Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #324--February 9, 2006


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. CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH AT BOSTON COLLEGE: "The State of Private Pensions: Current 5500 Data," by Marric Buessing and Mauricio Soto (Issue Brief No. 42, February 2006, .pdf format, 15p.). Note: Separate technical and data appendices are provided.

2. INTER-UNIVERSITY CONSORTIUM FOR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL RESEARCH: ICPSR at the University of Michigan released several new datasets on Feb. 3, 2006, 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:

New data:

All new and updated data in the last 90 days can be found at:


II. Reports and articles:

3. CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE REPORT: "Side-by-Side Comparison of Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Provisions in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005," by Karen Tritz, Sibyl Tilson, Julie Stone, Chris Peterson, Jennifer O'Sullivan, Paulette C. Morgan, Elicia J. Herz, Jean Hearne, Jim Hahn, April Grady, Hinda Chaikind, and Evelyne P. Baumrucker (RL33251, January 2006, .pdf format, 114p.).

4. CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE REPORT: "Long-Term Analysis of the Liebman-MacGuineas-Samwick Social Security Proposal," (February 2006, .pdf and Excel format, 60p.). Note: Supplemental tables are provided in Excel format.


A. "International Update," (January 2006, .pdf and HTML format, 4p.).

B. "OASDI (Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance) Monthly Statistics, January 2006," (February 2006, .pdf and HTML format).

C. "SSI (Supplementary Security Income) Monthly Statistics, January 2006," (February 2006, .pdf and HTML format).

6. US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT: "Effect of the Home Health Prospective Payment System on the Quality of Home Health Care," (OEI-01-04-00160, January 2006, .pdf format, 15p.).


This report determines how hospital readmission and emergency department visit rates for Medicare beneficiaries discharged from hospitals to home health care have changed since implementation of the home health prospective payment system. OIG found that hospital readmission rates remained unchanged from 2000 through 2003, and the analysis showed no consistent trend in hospital readmission rates for beneficiaries with at-risk diagnoses. OIG also found that the overall rate of emergency department visits for Medicare home health beneficiaries discharged from hospitals increased slightly, from 29 to 30 percent, from 2000 to 2003. The analysis showed a slight increase in rates of emergency department visits for beneficiaries with at-risk diagnoses, including renal failure and heart failure. These results suggest that the change in payment systems has not increased the use of hospital and emergency services because of inadequacies in the home health services provided. OIG has no recommendations for CMS. In its comments on the draft report, CMS agreed with our findings and agreed that it would be prudent to continue monitoring indicators of quality in home health care.

7. US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, OFFICE OF DISABILITY, AGING AND LONG-TERM CARE POLICY REPORT: "Literature Review and Synthesis of Physician Practices in Nursing Homes," by Cari Levy, Anne Epstein, Lori-Ann Landry, Andrea Kramer, Jennie Harvell, and Charlene Liggings (October 2005, .pdf and HTML format, 35p.).

8. NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING NEWS RELEASE: "Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Study Launched Nationwide by the National Institutes of Health," (Feb. 9, 2006).

Quarter 2005," (February 2006, .pdf format, 6p.).


A. "Community grants to reduce impact of dementia," (February 6, 2006).

B. "$65 million more for employed carer respite services," (February 7, 2006).


A. "Canada's retirement income programs," (_The Daily_, February 7, 2006).

B. "Health Reports: How Healthy are Canadians?" contains a special supplement on the health of Canadian seniors called "Health at Older Ages," (Supplement to Vol. 16, February 2006, .pdf format, 67p.). Articles include:

- "Healthy living among seniors," by Margot Shields and Laurent Martel.
- "Dependency, chronic conditions and pain in seniors," by Heather Gilmour and Jungwee Park.
- "Seniors' health care use 2003," by Michelle Rotermann.
- "Successful aging in health care institutions," by Pamela L. Ramage-Morin.
- "Predictors of death in seniors," by Kathryn Wilkins.



A. "When the Nest Egg Cracks: Financial Consequences of Health Problems, Marital Status Changes, and Job Layoffs at Older Ages," by Richard W. Johnson, Gordon Mermin, and Cori E. Uccello (January 2006, .pdf format, 38p.).

