Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #456--September 25, 2008

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:

1. US SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION REPORT: "Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2008-2013" (September 2008, .39p.).


2. US CENSUS BUREAU REPORT: "The Geographic Distribution and Characteristics of Older Workers In Oregon: 2004," by Cynthia Taeuber and Matthew R. Graham (LED-OW04-OR, September 2008, .pdf format, 12p.).

Scroll to "...Characteristics of Older Workers In Oregon: 2004".


3. US NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS REPORT: " Early Release of Selected Estimates Based on Data From the January-March 2008 National Health Interview Survey" (September 2008, .pdf format, 104p.). Part 12,"Personal Care Needs" may be of interest to researchers in aging.


4. US CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE REPORT: "Older Workers: Employment and Retirement Trends," by Patrick Purcell (September 2008, .pdf format, 16p.).


5. US GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE REPORT: "Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation: Some Steps Have Been Taken to Improve Contracting, but a More Strategic Approach Is Needed" (GAO-08-871, August 2008, .pdf format, 39p.).


6. US DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY, INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION REPORT: "A More Strategic and Consistent Approach to Estimating Retirements and Other Separations Is Needed to Better Plan for Future Human Resource Needs," (August 2008).


7. US SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION REPORT: " Protecting Senior Investors: Compliance, Supervisory and Other Practices Used by Financial Services Firms in Serving Investors" (September 2008, .pdf format, 22p.). The report is linked to from a SEC press release: "Regulators Release New Report to Assist Financial Services Firms in Serving Older Investors" (Sep. 22, 2008).

Click on title in the third paragraph of the news release for link to full text.



A. "Provider Relationships and the Use of Magnetic Resonance Under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule" (OEI-01-06-00261, September 2008, .pdf format, 59p.).


When doctors who ordered magnetic resonance (MR) services and the parties involved in providing them were connected through a medical practice or business relationship, those services were provided differently than other services. MR enables doctors to diagnose and treat patients by providing detailed images of tissues and blood vessels deep inside the body. Previous Office of Inspector General work documented a more than fourfold increase in MR services paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) between 1995 and 2005.

We found that MR services paid under the MPFS were ordered, performed, and billed in a consistent manner regardless of whether they were ordered by high users. However, one-quarter of MR services paid under the MPFS in 2005 featured connections between the doctors who ordered services and the parties involved in providing them. These services were more likely to have been ordered by high users of MR and differed from other services by which specialties ordered, performed, billed, and received Medicare payment for them. They also were more likely to have been billed as technical component only and to have had payment reassigned.

We concluded that the complexity and limited transparency with which MR services are provided warrants continued attention to ensure that services are reasonable, necessary, and compliant with Medicare statutes and regulations. We made no recommendations to the Centers for Medicare& Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS agreed with our findings and conclusion. It outlined regulatory steps it has recently taken to address overutilization of diagnostic testing services.

B. "Advisory Opinion document 08-11 (concerning the waiving of cost-sharing obligations for protocol-required clinical services and oxygen therapy provided to Medicare beneficiaries who participate in the Long-term Oxygen Treatment Trial sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) (OIG Advisory Opinion 08-11, September 2008, .pdf format, 11p.).


9. US CENTER FOR MEDICARD AND MEDICAID SERVICES NEWS RELEASE: "CMS Reminds Medicare Beneficiaries to Review and Compare Their Current Drug Coverage" (Sep. 25, 2008).


10. US ADMINISTRATION ON AGING PRESS RELEASE: "Celebrating Healthy Aging" (Sep. 20, 2008).



A. "Testing the distribution of first 33,000 ACFI (Aged Care Funding Instrument) appraisals" (September 2008, .pdf format, 27p.).

B. "Tough measures against Gippsland nursing home - protecting frail and aged residents" (Sep. 19, 2008, HTML and .pdf format, 2p.).

C. "Quality Standards for Aboriginal Aged Care" (Sep. 22, 2008, HTML and .pdf format, 3p.).

D. "Aged Care Commissioner asked to examine -- Docker River Flexible Aboriginal Aged Care Service" (Sep. 22, 2008, HTML and .pdf format, 1p.).

E. "Australian Government takes action on two Aboriginal nursing homes" (Sep. 23, 2008, HTML and .pdf format, 2p.).


12. STATISTICS CANADA/STATISTIQUE CANADA REPORT: "Residential Care Facilities: 2006/07" (September 2008, HTML and .pdf format, 123p.).


13. UK DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS RESEARCH REPORT: "State Pension deferral: public awareness and attitudes," by Nick Coleman, Rosie McLeod, Oliver Norden and Alice Coulter (Research Report 526, 2008, .pdf format, 79p.).


14. UK NATIONAL STATISTICS OFFICE REPORT: "Occupational Pension Schemes 2007," edited by Sarah Levy (September 2008, .pdf format, 69p.).


15. NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SENIOR SERVICES REPORT: "2005 Municipality-Level Deaths by Selected Characteristics" (September 2008, .pdf and Microsoft Excel format, 35p.). The characteristics are: Sex, Race/Ethnicity, & Age, and Cause of Death.



A. "A First Look at Older Americans and the Mortgage Crisis," by Alison Shelton (September 2008, .pdf format, 6p.).

B. "Rx Watchdog Report: Trends in Prices of Prescription Drugs Used by Medicare Beneficiaries," by David J. Gross, Stephen W. Schondelmeyer, and Leigh Purvis (September 2008, .pdf format). Reports on "Brand Name Prescription Drugs," "Generic Prescription Drugs," and "Specialty Prescription Drugs" are linked to at the bottom of the page.

C. "Undecided Voters in the November Presidential Election: A National Survey," by Jeffrey Love (September 2008, .pdf format, 14p.).

D. AARP the Magazine (November/December 2008). Selected articles, including "AARPs Best Employers for Workers Over 50 list" are available at the site.

E. The following Prime Time Radio shows (RealPlayer format, running time, between 23 and 30 minutes) have been added to the PTR site:

The Remarkable Life of Shlomo Breznitz--Sep. 23, 2008.

Master Swimmer: Sue Walsh--Sep. 23, 2008.

Note: this is a temporary address. When new PTR shows are released, these will be available at:


17. DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH ARTICLE: "The influence of parents on cohabitation in Italy - Insights from two regional contexts," by Christin Schrer (Vol. 19, Article 48, September 2008, .pdf format, p. 1693-1726). Links to an abstract and full text are available at the site.


18. WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM REPORT: "Financing Demographic Shifts: Pension and Healthcare Scenarios to 2030," by Bernd Jan Sikken, Nicholas Davis, Chiemi Hayashi, and Heli Olkkonen (September 2008, .pdf format, 116p.).

More information about WEF:


19. COMMONWEALTH FUND ISSUE BRIEF: "The Continuing Cost of Privatization: Extra Payments to Medicare Advantage," by Brian Biles, Emily Adrion, and Stuart Guterman (No. 43, September 2008, .pdf format, 15p.). A chartpack (.pdf and Microsoft PowerPoint format, 4p./slides) is also available at the site.

More information on CF:



A. "Vision Loss" (September 2008).

B. "Caregiving and Ambiguous Loss" (September 2008).

C. _California Caregiver e-newsletter_ (Vol. 3, No. 4, September 2008).

D. Caregiving PolicyDigest (Vol. 8, No. 19, Sep. 24, 2008).

More information about FCA:


21. URBAN INSTITUTE REPORT: "Boomers at the Bottom: How Will Low Income Boomers Cope with Retirement," by Barbara Butrica, Eric Toder, and Desmond Toohey (September 2008, .pdf format, 84p.).


22. KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION MEDICARE ISSUE BRIEF: "How Does the Benefit Value of Medicare Compare to the Benefit Value of Typical Large Employer Plans?" by Dale Yamamoto, Tricia Neuman, and Michelle Kitchman Strollo (September 2008, .pdf format, 16p.).


23. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "The Parkinson's disease genes _pink1_ and _parkin_ promote mitochondrial fission and/or inhibit fusion in Drosophila," by Hansong Deng, Mark W. Dodson, Haixia Huang, and Ming Guo (Vol. 105, No. 38, Sep. 23, 2008, p. 14503-14508).



A. "The insulin paradox: aging, proteotoxicity and neurodegeneration," by Ehud Cohen and Andrew Dillin (Vol. 9, No. 10, October 2008, p. 759-767).

B. "Thirty years of Alzheimer's disease genetics: the implications of systematic meta-analyses," by Lars Bertram and Rudolph E. Tanzi (Vol. 9, No. 10, October 2008, p. 768-778).


25. SCIENCE ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Clusters of Hyperactive Neurons Near Amyloid Plaques in a Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease," by Marc Aurel Busche, Gerhard Eichhoff, Helmuth Adelsberger, Dorothee Abramowski, Karl-Heinz Wiederhold, Christian Haass, Matthias Staufenbiel, Arthur Konnerth, and Olga Garaschuk (Vol.321, No. 5896, Sep. 19, 2008, p. 1686-1689).



A. "Prostate Cancer Screening," by Bridget M. Kuehn (Health Agencies Update extract, Vol. 300, No. 12, Sep. 24, 2008, p. 1403).

B. "Low Levels of Awareness of Pharmaceutical Cost-Assistance Programs Among Inner-City Seniors," by Alex D. Federman, Dana Gelb Safran, Salomeh Keyhani, Albert L. Siu, and Ethan A. Halm (Research Letter extract, Vol. 300, No. 12, Sep. 24, 2008, p. 1412-1414).


27. BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL NEWS EXTRACT: "Spain may legalise assisted suicide, health minister says," by Tiago Villanueva (BMJ 2008;337:a1697, Sep. 17, 2008).


II. Working Papers:

28. NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH: "The Intergenerational Transfer of Public Pension Promises," by Robert Novy-Marx and Joshua D. Rauh (w14343, September 2008, .pdf format, 41p.).


The value of pension promises already made by US state governments will grow to approximately 7.9 trillion dollars in 15 years. We study investment strategies of state pension plans and estimate the distribution of future funding outcomes. We conservatively predict a 50% chance of aggregate underfunding greater than 750 billion dollars and a 25% chance of at least $1.75 trillion (in 2005 dollars). Adjusting for risk, the true intergenerational transfer is substantially larger. Insuring both taxpayers against funding deficits and plan participants against benefit reductions would cost almost 2 trillion dollars today, even though governments portray state pensions as almost fully funded.


29. MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH: "A Missing Composite Covariate In Survival Analysis: A Case Study Of The Chinese Longitudinal Health And Longevity Survey," by Francesco Lagona and Zhen Zhang (WP 2008-022, September 2008, pdf format, 9p).


We estimate a Cox proportional hazards model where one of the covariates measures the level of a subject's cognitive functioning by grading the total score obtained by the subject on the items of a questionnaire. A case study is presented where the sample includes partial respondents, who did not answer some or all of the questionnaire items. The total score takes hence the form of an interval-censored variable and, as a result, the level of cognitive functioning is missing on some subjects. We handle partial respondents by taking a likelihood-based approach where survival time is jointly modelled with the censored total score and the size of the censoring interval. Parameter estimates are obtained by an E-M-type algorithm that essentially reduces to the iterative maximization of three complete log-likelihood functions derived from two augmented datasets with case weights, alternated with weights updating. This methodology is exploited to assess the Mini Mental State Examination index as a prognostic factor of survival in a sample of Chinese older adults.


30. NATIONAL CENTRE FOR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC MODELLING (NATSEM) [UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA]: "Old, Single and Poor: Using Microsimulation and Microdata to Analyse Poverty and the Impact of Policy Change Among Older Australians," by Robert Tanton, Yogi Vidyattama, Justine McNamara, Quoc Ngu Vu and Ann Harding (United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research [WIDER] Conference on Frontiers of Poverty Analysis, Helsinki Online Conference Paper CP124 September 2008, .pdf format, 29p.).


In recent months in Australia there has been extended debate about whether the age pension is sufficiently high to allow older Australians to attain an acceptable standard of living. This paper uses microdata and NATSEM's microsimulation models to examine the spatial distribution of poverty among older single people and to test the likely impact upon national and small area poverty rates of an increase in the single age pension rate.

The paper provides an illustration of the usefulness of microsimulation models to policy makers. Changes in a country's tax and transfer systems can have a large effect on incomes, and can be targeted towards increasing incomes for the poor, thus reducing poverty rates. However, governments need an estimate of the extent to which a proposed policy change is likely to affect poverty rates, in order to be able to compare different proposals. Microsimulation models allow this comparison of proposed policies and can provide governments with an appreciation of how much a new policy is likely to cost; how many and what types of low income people will benefit; and the extent of any consequent reduction in the poverty rate. Until recently, microsimulation models have been able to estimate the effects of such changes only at a national or very broad regional level. The National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the University of Canberra in Australia has now linked its tax/transfer microsimulation model (STINMOD) to spatially disaggregated census data, producing a spatial microsimulation model which can be used to identify the neighbourhood effects of policy changes for small areas.


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

31. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics (Vol. 47, No. 3, November/December 2008).

32. Journal of Aging and Health (Vol. 20, No. 7, October 2008). 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.

33. Journal of Aging and Social Policy (Vol. 20, No. 3, 2008).

Click on "Complete Contents for Current & Past Volumes" on the right side of the page.

34. Medical Care (Vol. 46, No. 10, October 2008). This is a special theme issue on "Health Insurance in the United States."


