3 percent of married adults have incomes below the official poverty level.

B. "Changes in the Distribution of Long-Run Earnings and Retirement Incomes- Have Recent Cohorts Fallen Behind?" by Peter Gottschalk and Minh Huynh (WP 2005-34, January 2005, .pdf format, 21p.).


This study is motivated by the well-documented increase in wage inequality during the 1980s and the continued high levels of inequality during the 1990s. Specifically, we examine changes in the distribution of long-run earnings and changes in economic mobility for recent cohorts. These cohorts, who either entered retirement in the 1990s or are nearing retirement, experienced very different labor market conditions during their working lives than did earlier cohorts. Economic growth led to higher mean earnings for recent cohorts but the distribution of yearly earnings became less equal. As a result of these changes, the average worker nearing retirement had higher long-run earnings than members of previous cohorts. This, however, need not have translated into higher long-run earnings across the board. Those at the bottom of the distribution of long-run earnings might actually have had lower accumulated earnings than previous cohorts if the gains from growth were more than offset by the increase in inequality of earnings during the 1980s. If the accumulated earnings of those at the bottom of the distribution fell, then this could have had an impact both on decisions about whether to continue to work after the period of normal retirement and on Social Security benefits.

The second, and related, policy question is whether mobility has increased. If mobility has increased, then this may partially offset the impact of the increase in earnings inequality. Outcomes may be less equal, but there is less chance of being stuck with a bad outcome. Our ability to measure earnings mobility for five cohorts spanning a twenty-five-year period allows us to address this important question

C. "The Age Profile of Income and the Burden of Unfunded Transfers in Four Countries: Evidence from the Luxembourg Income Study," by Gary Burtless (WP 2005-33, January 2005, .pdf format, 45p.).


This paper uses micro-census income data from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) to measure the current and future burden of financing public transfers, especially benefits supporting the aged and near-aged. The analysis distinguishes between income obtained from households' own saving and labor earnings, on the one hand, and the part financed with unfunded transfers, on the other. The burden of unfunded transfers is defined as the tax on factor income that is needed to pay for such transfers under a balanced budget rule. The paper develops a framework for estimating and forecasting this burden using micro-census reports on the current age distribution of factor incomes, the age distribution of transfer incomes, and U.S. Census Bureau projections of the future age structure of the population. Because survey data are inaccurate and incomplete, the micro-census income reports are adjusted to reflect under-reporting based on estimates of aggregate income from the national income and product accounts. Empirical estimates of current and future tax burdens are derived for four OECD countries. These show that the burden of German and U.S. transfers is unusually sensitive to the effects of an aging population. In contrast, the burden of public transfers in Finland and Britain is less sensitive to the effects of an older population because transfers in those countries are less heavily tilted toward aged beneficiaries. Factor incomes received by aged Americans are high by international standards, providing a partial offset to the sharp tilt of U.S. transfers in favor of the elderly. As the U.S. population grows older, factor incomes will decline more gradually than is the case in other rich countries, helping to maintain the size of its tax base.

D. "Projecting Immigration: A Survey of the Current State of Practice and Theory," by Neil Howe and Richard Jackson (WP 2004-32, December 2004, .pdf format, 24p.).


Assumptions about long-term trends in international migration are an increasingly important component of the demographic projection module. Yet most official immigration projections both in the United States and abroad rely on ad-hoc assumptions based on little theory and virtually no definable methodology. The purpose of this paper is twofold: to assess where projection-making agencies stand in their practice of immigration projection and to explore how theoretical insights about immigration may help them improve their practice. The first section describes the current projection methods of leading national and international agencies, from the U.S. Census Bureau and Social Security Administration to the United Nations and the World Bank. The second section scans the wide and varied array of "theoretical frameworks" that attempt to explain international migration flows. The paper identifies six important ones: the policy, the neoclassical, the world systems, the new economics, the social networks, and the dual labor market frameworks. We conclude that much progress might be achievable if the explanatory richness of immigration theory could somehow be consolidated and integrated into a useable projection method. The third section briefly outlines some first steps to start harnessing theory and improving practice.