B. "Saying Good-Bye: Relocating Senior Citizens in the HOPE VI Panel Study," by Robin E. Smith and Kadija Ferryman (Brief No. 10, January 2006, .pdf format, 7p.).


A. "The Effects of Investing the Social Security Trust Funds in GNMA Mortgage-Backed Securities," by Thomas Hungerford (2006-02, February 2006, .pdf format, 27p.).

B. "Trends in Manufacturer Prices of Prescription Drugs Used by Older Americans: Third Quarter 2005 Update," by David Gross, Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, and Susan Raetzman (February 2006, .pdf format, 14p.). Note: There is also an update for generic drug prices as well (2p.).

14. EMPLOYEE BENEFIT RESEARCH INSTITUTE BRIEF: "'Traditional' Pension Assets Lost Dominance a Decade Ago, IRAs and 401(k)s Have Long Been Dominant," by John Mac Donald (February 2006, .pdf format, 1p.).

15. METLIFE REPORT: "Alzheimer's Care: Supplemental Findings to the 2005 MetLife Market Surveys of Nursing Home/Home Care and Assisted Living Costs,"(February 2006, .pdf format, 4p.).

16. WORLD BANK REPORT: "Grandmothers Promote Maternal and Child Health: the Role of Indigenous Knowledge Systems' Managers," (IK Notes No. 89, February 2006, .pdf and HTML format, 4p.).




A. "Age-dependent cell death and the role of ATP in hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis and necrosis," by Noriyuki Miyoshi, Hammou Oubrahim, P. Boon Chock, and Earl R. Stadtman (Vol. 103, No. 6, February 7, 2006, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1727-1731). Note: _PNAS_ is providing this article free of charge.

B. "Calorie restriction induces mitochondrial biogenesis and bioenergetic efficiency," by G. López-Lluch, N. Hunt, B. Jones, M. Zhu, H. Jamieson, S. Hilmer, M. V. Cascajo, J. Allard, D. K. Ingram, P. Navas, and R. de Cabo (Vol. 103, No. 6, February 7, 2006, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1768-1773). Note: _PNAS_ is providing this article free of charge.

C. "Phospholipase D1 corrects impaired {beta}-APP trafficking and neurite outgrowth in familial Alzheimer's disease-linked presenilin-1 mutant neurons," by Dongming Cai, Minghao Zhong, Runsheng Wang, William J. Netzer, Dennis Shields, Hui Zheng, Sangram S. Sisodia, David A. Foster, Fred S. Gorelick, Huaxi Xu, and Paul Greengard (Vol. 103, No. 6, February 7, 2006, p. 1936-1940).

D. "Presenilin-1 uses phospholipase D1 as a negative regulator of {beta}-amyloid formation," by Dongming Cai, William J. Netzer, Minghao Zhong, Yixin Lin, Guangwei Du, Michael Frohman, David A. Foster, Sangram S. Sisodia, Huaxi Xu, Fred S. Gorelick, and Paul Greengard (Vol. 103, No. 6, February 7, 2006, p. 1941-1946).

E. "A-{beta} and tau form soluble complexes that may promote self aggregation of both into the insoluble forms observed in Alzheimer's disease," by Jian-Ping Guo, Tetsuaki Arai, Judit Miklossy, and Patrick L. McGeer (Vol. 103, No. 6, February 7, 2006, p. 1953-1958).

18. _JOURNAL OF PALLIATIVE MEDICINE_ SPECIAL ISSUE: "The proceedings of a National Institutes of Health 'State-of-the-Science on Improving End-of-Life Care' have been published in a special supplement (Volume 8, Supplement 1, 2005) of the Journal of Palliative Medicine". The supplement is available for free online at:

NIH Press Release:

19. _LANCET_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: Note: _Lancet_ requires free registration before providing content. "Statins and sepsis in patients with cardiovascular disease: a population-based cohort analysis," by Daniel G. Hackam, Muhammad Mamdani, Ping Li, and Donald A. Redelmeier (Vol. 367, No. 9508, February 4, 2006, p. 413-418).

