Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #312--November 10, 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. Data:

1. INTER-UNIVERSITY CONSORTIUM FOR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL RESEARCH: ICPSR at the University of Michigan has recently released the following dataset, which may be of interest to researchers in aging. 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:

Hispanic Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly, Wave IV, 2000-2001 [Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas] (#4314)

New and updated acquisitions for the last 90 days are always available at ICPSR:

Click on "list". Items marked *new* are new.


II. Reports and articles:


A. "Private Pensions: Information on Cash Balance Pension Plans," (GAO-06-42, November 2005, .pdf format, 68p.).

B. "Medicare: Little Progress Made in Targeting Outpatient Therapy Payments to Beneficiaries' Needs," (GAO-06-59, November 2005, .pdf format, 34p.).

C. "Prescription Drugs: Strategic Framework Would Promote Accountability and Enhance Efforts to Enforce the Prohibitions on Personal Importation,"(GAO-05-372, September 2005, .pdf format, 70p.).

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

3. NATIONAL INSTITUTES ON HEALTH PRESS RELEASE: "NCI Launches Biorepository for Prostate Cancer," (November 7, 2005).


A. "Patient Assistance Programs for Medicare Part D Enrollees," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, November 2005, .pdf format, 15p.).

B. "Assessment of Sponsors' Materials Under the Temporary Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card Program," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, OEI-05-04-00190, October 2005, .pdf format, 55p.).


The first evaluation assessed sponsors' materials under the drug card program and was intended to assist CMS in preparing for the Part D drug benefit. OIG found that nearly all of the drug card sponsors that engaged in outreach distributed pre-enrollment packets to beneficiaries rather than relying solely on promotional advertising. Of the 62 pre-enrollment packets reviewed, 39 were missing some information required by CMS. In addition, we found 15 out of 20 advertisements to be noncompliant due to errors made by CMS's contractor's reviewers, errors made by sponsors, or miscommunication between CMS and its review contractor. To assess the clarity of sponsors' materials, we asked 113 Medicare beneficiaries to review pre-enrollment packets and found that each of five key features was understood by between 54 and 74 percent of beneficiary respondents. However, only 21 percent understood all five features. Respondents reading advertisements understood key program features less often than those reading pre-enrollment packets. In light of our review, we suggested a number of actions that CMS may want to consider when implementing the full prescription drug benefit under Part D. These relate to management and communication systems, oversight of prescription drug plans' pre-enrollment and advertising materials, and outreach to beneficiaries.

C. "Temporary Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card: Beneficiaries' Awareness and Use of Information Resources," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, OEI-05-04-00200, October 2005, .pdf format, 42p.) .


The second evaluation assessed beneficiaries' awareness and use of information resources for the drug card program and was intended to assist CMS in maximizing the effectiveness of beneficiary education efforts for the drug benefit. Based on a national survey of Medicare beneficiaries, OIG found that almost three-quarters of beneficiaries are aware of at least one source they could contact for information about the drug card program. However, fewer beneficiaries actually used these resources. Beneficiaries most commonly used "passively acquired" sources such as news media and mail for drug card information. Overall, only one-fifth of the beneficiaries contacted took a self-initiated action to contact a source. These "actively acquired" sources are 1-800-MEDICARE, the Medicare Web site, drug card sponsors, pharmacies, and State Health Insurance Assistance Programs. After deciding to enroll in a drug card, just over one-third of enrolled beneficiaries needed help with the enrollment process. In light of beneficiaries' behavior with respect to the drug card program, OIG suggests that CMS consider several implications for the drug benefit, including: (1) expanding the efforts it used to inform beneficiaries about the availability of information resources for the drug card program; (2) capitalizing on beneficiaries' propensity to use passively acquired information such as news media and mail; (3) collaborating with the active sources that beneficiaries contact most frequently, including pharmacies and sponsors; and (4) promoting available sources of enrollment assistance and continuing to invest in the capacity of those sources to meet beneficiary needs.