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 Sep. 24, 2008:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of Sep. 24, 2008:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of Sep. 24, 2009:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of Sep. 24, 2009:

E. Stem Cell Research: Literature for the week of Sep. 24, 2009:

F. Ophthalmology: Literature for the week of Sep. 24, 2009:

AMEDEO Literature Guide:


IV. Funding Opportunities/Employment Opportunities:


A. "Alzheimers Disease Drug Development Program (U01)" (PAR-08-266, reissue of PAR-05-148, Sep. 18, 2008, National Institute on Aging). For more information see:

B. "Studies of the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Human Microbiome Research (R01)" (RFA-RM-08-030, reissue of RFA-RM-08-006, Sep. 18, 2008, Roadmap initiative administered by National Human Genome Research Institute). For more information see:


37. US ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: "Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging: Training and Demonstration Projects" (EPA-AO-OCHP-08-01, letters of intent encouraged by Oct. 24, 2008, proposal deadline Nov. 21, 2008). For more information see:


38. MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR DEMOGRAPHIC RESEARCH EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY: "Laboratory of Population and Policy: Research Scientist (Economist)." For more information see:


39. AGEWORK.COM: AgeWork has updated its employment page with listings through Sep. 25, 2008.


V. Conferences:

40. INTERNATIONAL LONGEVITY CENTER USA (ILCUSA): "Harold Hatch Lecture in Geriatrics & Gerontology," to be held Oct. 29, 2008, in New York, New York.

"How Healthy Can You Be at 85? with Professor Dr. Rudi Westendorp, Head of Leiden University Medical Center's gerontology and geriatrics in The Netherlands. Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 5:30 p.m. Hatch Auditorium, Guggenheim Pavilion, Mount Sinai Medical Center Madison Avenue at 100th Street, New York City. Presented by the International Longevity Center-USA and Brookdale Department of Geriatrics & Adult Development of Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

About Professor Rudi Westendorp

Born in Huizen, the Netherlands, Prof. Westendorp is currently the head of Leiden University Medical Center's (LUMC's) gerontology and geriatrics department. Trained at Leiden University (the Netherlands) and the University of Manchester (Great Britain), he has brought together areas of knowledge in his work as a geriatrician, clinical epidemiologist, and gerontologist.

In addition to presiding over the long-running Leiden 85-plus study, which tracks cognitive decline and risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses in people 85 and older, Prof. Westendorp came up with an innovative and inexpensive way to explore the evolutionary tradeoff between longevity and fertility: analyzing old genealogical records of British aristocrats. He is also hunting for a biological explanation for his tradeoff by investigating whether immune defenses might play a role."

RSVP: (212) 517-1318 or


VI. Legislation Information Updates:

41. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING HEARING TESTIMONY: "Honoring Final Wishes: How to Respect Americans' Choices at the End of Life," a hearing held Sep. 24, 2008 (.pdf format). A video transcript of the hearing (RealPlayer format, 1 hour, 43 minutes, 32 seconds) is available at the site.


42. US SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR, AND PENSIONS HEARING TESTIMONY: "401(k) Fee Disclosure: Helping Workers Save for Retirement," a hearing held September 17, 2008 (.pdf format).


43. US HOUSE EDUCATION AND LABOR COMMITTEE HEARING TESTIMONY: "Safeguarding Retiree Health Benefits," a hearing held Sep. 25, 2008 (.pdf format).


44. US HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE, OVERSIGHT SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING TESTIMONY: "Hearing on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation," a hearing held Sep. 24, 2008. (.pdf format).


VII. Websites of Interest:

45. KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION STATEHEALTHFACTS.ORG UPDATES: The following recent updates at may be of interest to researchers in aging.

Population Characteristics: Distribution by Age:

Medicare: Total Disabled Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Beneficiaries Ages 18-64, December, 2007:

Providers and Service Use: Total Number of Residents in Certified Nursing Facilities, 2007:


VIII. Bibliography Update:

46. PANEL STUDY OF INCOME DYNAMICS BIBLIOGRAPHY UPDATE: The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research PSID has recently added the following items to its bibliography. The entire bibliography can be searched or browsed in various ways at:

Brunnermeier, Markus and Nagel, Stefan. Do Wealth Fluctuations Generate Time Varying Risk Aversion? Micro-Evidence on Individuals' Asset Allocation. American Economic Review. 2008; 98(3):713-736.

Hilber, Christian A. L. and Liu, Yingchun. Explaining the Black-White Homeownership Gap: The Role of Own Wealth, Parental Externalities and Locational Preferences. Journal of Housing Economics. 2008; 17(2):152-174.

Lee, Marlena Iris. Essays on Household Behavior. Illinois: The University of Chicago; 200875 pgs.

Shim, Matthew J. Retirement, Mortality and Self-Reported Health: An Application of Life Course Epidemiology. Texas: University of Texas School of Public Health; 2008 155 pgs.

Song, Zhen. Essays on Public Good Contribution. Canada: Queen's University; 2008 149 pgs.

Usui, Emiko. Wages, Non-Wage Characteristics, and Predominantly Male Jobs. Labour Economics. 2008; in press doi:10.1016/j.labeco.2008.04.001.

Wagmiller, Robert L. Jr.; Lennon, Mary Clare, and Kuang, Li. Parental Health and Children's Economic Well-Being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 2008; 49(1):37-55.

Jack Solock
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