20. _BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Long term outcomes from the IMPACT randomised trial for depressed elderly patients in primary care," by Enid M. Hunkeler, Wayne Katon, Lingqi Tang, John W. Williams, Jr., Kurt Kroenke, Elizabeth H B. Lin, Linda H. Harpole, Patricia Arean, Stuart Levine, Lydia M. Grypma, William A. Hargreaves, and Jürgen Unützer (Vol. 332, No. 7536, February 4, 2006, p. 259-263).


A. "Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Invasive Breast Cancer: The Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial," by Ross L. Prentice, (Vol. 295, No. 6, February 8, 2006, p. 629-642).

B. "Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Colorectal Cancer: The Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial," by Shirley A. A. Beresford, et. al. (Vol. 295, No. 6, February 8, 2006, p. 643-654).

C. "Low-Fat Dietary Pattern and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: The Women's Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial," by Barbara V. Howard, et. al. (Vol. 295, No. 6, February 8, 2006, p. 655-666).

D. "Meeting Palliative Care Needs in Post-Acute Care Settings: 'To Help Them Live Until They Die'," by Laura C. Hanson and Mary Ersek (Vol. 295, No. 6, February 8, 2006, p. 681-686).

22. _NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Saw Palmetto for Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia," by Stephen Bent, Christopher Kane, Katsuto Shinohara, John Neuhaus, Esther S. Hudes, Harley Goldberg, and Andrew L. Avins (Vol. 354, No. 6, February 9, 2006, p. 557-566).

23. HEALTH AND RETIREMENT STUDY NEWSLETTER: _HRS Data Users News: Fall 2005_ (February 2006, .pdf format, 10p.).

24. _US NEWS AND WORLD REPORTS_ ARTICLE: "Retirement Step by Step," by Paul J. Lim (February 13, 2006).

25. _NEWSWEEK_ ARTICLE: "Japanese retirees are choosing gardens over golf," by Hideko Takayama (_Newsweek International Edition_, February 13, 2006).


III. Working Papers:

26. UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN RETIREMENT RESEARCH CENTER: "On the Covariance Structure of Changes in Consumption in the Health and Retirement Study," by Michael Perry (WP 2005-112, February 2006, .pdf format, 25p.). Note: Links to the abstract and full-text can be found at:

27. OFFICE OF POPULATION RESEARCH [PRINCETON UNIVERSITY]: "Predicting Mortality from Standard and Nontraditional Biomarkers," by Noreen Goldman, Cassio M. Turra, Dana A. Glei, Christopher L. Seplaki, Yu-Hsuan Lin, and Maxine Weinstein (2006-01, 2006, .pdf format, p.).


Background: Few studies focus on "preclinical" warning signs associated with mortality. In this paper, we investigate associations between all-cause mortality and two clusters of biological risk factors: 1) standard clinical measures related to cardiovascular disease and metabolic function; and 2) nontraditional measures pertaining to hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity, sympathetic nervous system activity and inflammatory response.

Methods: Data come from the 2000 Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging Study, a national sample of Taiwanese ages 54 and older: 1497 persons were interviewed in their homes and 1023 participated in a hospital examination. The analysis is based on 927 respondents with complete information. Logistic regression models describe the association between biomarkers and the three-year probability of dying.

Results: Although both groups of biomarkers are significantly associated with mortality, a model with nontraditional biomarkers has better explanatory and discriminatory power than one with clinical measures. The association between the nontraditional measures and mortality remains strong after adjustment for the clinical markers, suggesting that the physiological effects of the nontraditional biomarkers are broader than those captured by the cardiovascular and metabolic system measures included here.

Conclusions: Nontraditional markers are likely to provide early warning signs of deteriorating health and function beyond what can be learned from conventional markers. Our findings are consistent with recent studies that 1) demonstrate the importance of neuroendocrine and immune system markers for survival, and 2) indicate that standard clinical variables are less predictive of mortality in older than in younger populations.

