Current Awareness in Aging Research (CAAR) Report #89--June 21, 2001

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:


A. The US Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Health Care Research and Quality has released the MEPS HC-016I Appendix To MEPS 1997 Event Files. Data (ASCII and SAS transport format), SAS programming statements, and documentation (.pdf format) are available. Interested researchers should read the "Notes on Downloading Files" section before downloading files.

B. MEPS also announced three data updates on Jun. 15, 2001. They concern the 1997 Home Health Visits file, the 1997 Dental Visits file, and the 1996 Health Insurance Plan Abstraction Linked Data file. All can be accessed from:

Scroll to "Data Updates" and note the access instructions given before reading the updates.


2. ICPSR: The Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research at the University of Michigan added seven studies to its holdings on Jun. 18, 2001. Of possible interest to researchers in aging is:


Note: This is a temporary address. ICPSR studies can always be found at:

Search on title or study number.


II. Reports and articles:

3. SOCIAL SECURITY ENEWS MEDICARE UPDATE: "New Medicare and Medicaid Agency," (US Department of Health and Human Services via US Social Security Administration, Jun. 15, 2001).

4. GAO REPORT: "Medicare Subvention Demonstration: DOD's Pilot HMO Appealed to Seniors, Underscored Management Complexities" (US General Accounting Office GAO-01-671, June 2001, .pdf format, 27p.).

Note: This is a temporary address. GAO reports can always be found at:

Search on title or report number.

5. MEPS ARTICLE ABSTRACTS: The following article abstracts have been made available by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Medical Expenditure Panel Survey website.

A. "Survey Attrition Considerations in the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey," by S.B. Cohen and S.R. Machlin (in _Journal of Economic and Social Measurement_, 26(2000) p. 83-98).

B. "The Impact of Alternative Sample Allocation Schemes on the Precision of Survey Estimates Derived from the National Medical Expenditure Panel Survey," by S.B. Cohen and W.W. Yu (in _Journal of Economic and Social Measurement_, 26(2000) p.111 -128).

6. _SCIENCE_ ABSTRACTS: Note: Full electronic text may be available. Check your organization's library.

A. "The Future of NIH: Who Will Be Custodian of the Crown Jewels?" by Eliot Marshall (_Science_, Vol. 292, No. 5524, p. 1998).

B. "The Numbers: NIH Prays for a Soft Landing After Its Doubling Ride Ends," by David Malakoff (_Science_, Vol. 292, No. 5524, p. 1992).

C. "The Numbers: "NIH Stays the Course in Choosing How to Spend Its Growing Budget," by David Malakoff (_Science_, Vol. 292, No. 5524, p. 1993).

7. _PNAS_ ARTICLE ABSTRACT: Note: Full electronic text (HTML and .pdf format) may be available. Check your organization's library. "Phenserine regulates translation of (beta)-amyloid precursor protein mRNA by a putative interleukin-1 responsive element, a target for drug development," by Karen T.Y. Shaw, Tadanobu Utsuki, Jack Rogers, Qian-Sheng Yu, Kumar Sambamurti, Arnold Brossi, Yuan-Wen Ge, Debomoy K. Lahiri, and Nigel H. Greig (_Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences_, Vol. 98, No. 13, Jun. 19, 2001, p. 7605-7610).

8. _JAMA_ ABSTRACT: "Development and Validation of a Prognostic Index for 1-Year Mortality in Older Adults After Hospitalization," by Louise C. Walter, Richard J. Brand, Steven R. Counsell, Robert M. Palmer, C. Seth Landefeld, Richard H. Fortinsky, and Kenneth E. Covinsky (_Journal of the American Medical Association_, Vol. 285, No. 23, Jun. 20, 2001, p. 2987-2994).


A. "Services for elderly and disabled people face collapse," by Jacqui Wise (_British Medical Journal_ News Roundup, Vol. 322, No. 7300, Jun. 16, 2001, HTML and .pdf format, p. 1444).

B. "Midlife vascular risk factors and Alzheimer's disease in later life: longitudinal, population based study," by Miia Kivipelto, Eeva-Liisa Helkala, Mikko P. Laakso, Tuomo Hanninen, Merja Hallikainen, Kari Alhainen, Hilkka Soininen, Jaakko Tuomilehto, and Aulikki Nissinen (_British Medical Journal_, Vol. 322, No. 7300, Jun. 16, 2001, HTML and .pdf format, p. 1447-1451).

C. "Measuring quality of life: Is there such a thing as a life not worth living?" by Bobbie Farsides and Robert J. Dunlop (_British Medical Journal_ Education and Debate, Vol. 322, No. 7300, Jun. 16, 2001, HTML and .pdf format, p. 1481-1483).

10. _US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT_ ARTICLE: "A lesson before dying: Med schools tackle end-of-life issues," by Marianne Szegedy-Maszak (_US News and World Report_, Jun. 25, 2001).


III. Working Papers:

11. NBER: Note: Click on "PDF" at the bottom of the abstract or submit your email address for full text.

A. "Do Estate and Gift Taxes Affect the Timing of Private Transfers?" by B. Douglas Bernheim, Robert J. Lemke, and John Karl Scholz (National Bureau of Economic Research W8333, June 2001, .pdf format, 40p.).