D. "Temporary Medicare-Approved Drug Discount Card: Analysis of Drug Prices," (US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, OEI-05-05-00020, October 2005, .pdf format, 13p.) .


The third evaluation assessed the extent to which prices offered by Medicare general drug card sponsors fluctuated between June and December 2004. This inspection was intended to monitor drug card prices and assess whether drug card sponsors engaged in "bait and switch" activities. In our analysis of almost six million prices submitted by drug card sponsors during the review period, we found that two-thirds of the prices did not change at all. Among the one-third of prices that did change, only about 1 percent changed in most weeks. Further, drug card sponsors exhibited similar patterns of minimal fluctuation in prices. Based on these findings, we did not recommend that CMS take any action at this time.

5. PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON BIOETHICS REPORT: "Taking Care: Ethical Caregiving in Our Aging Society," (September 2005, HTML and .pdf format, 309p.).

More information on PCB:

6. NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING GUIDE BOOK: "Talking With Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People," (November 2005, .pdf format, 44p.). Note: "How well one communicates with their doctor is one of the most important parts of getting good health care. The patient and doctor can work as a team, along with nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, and other health care providers. This newly revised edition, available free, provides helpful worksheets, and offers many tips and suggestions."

7. BOSTON COLLEGE CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH ISSUE BRIEF: "How Much Pre-Retirement Income Does Social Security Replace?" by Alicia H. Munnell and Mauricio Soto (IB #36, November 2005, .pdf format, 6p.).

Click on "click here" at the top of the abstract for link to full text.

8. AARP PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE REPORT: "Women Age 65 and Older: Their Sources of Income," by Laurel Beedon and Ke Bin Wu (_Data Digest_, October 2005, HTML and .pdf format, 4p.).


A. "Making Sense of Medicare's Drug Benefit: Information and Resources to Help Beneficiaries," (November 2005, RealPlayer and Windows Media Player format). A transcript is available in .pdf format.

B. "The Medicare Drug Benefit: Beneficiary Perspectives Just Before Implementation," (November 2005, RealPlayer and Windows Media Player format).

For more information about this survey go to:

10. WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES REPORT: "Wisconsin Hospices and Patients, 2004," by Yiwu Zhang (November 2005, .pdf format, 17p.).


A. "Transitions between Aged Care Services," by Rosemary Karmel (November 2005, .pdf format, 74p.).


This report examines the extent of quarterly transitions between services using data linked deterministically via the statistical linkage key SLK-581. Basic descriptive statistics are provided for those making these transitions. Data relating to the period 1 April 2002 to 31 March 2003 were used. As with all projects using statistical data linkage within the AIHW, data linkage was carried out following examination and approval by the AIHW Ethics Committee. A previous report, Data Linkage Protocols Using a Statistical Linkage Key (AIHW: Karmel 2005), examined the quality of the data available for undertaking statistical data linkage between the programs and described the protocols followed to ensure that the privacy of individuals was not compromised. Practices that allow consistent linkage procedures to be used over time and across data sets were also outlined.

B. "Obesity and Workplace Absenteeism Among Older Australians," (AIHW Bulletin No. 31, November 10, 2005, .pdf format, 16p.).

12. WESTERN AUSTRALIA PUBLIC ADVOCATE REPORT: "Mistreatment of Older People in Aboriginal Communities Project - An Investigation into Elder Abuse in Aboriginal Communities," (November 2005, .pdf format, 51p.).

Press Release:

13. AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND AGEING NEWS RELEASE: "Funds boosted: better services for older Australians," (November 7, 2005).

14. AARP GLOBAL AGING PROGRAM REPORT: "International Retirement Security Survey: Country Summaries," (October 2005, .pdf format). Note: Ten country reports are provided.

15. _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 [Rostock, Germany]. "Tempo effect on age-specific death rates," by Shiro Horiuchi (Vol. 13, Article 8, November 2005, .pdf format, p. 189-200).


It is widely known that shifts of cohort fertility schedule can produce misleading trends in period TFR. This note shows that such a "tempo bias" can occur in age-specific mortality as well: if the age distribution of cohort deaths shifts toward older (younger) ages, the period age-specific death rate are biased downward (upward).