28. WHARTON SCHOOL [UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA] PENSION RESEARCH COUNCIL: "The Inattentive Participant: Portfolio Trading Behavior in 401(k) Plans," by Olivia S. Mitchell, Gary R. Mottola, Stephen P. Utkus, and Takeshi Yamaguchi (WP 2006-05, 2006, .pdf format, 38p.).


Most workers in defined contribution retirement plans are inattentive portfolio managers: only a few engage in any trading at all, and only a tiny minority trades actively. Using a rich new dataset on 1.2 million workers in over 1,500 plans, we find that most 401(k) plan participants are characterized by profound inertia. Almost all participants (80%) initiate no trades, and an additional 11% makes only a single trade, in a two-year period. Even among traders, portfolio turnover rates are one-third the rate of professional money managers. Those who trade in their 401(k) plans are more affluent older men, with higher incomes and longer job tenure. They tend to use the internet for 401(k) account access, hold a larger number of investment options, and are more likely to hold active equity funds rather than index or lifecycle funds. Some plan features, including offering own-employer stock, also raise trading levels.


A. "The Importance of Default Options for Retirement Savings Outcomes: Evidence from the United States," by John Beshears, James J. Choi, David Laibson, and Brigitte C. Madrian (Working Paper No. w12009, February 2006, .pdf format, 38p.).


This paper summarizes the empirical evidence on how defaults impact retirement savings outcomes. After outlining the salient features of the various sources of retirement income in the U.S., the paper presents the empirical evidence on how defaults impact retirement savings outcomes at all stages of the savings lifecycle, including savings plan participation, savings rates, asset allocation, and post-retirement savings distributions. The paper then discusses why defaults have such a tremendous impact on savings outcomes. The paper concludes with a discussion of the role of public policy towards retirement saving when defaults matter.

B. "Perverse Incentives in the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit," by David McAdams and Michael Schwarz (Working Paper No. w12008, February 2006, .pdf format, 19p.)


We analyze some of the perverse incentives that may arise under the current Medicare prescription drug benefit design. In particular, risk adjustment for a stand-alone prescription drug benefit creates perverse incentives for prescription drug plans' coverage decisions and/or pharmaceutical companies' pricing decisions. This problem is new in that it does not arise with risk adjustment for other types of health care coverage. For this and other reasons, Medicare's drug benefit requires especially close regulatory oversight, now and in the future. We also consider a relatively minor change in how the benefit is financed that could lead to significant changes in how it functions. In particular, if all plans were required to charge the same premium, there would be less diversity in quality but also less budgetary uncertainty and less upward pressure on drug prices.

C. "Life is Cheap: Using Mortality Bonds to Hedge Aggregate Mortality Risk," by Leora Friedberg and Anthony Webb (Working Paper No. w11984, February 2006, .pdf format, 35p.).


Using the widely-cited Lee-Carter mortality model, we quantify aggregate mortality risk as the risk that the average annuitant lives longer than is predicted by the model, and we conclude that annuity business exposes insurance companies to substantial mortality risk. We calculate that a markup of 3.7% on an annuity premium (or else shareholders' capital equal to 3.7% of the expected present value of annuity payments) would reduce the probability of insolvency resulting from uncertain aggregate mortality trends to 5% and a markup of 5.4% would reduce the probability of insolvency to 1%. Using the same model, we find that a projection scale commonly referred to by the insurance industry underestimates aggregate mortality improvements. Annuities that are priced on that projection scale without any conservative margin appear to be substantially underpriced. Insurance companies could deal with aggregate mortality risk by transferring it to financial markets through mortality-contingent bonds, one of which has recently been offered. We calculate the returns that investors would have obtained on such bonds had they been available over a long period. Using both the Capital and the Consumption Capital Asset Pricing Models, we determine the risk premium that investors would have required on such bonds. At plausible coefficients of risk aversion, annuity providers should be able to hedge aggregate mortality risk via such bonds at a very low cost.

30. ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT: "Projecting OECD health and long-term care expenditures: what are the main drivers?" (Economic Department Working Paper No. 477, February 2006, .pdf format, 81p.).