18. NBER:

A. "Work and the Disability Transition in 20th Century America," by Sven Wilson, Joseph Burton, and Benjamin Howell (National Bureau of Economic Research, w11036, January 2005, .pdf format, 45p.).


Using data from Union Army pensioners and from the National Health Interview Surveys, we estimate that work-disability among white males aged 45-64 was 3.5 times as high in the late 19th century than at the end of the 20th century, including a decline and flattening of the age-profile since 1970. We present a descriptive model of disability that can account for a) the secular decline in prevalence; b) changes in slope of the age-profile; and c) periods of increasing prevalence. The high level and relatively flat slope of the historical disability age-profile is consistent with the early onset of chronic conditions and with high mortality associated with a subset of those conditions. We show that many common conditions in the 19th century have been either eliminated, delayed to later ages, or rendered less disabling by treatment innovations and the transformation of the workplace. These improvements have swamped the effect of declining mortality, which put upward pressure on disability prevalence. Given the low rate of mortality prior to age 65, technological changes will likely induce further reductions in work-disability, though recent increases in the prevalence of asthma and obesity may eventually work against this trend.

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

B. "Choosing Between Gifts and Bequests: How Taxes Affect the Timing of Wealth Transfers," by David Joulfaian (National Bureau of Economic Research, w11025, January 2005, .pdf format, 29p.).


A number of theories have been advanced to explain the size and timing of intergenerational transfers. One factor only recently explored is the effects of taxes, and in particular the estate tax, on such transfers. This paper represents the first attempt to explore how capital gains and gift taxes, in addition to the estate tax, interact to influence incentives in the timing of transfers. Using estate tax data and exploiting variations in state inheritance, gift, and capital gains tax rates, this paper finds taxes to be an important consideration in the choice between gifts and bequests. In particular, each of capital gains and gift taxes are found to be important determinants of the timing of transfers. These findings are robust to a number of specifications that control for borrowing, charitable bequests, marital status, and the portfolio composition of wealth transfers.

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

19. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN POPULATION STUDIES CENTER: "Trends in Old-Age Functioning and Disability in Japan: 1993-2002," by Robert Shoeni (PSC Research Report 05-570, January 2005, .pdf format, p.).


Disability is a burden to individuals and society. Population aging, combined with the fact that disability is most common among the elderly, has focused attention on trends in old-age disability. This study estimates trends in functioning and disability among Japanese elderly from 1993 to 2002 and contrasts the patterns with those found in the US. Japan is an especially interesting country because its age structure is relatively old, and it currently has the highest life expectancy in the world despite the fact that just 50 years ago its life expectancy was in the bottom half of all countries. Like the US, disability rates have fallen. If it were not for the gains in disability between 1993 and 2002, there would have been 1 million more disabled elderly in 2002. The reductions were experienced broadly across socio-demographic and economic groups. Increases in education across cohorts can account for some of the declines in disability.


A. "The Impact of Nearly Universal Insurance Coverage on Health Care Utilization and Health: Evidence from Medicare," by David Card, Carolos Dobkin, and Nicole Maestas (WR-197, October 2004, .pdf format, 74p.).


The authors use the increases in health insurance coverage at age 65 generated by the rules of the Medicare program to evaluate the effects of health insurance coverage on health related behaviors and outcomes. The rise in overall coverage at age 65 is accompanied by a narrowing of disparities across race and education groups. Groups with bigger increases in coverage at 65 experience bigger reductions in the probability of delaying or not receiving medical care, and bigger increases in the probability of routine doctor visits. Hospital discharge records also show large increases in admission rates at age 65, especially for elective procedures like bypass surgery and joint replacement. The rises in hospitalization are bigger for whites than blacks, and for residents of areas with higher rates of insurance coverage prior to age 65, suggesting that the gains arise because of the relative generosity of Medicare, rather than the availability of insurance coverage. Finally, there are small impacts of reaching age 65 on self-reported health, with the largest gains among the groups that experience the largest gains in insurance coverage. In contrast they find no evidence of a shift in the rate of growth of mortality rates at age 65.