Click "Enter".


A. "Regulation of the Caenorhabditis elegans oxidative stress defense protein SKN-1 by glycogen synthase kinase-3," by Jae Hyung An, Kelly Vranas, Michael Lucke, Hideki Inoue, Naoki Hisamoto, Kunihiro Matsumoto, and T. Keith Blackwell (Vol. 102, No. 45, November 8, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 16275-16280).

B. "Telomere length and heredity: Indications of paternal inheritance," by Katarina Nordfjäll, Åsa Larefalk, Petter Lindgren, Dan Holmberg, and Göran Roos (Vol. 102, No. 45, November 8, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 16374-16378).

17. _NATURE MEDICINE_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Dopamine covalently modifies and functionally inactivates parkin," by Matthew J. LaVoie, Beth L. Ostaszewski, Andreas Weihofen, Michael G. Schlossmacher and Dennis J. Selkoe (Vol. 11, No. 11, November 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1214-1221).

18. _JOURNAL OF AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Relationship Between Serum Parathyroid Hormone Levels, Vitamin D Sufficiency, and Calcium Intake," by Laufey Steingrimsdottir, Orvar Gunnarsson, Olafur S. Indridason, Leifur Franzson, and Gunnar Sigurdsson (Vol. 294, No. 18, November 9, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 2336-2341).

19. _BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL_ EDITORIAL: "Including older people in clinical research," by Marion E. T. McMurdo, Miles D. Witham, and Neil D. Gillespie (Vol. 331, No. 7524, November 5, 2005, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1036-1037).

20. _US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT_ ARTICLE: "Turn back the clock," by Betsy Streisand (November 14, 2005).

21. _NEWSWEEK_ ARTICLE: "The Boomer Files," by Jerry Adler (November 14, 2005).

22. AARP PRIME TIME RADIO: The following AARP _Prime Time Radio_ show, for October 25, 2005 is now available (RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required, audio transcripts run between 24 and 30 minutes).

The New Medicare Prescription Drug Plan


III. Working Papers:


A. "Estimating Life Cycle Effects of Survival Probabilities in the Health and Retirement Study," by Michael Perry (WP 2005-103, September 2005, .pdf format, 47p.).


This paper attempts to confirm the life-cycle relationship that lower subjective survival probabilities should lead to less positively sloped consumption trajectories. I use the results of six waves of subjective survival probability questions in the HRS to construct an index of survival belief that exploits the panel nature of the data by summarizing all of a respondent's answers to such questions. In conjunction with constructed consumption values from the financial section of the HRS, I test the life-cycle relationship using OLS and Least-Absolute Deviation regression. I find weak evidence that the life-cycle effect of subjective survival probability is significant in a high-cognitive-ability sub-sample of the HRS. Measurement error in the constructed consumption data is problematic.

B. "Will China Eat Our Lunch or Take Us to Dinner? Simulating the Transition Paths of the U.S., E.U., Japan, and China," by Hans Fehr, Sabine Jokisch and Laurence J. Kotlikoff (WP 2005-102, September 2005, .pdf format, 69p.).


This paper develops a dynamic, life-cycle, general equilibrium model to study the interdependent demographic, fiscal, and economic transition paths of China, Japan, the U.S., and the EU. Each of these countries/regions is entering a period of rapid and significant aging that will require major fiscal adjustments. But the aging of these societies may be a cloud with a silver lining coming, in this case, in the form of capital deepening that will raise real wages. China eventually becomes the world's saver and, thereby, the developed world's savoir with respect to its long-run supply of capital and long-run general equilibrium prospects. And, rather than seeing the real wage per unit of human capital fall, the West and Japan see it rise by one fifth percent by 2030 and by three fifths by 2100. Even if the Chinese saving behavior gradually approaches that of Americans, developed world real wages per unit of human capital are roughly 17 percent higher in 2030 and 4 percent higher at the end of the century. Without China they'd be only 2 percent higher in 2030 and 4 percent lower at Century's end. The short-run outflow of capital to China is met with a commensurate short-run reduction in developed world labor supply, leaving the short-run ratio of physical capital to human capital, on which wages positively depend, actually somewhat higher than would otherwise be the case. On the other hand, our findings about the developed world's fiscal condition are quite troubling. Even under the most favorable macroeconomic scenario, tax rates will rise dramatically over time in the developed world to pay baby boomers their government promised pension and health benefits. As Argentina has so recently shown, countries can grow quite well for years even with unsustainable fiscal policies. But if they wait too long to address those policies, the financial markets will do it for them, with often quite ruinous consequences.


