Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #359--October 19, 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:


NOTE!!!!! There will be no CAAR Report next week, October 26, 2006 due to an office move. This service will resume November 2, 2006. Enjoy the break.


I. Data:

1. HEALTH AND RETIREMENT STUDY: "2004 HRS Core (Final Release, Version 1.0)," (October 17, 2006). Note: This release includes updates to 5 cases.


II. Reports and articles:

2. US SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, OFFICE OF POLICY REPORT: "Income of the Aged Chartbook, 2004," (September 2006, HTML and .pdf format, 28p.).

3. US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT: "Review of Medicare Contractor Information Security Program Evaluations for Fiscal Year 2004," (A-18-05-02600, Sept. 2006, .pdf format, 35p.).


Our objectives were to (1) assess the scope and sufficiency of Medicare contractor information security program evaluations and data center technical assessments and (2) report the results of those evaluations and assessments.  We found that the scope of the contractor information security program evaluations adequately encompassed the eight major requirements enumerated in the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).  Also, the scope of the data center technical assessments was adequate for testing information security controls.  The work performed to evaluate contractor information security programs was sufficient to fully address the FISMA requirements referenced in Section 912 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, and the information included in the evaluation reports was supported by documented evidence.  The documentation supporting the tests of information security controls for a subset of systems was generally sufficient to support the results reported in the technical assessment reports.  Regarding the results of evaluations and assessments, in 32 evaluation reports, auditors identified a total of 217 gaps between FISMA or Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) core security requirements and the contractors' implementation of those requirements.  In addition, the 14 data center technical assessment reports prepared by CMS's security consultant identified 412 gaps across all 14 data centers.  CMS generally agreed with the information we presented.

4. US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR PLANNING AND EVALUATION REPORT: "Evaluation Design of the Business Case of Health Technology in Long-Term Care: Final Report," (July 2006, .pdf and HTML format, 73p.).

5. MEDICAL PANEL EXPENDITURE SURVEY STATISTICAL BRIEF: "Trends in Brand Name and Generic Prescribed Medicine Utilization and Expenditures, 1999 and 2003," by Marie N. Stagnitti (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Statistical Brief No. 144, October 2006, .pdf format, 5p.).

6. US SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION PRESS RELEASE: "Social Security Announces 3.3 Percent Benefit Increase for 2007," (October 18, 2006).

7. US NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING PRESS RELEASE: "New Alzheimer's Clinical Trials To Be Undertaken by NIA Nationwide Consortium," (October 17, 2006).

8. US NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH PRESS RELEASE: "NCI Releases Preliminary Data on Genetic Susceptibility for Prostate Cancer," (October 17, 2006).

9. CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH AT BOSTON COLLEGE ISSUE BRIEF: "How Do Age Discrimination Laws Affect Older Workers?" by Joanna Lahey (WOB No. 5, October 2006, .pdf format, 8p.).

10. KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION REPORT: "Low Medicaid Spending Growth Amid Rebounding State Revenues: Results From a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey State Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007," by Vernon Smith, Kathleen Gifford, Eileen Ellis, Amy Wiles, Robin Rudowitz, Molly O'Malley and Caryn Marks (October 2006, .pdf format, 90p.).

11. AARP REPORT: "Preparing for an Aging Workforce: A Focus on New Hampshire Employers," by Brittne M. Nelson and Katherine Bridges (October 2006, .pdf format, 31p.).

12. METLIFE MATURE MARKET INSTITUTE REPORT: "Memory Screening: Who Attends and Why : A Survey of Participants at National Memory Screening Day,"(October 2006, .pdf format, 11p.).

13. NEW ZEALAND MINISTRY OF HEALTH/MANATU HAUORA WORKSHOP REPORTS: "Health of Older People in New Zealand: National Workshop 2006," a workshop held Sep. 26, 2006 (.pdf and Microsoft Word format). "Hon Pete Hodgson, Minister of Health, hosted a national workshop on the Health of Older People on 26 September 2006. The meeting's purpose was to bring together perspectives from all parts of the aged care sector--consumers, providers, planners and funders, and policy advisors--so that the sector can collectively and collaboratively consider the future direction of services for older people. Copies of the agenda, presentations and workshop evaluation are available."