B. "Expectations and Realizations of Work after Retirement," by Nicole Maestas (WR-196, October 2004, .pdf format, 45p.).


This paper analyzes labor force re-entry after retirement in an effort to understand whether these "unretirement" transitions are largely unexpected (perhaps resulting from failures in planning or unexpected financial shocks) or planned (perhaps representing a more complex retirement process). Nearly one-half of retirees follow a nontraditional retirement path that involves partial retirement and/or unretirement, and the unretirement rate among those observed at least five years after their first retirement is 24 percent. The unretirement rate is even higher among those retiring at younger ages (as high as 36 percent among those retiring at ages 51-52). the author finds that unretirement was anticipated for all but nine percent of retirees. If anything, expectations err on the side of excessive pessimism about the future rather than unwarranted optimism. Unretirement appears to be qualitatively similar to partial retirement and there is some evidence of a substantial correlation in the post-retirement labor supply transitions of married couples.

C. "Increases in Wealth Among the Elderly in the Early 1990s: How Much is Due to Survey Design?" Susann Rohwedder, Steven J. Haider and Michael D. Hurd (WR-196, October 2004, .pdf format, 24p.).


The Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (AHEAD) study shows a large increase in reported total wealth between 1993 and 1995. Such an increase is not found in other US household surveys around that period. This paper examines one source of this difference. The authors find that in AHEAD 1993 ownership rates of stocks, CDs, bonds, and checking and saving accounts were under-reported, resulting in under-measurement of wealth in 1993, and a substantial increase in wealth from 1993 to 1995. The explanation for the under-reporting is a combination of question sequence and wording in the AHEAD survey instrument.

21. LUXEMBOURG INCOME STUDY: "Poverty and Income Maintenance in Old Age: A Cross-National View of Low Income Older Women," by Timothy M. Smeeding and Susanna Sandstrom (Working Paper No. 398, January 2005, .pdf format, 22p.).


Great strides have been made in reducing poverty amongst the elderly in most rich countries over the past forty years. But pensioner poverty has not been eradicated, especially in the English-speaking nations. Poverty rates amongst 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 larger effect for women. Poverty rates among older women are highest amongst the divorced, widowed and never- married, groups whose prevalence within the elder population will rise significantly over the next decades. The challenge for policy makers is to design systems of retirement benefits that guarantee minimum standards of living for all elderly women while also preserving incentives for self-financed retirement.


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

22. Aging and Mental Health (Vol. 9, No. 1, January 2005).

23. Journal of Applied Gerontology (Vol. 24, No. 1, February 1, 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.

24. Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences (Vol. 60B, No. 1, May 2005). 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.

25. Medical Care Research and Review (Vol. 62, No. 1, February 1, 2005). 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.

26. 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.

Ageing and Society (Vol. 24, No. 6, 2004).


27. 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 12, 2005:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of January 12, 2005:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of January 12, 2005:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of January 12, 2005:

E. Stem Cell Research: Literature for the week of January 12, 2005:

F. Opthamology: Literature for the week of January 12, 2005:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


IV. Funding Opportunities:

28. NIH: "Pilot and Feasibility Trials for Osteoporosis," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NOT-AR-05-003, January 7, 2005).


V. Conferences:

29. OXFORD INSTITUTE ON AGEING/ACTUARIAL PROFESSION: "Sixty-five and not out! Ageing Population Conference 2005," a conference to be held September 7-9, 2005 (St. Anne's College, Oxford, UK).

30. REVES: "The 17th meeting of Reseau Esperance de Vie en Sante will be held in Beijing, China, on May 18-20, 2005. For more information about the meeting, see:

More information on REVES:


VI. Legislation Information Updates:

31. US SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE HEARING PUBLICATION: "Alzheimer's Disease Research," a hearing held March 23, 2004 (Senate Hearing 108-715, ASCII text and .pdf format, 38p.).

Scroll to or "find in page" "108-715" (without the quotes).




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