Proposals to alter the estate tax are contentious and have been debated largely in an empirical vacuum. This paper examines time series and cross-sectional variation to identify the effects of gift and estate taxation on the timing of private transfers. The analysis is based on data from the 1989, 1992, 1995, and 1998 waves of the Surveys of Consumer Finances. Legislative activity during this period reduced the tax disadvantage of bequests relative to gifts. Moreover, the magnitude of this reduction differed systematically across identifiable household categories. We find that households experiencing larger declines in the expected tax disadvantages of bequests substantially reduced inter vivos transfers relative to households experiencing small declines in the tax disadvantages of bequests. This implies that the timing of transfers is highly responsive to applicable gift and estate tax rates. These conclusions are based both on simple comparisons of the probability of giving across different time periods and groups, and on empirical specifications that control for a variety of potentially confounding factors, such as systematic changes in the fraction of wealth attributable to unrealized capital gains. The results also provide evidence of a systematic bequest motive for some high-wealth households.

B. "Social Security as a Financial Asset: Gender-Specific Risks and Returns," by Marianne Baxter (National Bureau of Economic Research W8329, June 2001, .pdf format, 27p.).


Social Security is a financial asset whose "purchase" is compulsory for most working individuals; the return during the individual's working lifetime is related to the rate of change of aggregate labor income. If an individual's labor income is strongly related to aggregate labor income, then the Social Security asset is a particularly unattractive asset. In this situation, the individual would benefit from a reformed Social Security system that would permit investment of retirement funds in other financial assets. This paper investigates how this aspect of Social Security risk varies across groups of individuals who differ according to gender, education, race, and age. The main finding is that there are important differences across groups in this component of Social Security risk, as captured by the sensitivity of individual-level income growth to changes in the SSWI [Social Security Wage Index]. This element of risk is most important for women, especially women who are young-to-middle aged and with more education. This analysis suggests that women would have more to gain, compared with men, from a reformed Social Security system.

12. SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY MAXWELL SCHOOL OF CITIZENSHIP AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS CENTER FOR POLICY RESEARCH: "Have 401(k)s Raised Household Saving? Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," by Gary V. Engelhardt (Center for Policy Research Aging Studies Program Paper No. 24, June 2001, .pdf format, 64p.).

Click on "Click here for the Adobe Acrobat version of Aging Studies Program Paper 24" for full text.


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

13. American Journal of Epidemiology (Vol. 153, No. 12, Jun. 15, 2001). Note: Full electronic text (HTML and .pdf format) may be available. Check your organization's library.

14. 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 Jun. 20, 2001:

B. Alzheimer's Disease: Literature for the week of Jun. 21, 2001:

C. Parkinson's Disease: Literature for the week of Jun. 21, 2001:

AMADEO Literature Guide:


V. Books:

15. NBER: _Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 5_, edited by Alan M. Garber, from a conference held Jun. 7, 2001. The chapters: "HMO Participation in Medicare Managed Care," by John Cawley, Michael Chernew, and Catherine McLaughlin (.pdf format, 42p.), and "The Effects of Medicare on Health Care Utilization and Outcomes," by Frank R. Lichtenberg (.pdf format, 29p.), have been added.

Scroll to the above chapter titles for full text.

16. NAP: _Improving Palliative Care for Cancer_, edited by Kathleen M. Foley and Hellen Gelband (US Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, National Academy Press, 2001, .pdf format, summary and recommendations in Open Book format).


VI. Funding and Employment Opportunities:

17. AOA:

A. The US Administration on Aging has announced three FY 2001 Program Announcements. They are: "Innovative Programs and Activities of National Significance under the National Family Caregiver Support Program" (closing date Aug. 10, 2001); "Statewide Senior Legal Hotlines Projects" (closing date Aug. 3, 2001); and "Pension Counseling and Information Projects" (closing date Aug. 3, 2001). Links to the announcements and application kits (HTML and .pdf format), as well as the _Federal Register_ announcements, can be found at:

Scroll to the announcements of interest.

B. The AOA also announced three employment opportunities on Jun. 19, 2001: "Grants Management Policy Specialist; Computer Specialist; and Program Analyst. For more information see:


VII. Legislation Information Updates:

18. US HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH: "Medicare Reform: Modernizing Medicare and Merging Parts A and B," a hearing held Jun. 14, 2001.

Hearing testimony:

Note 1: This address also links to a complete audio transcript of the hearing. Click on "Click here for the audio archive of this hearing." Note 2: RealPlayer plug-in or helper application required. Running time: 4 hours, 11 minutes, 41 seconds.

19. US SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH, EDUCATION, LABOR AND PENSIONS, SUBCOMMITTEE ON AGING: "Geriatrics: Meeting the Needs of Our Most Vulnerable Seniors in the 21st Century," a hearing held Jun. 19, 2001.

Hearing testimony:

20. US SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON AGING: "Saving Our Seniors: Preventing Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation," a hearing held Jun. 14, 2001.

Hearing testimony:

21. US SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE: "Medicare Governance: Perspectives on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly HCFA)," a hearing held Jun. 19, 2001.

Hearing testimony:

22. US HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON SOCIAL SECURITY: "Americans' Views on the Future of Social Security," a hearing held in Columbia Missouri, Jun. 18, 2001).

Selected testimony and related materials:

23. US HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE, SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH HEARING PUBLICATION: "Laying the Groundwork for a RX Drug Benefit," a hearing held Mar. 27, 2001, Hearing Publication 107-7).


Jack Solock
Data Librarian--Center for Demography and Ecology and Center for Demography of Health and Aging
4470 Social Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706