Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #495 -- July 9, 2009

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. HEALTH AND RETIREMENT SURVEY: The University of Michigan, Institute for Social Research HRS has announced the latest release of "2007 Internet Survey (Final, Version 1.0)." (Jul. 2, 2009). For more information see:

Data access:


II. Reports and articles:

2. NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS REPORT: "Health Characteristics of Adults Aged 55 Years and Over: United States, 2004-2007," by Charlotte A. Schoenborn and Kathleen M. Heyman (_National Health Statistics Reports_, No. 16, July 8, 2009, .pdf format, 32p.).


3. SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, OFFICE OF POLICY REPORT: "Congressional Statistics, December 2008," (July 2009, .pdf, HTML, and Excel format). "Fact sheets with Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) data arranged by state and region. There is one fact sheet for each state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands."


4. US DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT: "Accuracy of Part D Plans Drug Prices on the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder," (OEI-03-07-00600, June 2009, .pdf format, 23p.).


A comparison of selected Part D plans retail prices posted on the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder (Plan Finder) for 10 drugs commonly used by seniors to actual drug costs on corresponding prescription drug event claims revealed that Plan Finder prices generally exceeded actual drug costs, frequently by large amounts. Overall, we found that drug price data in Plan Finder does not accurately reflect actual drug costs on Part D claims because the prices frequently overestimate the drug costs charged when beneficiaries have their prescriptions filled at the pharmacy.

CMS created Plan Finder, located on the Web site, as a tool to help beneficiaries compare and select Part D plans. Plans drug prices are a significant factor to beneficiaries selecting a plan. Plan Finder indicates in its plan drug details section that 'drug costs displayed are only estimates' and that 'actual costs at the pharmacy may vary slightly.' However, our review revealed that Plan Finder drug prices were a median of 28 percent (or $18) higher than actual drug costs for the 10 drugs included in our review. Drug prices posted on Plan Finder exceeded actual drug costs for 92 percent of the claims in our review and were less than actual drug costs for 7 percent of claims. Plan Finder prices equaled actual drug costs for 1 percent of the claims reviewed. Percentage differences between Plan Finder prices and actual costs were generally greater for the generic drugs in our review, while dollar differences were greater for the brand-name drugs reviewed.

OIG recommended that CMS ensure that plans drug prices displayed on Plan Finder accurately reflect actual drug costs on Part D claims. As an immediate measure, OIG also recommended that CMS add a disclaimer to the Plan Finder plan search results screen indicating that drug cost estimates may differ more than 'slightly' from actual drug costs. In response to the draft report, CMS concurred with our first recommendation but did not concur with our second recommendation. However, CMS indicated that it will revise language on the Plan Finder Web site to advise beneficiaries that if they do not select a specific pharmacy when conducting a Plan Finder search, the drug prices displayed may be different from point-of-sale drug costs at their pharmacy.

In addition, CMS stated that OIGs methodology is flawed and OIGs findings are false and misleading because we conducted a general search rather than a pharmacy-specific search in Plan Finder. OIG does not agree. By choosing to conduct a general search, we employed the same method that beneficiaries using Plan Finder were advised to employ to find the least expensive plan for their needs. Both CMS and AARP (formerly the American Association of Retired Persons) recommended conducting a general search rather than a pharmacy-specific search to improve a beneficiary's ability to find the least expensive plan. Our findings generate concerns about the accuracy of the plan and drug cost information provided to beneficiaries who choose to conduct a general search rather than a pharmacy-specific search in Plan Finder.


5. MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY WEEKLY REPORT ARTICLE: "Recurring Norovirus Outbreaks in a Long-Term Residential Treatment Facility --- Oregon, 2007," (Vol. 58, No. 25, July 3, 2009, .pdf and HTML format, p. 694-698).




6. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND CHILDREN/AN ROINN SLAINTE AGUS LENAI PRESS RELEASE: "All Nursing Homes, public and private, to be subject to independent and transparent inspection regime from today," (July 2009).


7. CENTER FOR RETIREMENT RESEARCH AT BOSTON COLLEGE ISSUE BRIEF: "Is Latin America Retreating From Individual Retirement Accounts?" by Fabio Bertranou, Esteban Calvo, and Evelina Bertranou (IB No. 9-14, July 2009, .pdf format, 18p.).