A. "Socially Responsible Investment in Japanese Pensions," by Henry Hongbo Jin, Olivia S. Mitchell, and John Piggott (NBER Working Paper No. 11747, November 2005, .pdf format, 20p.).


As the level of retirement-related assets has grown, so too has public and private interest in so-called "Socially Responsible Investment" (SRI), an investment strategy that employs criteria other than the usual financial risk and return factors when selecting firms in which to invest. This study evaluates whether SRI indexes would alter portfolio risk and return patterns for the new defined contribution pension plans currently on offer in Japan. We conclude that SRI funds can be included as an option, albeit with some cost; consequently, mandatory investment in SRI portfolios cannot reasonably be justified.

B. "A Cost-of-Living Dynamic Price Index, with an Application to Indexing Retirement Accounts," by Ricardo Reis (NBER Working Paper No. 11746, November 2005, .pdf format, 44p.).


If a consumer wishes to protect her retirement account from the risk of price changes in order to sustain a stable standard of living, then what price index should the account be indexed to? This paper constructs a dynamic price index (DPI) that answers this question. Unlike the existing theory on price indices (which is static and certain), the DPI measures the cost of living for a consumer who lives for many periods and faces uncertainty. The first contribution of this research is to define this price index and study its theoretical properties. The DPI: is homogeneous of degree 1 with respect to all prices, is forward-looking with respect to price shocks, responds more to permanent vis-à-vis transitory price changes, includes asset prices with a potentially large weight, and distinguishes between durable and non-durable goods prices. The second contribution of the paper is to construct a DPI for the United States from 1970 to 2004. It gives an account of the cost of living in the U.S. that is strikingly different from the one provided by the CPI. The DPI is less persistent, more volatile, and a large part of its movements are driven by changes in the prices of houses and bonds.

C. "Precautionary Savings and the Importance of Business Owners," by Erik Hurst, Arthur Kennickell, Annamaria Lusardi, and Francisco Torralba (NBER Working Paper No. 11731, November 2005, .pdf format, 54p.).


In this paper, we show the pivotal role business owners play in estimating the importance of the precautionary saving motive. Since business owners hold larger amounts of wealth than other households for non-precautionary reasons and also face highly volatile income, they induce a correlation between wealth and income risk regardless of whether or not a precautionary saving motive exists. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics in the 1980s and the 1990s, we show that among both business owners and non-business owners, the size of precautionary savings with respect to labor income risk is modest and accounts for less than ten percent of total household wealth. However, pooling together the two groups leads to an artificially high estimate of the importance of precautionary savings. New data from the Survey of Consumer Finances further confirms that precautionary savings account for less than ten percent of total wealth for both business owners and non-business owners. Thus, while a precautionary saving motive exists and affects all households, it does not give rise to high amounts of wealth in the economy, particularly among those households who face the most volatile stream of income.

25. UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME, INTERNATIONAL POVERTY CENTER: "Ageing and Poverty in Africa and the Role of Social Pensions," by Nanak Kakwani and Kalanidhi Subbarao (Working Paper No. 8, August 2005, .pdf format, 40p.).

26. CALIFORNIA CENTER FOR POPULATION RESEARCH: "Pension Income and the Well-Being of Children and Grandchildren: New Evidence from South Africa," by Amar Hamoudi and Duncan Thomas (CCPR-043-05, October 2005, .pdf format, 45p.).