14. KOREAN NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE NEWS RELEASE: "2006 Statistics on the Aged," (October 2006, HTML format).

15. NATURE ARTICLE ABSTRACT: This week's issue of Nature contains a special supplement on Neruodegeneration. Some of the featured articles include:

A. "A network dysfunction perspective on neurodegenerative diseases," by Jorge J. Palop, Jeannie Chin and Lennart Mucke (Vol. 443, No. 7113, October 19, 2006, p. 768-773).

B. "A century-old debate on protein aggregation and neurodegeneration enters the clinic," by Peter T. Lansbury and Hilal A. Lashue (Vol. 443, No. 7113, October 19, 2006, p. 774-779).

C. "The roles of intracellular protein-degradation pathways in neurodegeneration," by David C. Rubinsztein (Vol. 443, No. 7113, October 19, 2006, p. 780-786).

D. "Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in neurodegenerative diseases," by Michael T. Lin and M. Flint Beal (Vol. 443, No. 7113, October 19, 2006, p. 787-795).

E. "Cell death in the nervous system," by Dale E. Bredesen, Rammohan V. Rao and Patrick Mehlen (Vol. 443, No. 7113, October 19, 2006, p. 796-802).

16. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Intrinsic apoptotic and thioredoxin pathways in human prostate cancer cell response to histone deacetylase inhibitor," by Weisheng Xu, Lang Ngo, Gisela Perez, Milos Dokmanovic, and Paul A. Marks (Vol. 103, No. 42, October 17, 2006, .pdf and HTML format, p. 15540-15545). Note: _PNAS_ is providing "open access" to the full-text of this article.

17. MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY WEEKLY REPORTS ARTICLE: "Prevalence of Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation --- United States, 2003--2005," (Vol. 50, No. 40, October 13, 2006, .pdf and HTML format, p. 1089-1092).




A. "National Surveillance of Emergency Department Visits for Outpatient Adverse Drug Events," by Daniel S. Budnitz, Daniel A. Pollock, Kelly N. Weidenbach, Aaron B. Mendelsohn, Thomas J. Schroeder, and Joseph L. Annest (Vol. 296, NO. 15, October 18, 2006, p. 1858-1866).

B. "Use of Nesiritide Before and After Publications Suggesting Drug-Related Risks in Patients With Acute Decompensated Heart Failure," by Paul J. Hauptman, Mark A. Schnitzler, Jason Swindle, and Thomas E. Burroughs (Vol. 296, NO. 15, October 18, 2006, p. 1877-1884).

19. NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "DHEA in Elderly Women and DHEA or Testosterone in Elderly Men," by K. Sreekumaran Nair, Robert A. Rizza, Peter O'Brien, Ketan Dhatariya, Kevin R. Short, Ajay Nehra, Janet L. Vittone, George G. Klee, Ananda Basu, Rita Basu, Claudio Cobelli, Gianna Toffolo, Chiara Dalla Man, Donald J. Tindall, L. Joseph Melton, III, Glenn E. Smith, Sundeep Khosla, and Michael D. Jensen (Vol. 355, No. 15, October 19, 2006, p. 1647-1659).


III. Working Papers:


A. "What Drove First Year Premiums in Stand-Alone Medicare Drug Plans?" by Kosali I. Simon and Claudio Lucarelli (Working Paper No. w12595, October 2006, .pdf format, 37p.)


Medicare's Part D offers heavily subsidized new drug coverage to 22.5 million seniors to date, of whom 16.5 million are in stand-alone drug plans (Department of Health and Human Services, 2006). The government delegated the delivery of the benefit to private insurance companies arguing that market incentives would lead them to provide coverage at the lowest price possible. The massive entry of plans and the large variety of actuarial designs and formularies offered make it complicated to assess how insurers set premiums during this first year of the program. This paper presents the first econometric evidence on whether premiums in the stand-alone drug plan markets are driven by the relevant factors predicted by insurance theory. Using data gathered from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, we measure a plan's generosity as the simulated out of pocket payments for different sets of drugs. We also identify the listed full drug prices by each insurer and merge these with other plan and geographical characteristics to test predictions about how insurers set premiums. We find evidence that a) the number of insurers in a market is big enough such that it does not appear to influence premiums, b) the full drug prices listed appear to be reflected to some degree in the premiums charged c) plan characteristics such as the provision of extra coverage are reflected in higher premiums, but overall there is a weak relationship between premiums and simulated out of pocket payments for different sets of drugs d) the institutional setting and regional market characteristics affect the firms' bidding behavior and their resulting premiums. Insurers appear to have responded strongly to program incentives such as the automatic enrollment of dual Medicaid-Medicare beneficiaries into low cost plans. As data for 2007 are made available, it will be important to see if plans follow similar pricing strategies in subsequent years of this program.