8. EMPLOYEE BENEFIT RESEARCH INSTITUTE PERIODICAL: EBRI Notes (Vol. 30, No. 7, July 2009, .pdf format, 19p.). The main articles in this issue are: "More Detail on Lump-Sum Distributions of Workers Who Have Left a Job, 2006," by Craig Copeland; and, "The Basics of Medicare, Updated With the 2009 Board of Trustees Report," by Ken McDonnell.


9. NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SOCIAL INSURANCE REPORT: "Administrative Solutions in Health Reform: Report of the Study Panel on Administrative Issues in Expanding Access to Health Care," (July 2009, .pdf format, 62p.).


10. EWING MARION KAUFFMAN FOUNDATION REPORT: "The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom," (June 2009, .pdf format, 6p.).

More information about the Foundation:


11. FAMILY CAREGIVER ALLIANCE PERIODICAL: Caregiving PolicyDigest (Vol. 9, No. 14, July 8, 2009).

More information about FCA:


12. NATURE ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "CCR3 is a target for age-related macular degeneration diagnosis and therapy," by Atsunobu Takeda, Judit Z. Baffi, Mark E. Kleinman, Won Gil Cho, Miho Nozaki, Kiyoshi Yamada, Hiroki Kaneko, Romulo J. C. Albuquerque, Sami Dridi, Kuniharu Saito, Brian J. Raisler, Steven J. Budd, Pete Geisen, Ariel Munitz, Balamurali K. Ambati, Martha G. Green, Tatsuro Ishibashi, John D. Wright, Alison A. Humbles, Craig J. Gerard, Yuichiro Ogura, Yuzhen Pan, Justine R. Smith, Salvatore Grisanti, M. Elizabeth Hartnett, Marc E. Rothenberg & Jayakrishna Ambati (Vol. 460, No. 7252, July 8, 2009, p. 225-230).


13. SCIENCE ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Caloric Restriction Delays Disease Onset and Mortality in Rhesus Monkeys," by Ricki J. Colman, Rozalyn M. Anderson, Sterling C. Johnson, Erik K. Kastman, Kristopher J. Kosmatka, T. Mark Beasley, David B. Allison, Christina Cruzen, Heather A. Simmons, Joseph W. Kemnitz, and Richard Weindruch (Vol. 325, No. 5937, July 10, 2009, p. 201-204).



A. "Ultrasonication-dependent production and breakdown lead to minimum-sized amyloid fibrils," by Eri Chatani, Young-Ho Lee, Hisashi Yagi, Yuichi Yoshimura, Hironobu Naiki, and Yuji Goto (Vol. 106, No. 27, July 7, 2009, p. 11119-11124).

B. "Secretion of amyloidogenic gelsolin progressively compromises protein homeostasis leading to the intracellular aggregation of proteins," by Lesley J. Page, Ji Young Suk, Lyudmila Bazhenova, Sheila M. Fleming, Malcolm Wood, Yun Jiang, Ling T. Guo, Andrew P. Mizisin, Robert Kisilevsky, G. Diane Shelton, William E. Balch, and Jeffery W. Kelly (Vol. 106, No. 27, July 7, 2009, p. 11125-11130).

C. "Resistance to age-dependent thymic atrophy in long-lived mice that are deficient in pregnancy-associated plasma protein A," by Abbe N. Vallejo, Joshua J. Michel, Laurie K. Bale, Bonnie H. Lemster, Lisa Borghesi, and Cheryl A. Conover (Vol. 106, No. 27, July 7, 2009, .pdf and HTML format, p. 11252-11257). Note: _PNAS_ is providing open access to the full-text of this article.

D. "Predicting Social Security numbers from public data," by Alessandro Acquisti and Ralph Gross (Vol. 106, No. 27, July 7, 2009 .pdf and HTML format, p. 10975-10980). Note: _PNAS_ is providing open access to the full-text of this article.


15. NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE ARTICLE ABSTRACT: "Epidemiologic Study of In-Hospital Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in the Elderly," by William J. Ehlenbach, Amber E. Barnato, J. Randall Curtis, William Kreuter, Thomas D. Koepsell, Richard A. Deyo, and Renee D. Stapleton (Vol. 361, No. 1, July 2, 2009, p. 22-31).



A. "Impact of Exercise in Community-Dwelling Older Adults," by Ruth E. Hubbard, Nader Fallah, Samuel D. Searle, Arnold Mitnitski, and Kenneth Rockwood (PLoS ONE 4(7): e6174. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006174, XML, HTML, and .pdf format, 6p.).

B. "L-Dopa Medication in Parkinson's Disease Restores Activity in the Motor Cortico-Striatal Loop but Does Not Modify the Cognitive Network," by Thomas Jubault, Laura Monetta, Antonio P. Strafella, Anne-Louise Lafontaine, and Oury Monchi (PLoS ONE 4(7): e6154. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006154, XML, HTML, and .pdf format, 10p.).



A. "Dodging the bill," (July 11, 2009).

B. "Of mice and monkeys," (July 11, 2009).


18. FORBES ARTICLE: "Retirement Plans From Hell," by Scott Woolley (July 13, 2009).


III. Working Papers:

19. INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF LABOR (IZA) [UNIVERSITY OF BONN, GERMANY]: "Cognition and Economic Outcomes in the Health and Retirement Survey," by John J. McArdle, James P. Smith, and Robert Willis (Discussion Paper No. 4269, June 2009, .pdf format, 32p.). Links to the abstract and full-text can be found at:


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

20. European Journal of Palliative Care (Vol. 16, No. 4, 2009).

21. Journal of Aging and Health (Vol. 21, No. 5, August 2009).

22. Medical Care Research and Review (Vol. 66, No. 4, August 2009).


23. 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 July 6, 2009:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of July 6, 2009:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of July 6, 2009:

D. Prostate Cancer: Literature for the week of July 6, 2009:

E. Stem Cell Research: Literature for the week of July 6, 2009:

F. Ophthalmology: Literature for the week of July 6, 2009:

AMEDEO Literature Guide:


V. Funding Opportunities:


A. "Mechanisms Underlying the Links between Psychosocial Stress, Aging, the Brain and the Body (R01)," (PA-09-216, National Institute on Aging, in conjunction with other agencies, July 6, 2009).

B. "The Role of Apolipoprotein E, Lipoprotein Receptors and CNS Lipid Homeostasis in Brain Aging and Alzheimer's Disease (R01)," (PA-09-217, National Institute on Aging, July 6, 2009).

C. "Improving Diet and Physical Activity Assessment (R01)," (PAR-09-224, this is is a reissue of PAR-07-259, National Institute on Aging, in conjunction with other agencies, July 9, 2009).


VI. Conferences:

25. RETIREMENT RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: "The 11th Annual Conference of the Retirement Research Consortium (RRC) will be held on August 10-11, 2009 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The RRC, funded by the Social Security Administration, is comprised of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, the Michigan Retirement Research Center, and the NBER Retirement Research Center." For an agenda and registration information, go to:


26. CONFERENCEALERTS.COM CONFERENCES IN AGING: Gerontology Conferences Worldwide has recently been updated.


* n4a 34th Annual Conference and Tradeshow 19 July 2009 Minneapolis Other
* Hearing Care for Adults 2009 - The Challenge of Aging 15 November 2009 Chicago IL
* Self, Selves and Sexualities : An Interdisciplinary Conference 19 March 2010 Dublin Ireland
* 4th International Social And Applied Gerontology Symposium In Turkey 28 April 2010 Antalya Turkey
* Contemporary Women's Writing: New Texts, Approaches, and Technologies 07 July 2010 San Diego California


VII. Legislation Information Updates:

27. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE AND ENERGY REPORT: "Preliminary Estimate of the Effects on Direct Spending and Revenues of Division B, Titles I-VII and Section 1872, of the House Tri-Committee Health Reform Discussion Draft," (July 7, 2009, .pdf format, 7p.).


VIII. Websites of Interest:

28. US CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES MEDICARE.GOV UPDATE: CMS' "Hospital Compare" website was updated on Jul. 9, 2009.




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