In the early 1990s, the South African Old Age Pension was expanded to cover most black South Africans above a gender-specific age cut-off. This expansion resulted in a substantial and arguably exogenous increase in the income of older South Africans. A series of very creative studies have exploited this source of variation in income to shed light on the ways in which families and households allocate resources among their members. A key assumption underlying these studies is that pension income has no impact on unmeasured characteristics of those people who co-reside with pension recipients. This paper provides empirical evidence on the importance of this assumption. Pension eligible adults are more likely to co-reside with other adults who have lower levels of human capital as measured by height and education. Since height and education are fixed for adults, this cannot be an effect of the pension income but rather reflects the selection of adults who co-reside with older adults when they become eligible for the pension. The paper proceeds to explore the importance of treating living arrangements as endogenous for re- interpretation of results on the impact of the pension in the literature. The evidence highlights the potential value of moving beyond theory and data which are bound by the confines of a spatially determined definition of the household.

27. NEW ZEALAND TREASURY: "The effect of New Zealand Superannuation eligibility age on the labour force participation of older people," by Roger Hurnard (Working Paper 05/09, November 2005, .pdf format, 23p.).


New Zealand experienced a sharp rise in labour force participation rates among older people over the period 1991-2001. This stands in contrast to the experience of most other OECD countries where such participation rates have been in steady decline. The predominant reason for this turnaround was that the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation, the universal public pension, was raised from 60 to 65 over a nine-year period. Combining an earlier reduction in eligibility age with this later policy reversal, this paper estimates the effect of public pension eligibility on the labour force participation of different age groups. The paper discusses why particular features of New Zealand's pension system mean that the strength and rapidity of the response to a rise in eligibility age might not be repeatable in other settings.


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

28. American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 162, No. 10, November 15, 2005).

29. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Vol. 42, No. 1, January/February 2006).

30. International Journal of Impotence Research (Vol. 17, No. 6, November/December 2005).

31. Journal of Aging Studies (Vol. 19, No. 4, Dec. 2005). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the EBSCO Host Academic Elite database. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.

Follow link to "Tables of Contents & Abstract". Follow link to "Volume 19, No. 4".

32. Nature Clinical Practice Oncology (Vol. 2, No. 11, November 2005).

33. Nature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine (Vol. 2, No. 11, November 2005).

34. Research on Aging (Vol. 27, No. 6, November 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 this database and this issue.

35. 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.

Educational Gerontology (Vol. 31, No. 10, November/December 2005). Note: Full electronic text of this journal is available in the EbscoHost Academic Search Elite database. Check your library for the availability of this database and this issue.


36. 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 9, 2005:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of November 9, 2005:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of November 9, 2005:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of November 9, 2005:

E. Stem Cell Research: Literature for the week of November 9, 2005:

F. Ophthalmology: Literature for the week of November 9, 2005:

AMEDEO Literature Guide:


V. Books:

37. SOCIETY OF ACTUARIES CONFERENCE MONOGRAPH: Papers from the "Living to 100 and Beyond Symposium" held January 12-14, 2005 are now available. Papers are in .pdf format.


VI. Funding Opportunities:

38. NIH: "Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Disease Centers of Excellence (P50)," (US National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, PAR-06-058, Nov. 4, 2005).


39. UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH/RESEARCH COUNCILS UNITED KINGDOM: "Cognitive Ageing Academic Fellowship," deadline for application is November 30, 2005. "These prestigious Fellowships are for a period of five years, and are intended to lead to a permanent academic appointment. These are ideal positions for young, motivated researchers, and allow a focus on research without teaching duties in the early years of the appointment."


VII. Conferences/Training Opportunities:

40. UNIVERSITY OF MAINE CENTER ON AGING: "The Center on Aging is pleased to announce a new Online Continuing Professional Education Program on Aging Issues. This program includes three informative and interactive E-Workshops to be offered via emails and the CoA website. Each E-Workshop is taught by an expert on the topic, and students participate via emails and the website at any time during the day that is convenient." Online registration is available.

41. CONFERENCEALERTS.COM: has recently updated its gerontology conferences page.




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