This paper proposes a comprehensive framework for projecting public heath and long-term care expenditures. Notably, it considers the impact of demographic and non-demographic effects for both health and long-term care. Compared with other studies, the paper extends the demographic drivers by incorporating death-related costs and the health status of the population. Concerning non-demographic drivers of health care, the projection method accounts for income elasticity and a residual effect of technology and relative prices. For long-term care, the effects of increased labour participation, reducing informal care, and wage inflation are taken into account. Using this integrated approach, public health and long-term care expenditure are projected for all OECD countries for the years 2025 and 2050. Alternative scenarios are simulated, in particular a 'cost-pressure' and 'cost-containment' scenario, together with sensitivity analysis. Depending on the scenarios, the total health and long-term care spending is projected to increase on average across OECD countries in the range of 3.5 to 6 percentage points of GDP for the period 2005-2050.

31. NETHERLANDS CENTRAL BANK [AMSTERDAM]: "Pension Insurance," by Zvi Bodie (DNB Working Paper No. 66, December 2005, .pdf format, 18p.).


Around the world today there are striking differences in pension systems. The roles played by families, employers, trade unions, financial intermediaries, community organizations, affiliation groups, and governmental agencies vary tremendously. Yet despite these differences, in almost every country the government is ultimately the pension insurer of last resort, either explicitly or implicitly. If designed well and managed well, a system of government pension insurance can enhance the wellbeing of the individuals served by it and even contribute towards the resilience of the financial system at large. But if designed or managed poorly, it can undermine economic security at both the micro and macro level. This paper explores the principles for the successful management of pension insurance and draws some lessons from the mistakes made by the U.S. government in managing its Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.


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

32. Journals of Gerontology (A) Biological and Medical Sciences (Vol. 61, No. 1, January 2006). Note: Full electronic text of these journals is available in the ProQuest Research Library. Check your library for the availability of this database and these issues.

33. Journal of Pension Economics and Finance (Vol. 5, No. 1, March 2006).


34. 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.

International Journal of Ageing and Human Development (Vol. 62, No. 1, 2006).


35. 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 February 8, 2006:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of February 8, 2006:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of February 8, 2006:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of February 8, 2006:

E. Stem Cell Research: Literature for the week of February 8, 2006:

F. Ophthalmology: Literature for the week of February 8, 2006:

AMEDEO Literature Guide:


V. Funding Opportunities:


A. "Request for Information (RFI): Nomination of Knockout Mice for Deposition in Public Repositories," (National Institute on Aging, in conjunction with other agencies, NOT-DA-06-008, January 31, 2006).

B. "Extension of Bioengineering Research Grant (BRG) Program Announcement (PA-02-011)," (National Institute on Aging, in conjunction with other agencies, NOT-EB-06-006, February 3, 2006).

C. "April IACUC 101 and 201 Workshops in Richmond, Virginia," (NOT-OD-06-034, February 1, 2006).


VI. Conferences:

37. LEVY ECONOMICS INSTITUTE OF BARD COLLEGE: "Government Spending on the Elderly: A Conference of The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College," (April 28-29, 2006).

38. RETIREMENT SECURITY PROJECT/HERITAGE FOUNDATION/AARP: "A New Approach to Increase Retirement Security Through Universal IRAs," will be held February 14, 2006. "Mark Iwry of The Retirement Security Project and David John of The Heritage Foundation will propose a new plan for Universal IRAs that would provide a relatively simple, cost-effective way to increase retirement security for the estimated 71 million workers without plan coverage. While reforms currently being debated would improve employer-sponsored plans, this proposal - the Universal IRA - is another way that employees of smaller businesses can choose to save for retirement by allowing them to have their employers regularly transfer an amount from their paycheck to an IRA."

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


VII. Legislation Information Updates:

40. US SENATE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE HEARING TESTIMONY: "Implementation of the New Medicare Drug Benefit," a hearing held February 8, 2006.

Hearing testimony:


VIII. Websites of Interest:

41. WLS BIBLIOGRAPHY UPDATES: This citation, along with all of the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study bibliography, can be found at:

Brand, Jennie Lowry. 2000. "Matching on Propensity Scores to Estimate the Effects of Graduating from an Elite College on Early- and Mid-Career Outcomes." University of Wisconsin-Madison.




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