B. "Defined Contribution Plans, Defined Benefit Plans, and the Accumulation of Retirement Wealth by James Poterba, Joshua Rauh, Steven Venti, and David Wise (Working Paper No. w12597, October 2006, .pdf format, 37p.)


The private pension structure in the United States, once dominated by defined benefit (DB) plans, is currently divided between defined contribution (DC) and DB plans. Wealth accumulation in DC plans depends on the participant's contribution behavior and on financial market returns, while accumulation in DB plans is sensitive to a participant's labor market experience and to plan parameters. This paper simulates the distribution of retirement wealth, as well as the average level of such wealth, under representative DB and DC plans. The analysis considers the role of asset returns, earnings histories, and retirement plan characteristics using data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). To simulate wealth in DC plans, individuals are randomly assigned a share of wages that they and their employer contribute to the plan. The analysis considers several possible asset allocation strategies, with asset returns drawn from the historical return distribution. The DB plan simulations draw earnings histories from the HRS, and randomly assign each individual a pension plan drawn from a sample of large private and public defined benefit plans. The simulations yield distributions of both DC and DB wealth at retirement as well as estimates of the certainty-equivalent wealth associated with representative DB and DC pension structures. The results suggest that average retirement wealth accruals under current DC plans exceed average accruals under private sector DB plans, although the heterogeneity in both types of plans implies many deviations from this rule. The comparison of current DC plans with more generous public sector DB plans is less definitive, because public sector DB plans are more generous on average than their private sector counterparts. The ranking of the expected value of retirement wealth accruals, and the certainty equivalent of those accruals, for these two classes of plans is sensitive to assumptions about the asset allocation rules of the DC plan participant.

21. MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH [ROSTOCK, GERMANY]: "The impact of health behaviors and life quality on gender differences in mortality," by Marc Luy and Paola Di Giulio (WP-2006-035, October 2006, .pdf format, 36p.).


Since gender-specific mortality differences are known a great deal of research has been conducted on this subject. The resulting hypotheses for explaining male excess mortality can be sub-divided into two basic categories: the biological approach (focusing on biological and genetic factors) and the non-biological approach (focusing on behavioral and environmental factors). It has been proven impossible to explain the observed trends in mortality differences between women and men by relying solely on one of the two groups of theories. Recent studies indicate that the majority of the female survival advantage can be attributed to gender behaviors while the impact of biological factors seems to be limited to 1-2 years in life expectancy at birth. The main goal of this paper is to analyze the impact of gender-specific health behaviors and gender differences in life quality using micro level data for Western Germany.

22. INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF LABOR (IZA) [UNIVERSITY OF BONN, GERMANY]: "Pension Investments in Employer Stock," by William E. Even and David A. Macpherson (Discussion Paper No. 2376, October 2006, .pdf format, 48p.).


This study examines the consequences of a pension fund investing in the stock of the sponsoring firm. Using a merger of data on pension asset holdings from IRS Form 5500 filings and financial data on the company's stock from CRSP, two broad questions are addressed: First, what factors influence the extent of a pension fund's investments in the employer's stock? Second, when a pension invests in the employer's stock, how much is lost as a result of poor diversification? The empirical results suggest that investments in employer stock are responsive to non-diversification costs, tax consequences, and employee ability to diversify the risk. There is also evidence that employers and employees weight these factors differentially in their decision of how much employer stock to include in the pension. Using actual return data on pension plans, we also find that concentrated investments in employer stock substantially reduce risk-adjusted return performance.

23. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS OF AN AGING POPULATION (SEDAP) [MCMASTER UNIVERSITY]: "Physician Labour Supply in Canada: a Cohort Analysis," by Thomas F. Crossley, Jeremiah Hurley, and Sung-Hee Jeon (SEDAP Working Paper No. 162, Sept. 2006, .pdf format, 37p.).


This paper employs cohort analysis to examine the relative importance of different factors in explaining changes in the number of hours spent in direct patient care by Canadian general/ family practitioners (GP/FPs) over the period 1982 to 2002. Cohorts are defined by year of graduation from medical school. The results for male GP/FPs indicate that: there is little age effect on hours of direct patient care, especially among physicians aged 35 to 55; there is no strong cohort effect on hours of direct patient care; but there is a secular decline in hours of direct patient care over the period. The results for female GP/FPs indicate that: female physicians on average work fewer hours than male physicians; there is a clear age effect on hours of direct patient care; there is no strong cohort effect; there has been little secular change in average hours of direct patient care. The changing behaviour of male GP/FPs accounted for a greater proportion of the overall decline in hours of direct patient care from the 80's through the mid 90's than did the growing proportion of female GP/FPs in the physician stock.

24. DE NEDERLANDSCHE BANK (NETHERLANDS CENTRAL BANK, RESEARCH DEPARTMENT) [AMSTERDAM]: "Do changes in pension incentives affect retirement? A stated preferences approach to Dutch retirement consideration," by Allard Bruinshoof and Sybille Grob (Working Paper No. 115, September 2006, .pdf format, 34p.).


The empirical connection between financial incentives and retirement decisions largely derives from revealed preferences in cross-sectional settings. This raises the issue to what extent unobserved tastes for retirement - which may correlate with job selection and through that route with financial incentives - play a role and can be controlled for. Using a stated rather than a revealed preferences approach, we contribute to this debate. Fielding a survey questionnaire in the Dutch DNB Household Survey we derive empirical estimates of pension adjustment and pension wealth effects. Our main finding is that retrenchments of pension arrangements to the effect of raising the standard retirement age by 1 year induce people on average to postpone retirement by about half a year. Retirement postponement varies across people, depending prominently on earnings and non-pension wealth; affluent people are more likely to capitalize on increased pension wealth through earlier retirement, whereas they more readily accept a lower pension benefit in case of a decrease in pension wealth.


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

25. Age and Ageing (Vol. 35, No. 6, November 2006).

26. Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association (Vol. 2, No. 4, October 2006).

27. Health Economics, Policy and Law (Vol. 1, No. 4, October 2006).

28. Journal of Applied Gerontology (Vol. 25, No. 5, November 2006). Note: Full electronic text of these journals 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 these issues.

29. 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 October 18, 2006:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of October 18, 2006:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of October 18, 2006:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of October 18, 2006:

E. Stem Cell Research: Literature for the week of October 18, 2006:

F. Ophthalmology: Literature for the week of October 18, 2006:

AMEDEO Literature Guide:


V. Funding Opportunities/Fellowships:

30. EUROPEAN CENTRE FOR SOCIAL WELFARE POLICY AND RESEARCH [VIENNA, AUSTRIA]: "Research Fellow in Ageing-related Economic and Social Research". The deadline for consideration is December 8, 2006. For more information about the position:


VI. Websites of Interest:

31. US NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: NIH has recently updated their NIHSeniorHealth site to include information about accidental falls.

32. FAMILY CAREGIVING ALLIANCE: FCA has recently updated their "Caregiving Across the States: A State-by-State Resource" database. "The information is presented in a separate profile for each state and the District of Columbia. Updated data are reflected in the Selected State Background Characteristics sections of the state profiles. NEW state-by-state data include:"

- Where Caregivers Call to Arrange for Help
- Medicaid Spending on Long-Term Care
- Average Assisted Living Monthly Cost
- Median Hourly Wages for Home and Health Care Workers
- Medicare Prescription Drug Plans

In addition, key updates for each state include:

- Population Statistics for Adults Age 60+
- State-Specific Caregiver Statistics
- Number of Certified Nursing Facilities
- Percent of Adults (21+) with a Disability




Charlie Fiss
Information Manager
Center for Demography and Ecology and
Center for Demography of Health and Aging
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Phone: (608) 265-9240
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