Archive for the 'Health, Disability & Mortality' Category

More fun with names

Who knew that the name Violet was such a good example of a bi-modal distribution?

bi-modal

This was drawn from a very fun post:

How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know is Her Name
Nate Silver and Allison McCann | FiveThirtyEight blog
May 29, 2014

We had a previous post on fun with the Social Security names database.

This age of names example is a great applied demography exercise – calculating the median age of names. For that you’ll need a link to the full names database and cohort life tables:

Beyond the Top 1000 Names
Cohort Life Tables for the Social Security Areas by Calendar Year

Here’s also a nice link to some Big Data exercises via Python. There is a lot of code sharing in this GitHub repository.

Alcohol’s Hold on Campus: Report from the Chronicle of Higher Education

Alcohol is an entrenched reality of campus life. Read and share this collection of articles on college drinking to inform colleagues and campus discussions, beginning with “A River of Booze: Inside one college town’s uneasy embrace of drinking” by Karin Fischer and Eric Hoover.

The Uninsured Under the ACA

By: Jason Millman
Source: WonkBlog (Washington Post)

An additional 10.3 million people gained health insurance in the first year of expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act, according to an analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine this summer. We still won’t have the most official count from the U.S. Census Bureau until next fall, but that’s the number the Obama administration is using. And that, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, leaves about 32 million people still lacking coverage heading into this ACA open enrollment period.

Here’s what we know about who’s still uninsured and what’s kept them from getting covered.

Keep reading
NEJM Analysis

A Strong Sense of Purpose Can Extend Life

By: Robert Preidt
Source: U.S. News & World Report (HealthDay News)

FRIDAY, Nov. 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Another study finds that having a sense of meaning and purpose in your life might do more than just give you focus — it might help you live longer, too.

The study, involving more than 9,000 British people averaging 65 years of age, found that those who professed to feeling worthwhile and having a sense of purpose in life were less likely to die during the more than eight years the researchers tracked them.

Over the study period, 9 percent of people with the highest levels of this type of well-being died, compared with 29 percent of those with the lowest levels, according to the report in the Nov. 7 issue of The Lancet.

The study comes on the heels of similar research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In that study, a team led by Eric Kim of the University of Michigan found that older adults with a strong sense of purpose in life may be particularly likely to get health screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms.

U.S. News & World Report story
Eric Kim’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article
Lancet article (in press)

Research on Health Disparities: Incarceration Matters

High Incarceration Rates among Black Men Enrolled in Clinical Studies may Compromise Ability to Identify Disparities
Emily Wang, et.al. | Health Affairs
May 13, 2014
html | pdf

This is a nice note, which examines the selectivity introduced into studies when participants are lost to a study due to incarceration – primarily black men. The paper discusses a suggested change in the IRB regulations on studying prisoners, which would help address this selectivity issue. The Vox article below discusses the history of IRB rules, given that this would not be common knowledge among a more general reader pool.

Doctors can’t research the health of black men, because they keep getting sent to prison
Dara Lind | Vox
May 13, 2014

A questionnaire change: politics or not?

The Census Bureau has changed how it will measure insurance coverage in the Current Population Survey – Census Bureau announcement.

Many on both the left and right are unhappy with this change because of the discontinuity with the insurance measure over time – in other words, before Obamacare and after Obamacare.

Many of the comments reflect ignorance on how much research goes into changing, adding, deleting questions or that OMB always reviews questionnaire changes (even under Republican presidents). Also this change is to the questionnaire in the CPS, not the American Community Survey (or long-form census).

But, this quote probably reflects the view of many health analysts: “Getting worked up into an increasingly heated health nerd rage about the Census changes. We’re losing our best data source on Obamacare.” via Twitter. [See tweet and comments]

Here is a compilation of articles in the order they were published:

Census Bureau: Sorry, We’re Going to Have a Hard Time Measuring . .
Patrick Brennan | National Review Online
April 15, 2014

Obama Hijacks Census to Whitewash ObamaCare’s Failure
B. Christopher Agee | Western Journalism
April 15, 2014

Both Sides in Obamacare Fight Slam Census Bureau
Rob Garver | Fiscal Times
April 15, 2014

Census Survey Revisions Mask Health Law Effects
Robert Pear | New York Times
April 15, 2014

Want Useful Data on Obamacare? The Census Bureau Won’t Help
Peter Suderman | Reason (blog)
April 15, 2014

Manipulating Obamacare Stats: The Census Bureau’s Suspect Timing
Guy Benson | Town Hall (blog)
April 15, 2014

Obama’s cooking the Census for Obamacare?
Megan McArdle | Newsday
April 15, 2014

“You Had One Job” [Federal Health Insurance Statistics Edition]
Ben Mathis-Lilley | Slate
April 15, 2014

Republicans Accuse Census Bureau of Trying to ‘Hide the Effects of Obamacare’
Michael McAuliff | Huffington Post
April 15, 2014

Smoking rate stays high among the poor

While smoking began as a practice among the well-off, according to a study published in Population Health Metrics, the habit is now much more prevalent in the working and poor classes.

New York Times article

Full text of the study

Decomposition of Future Population Growth

From the UNFPA website:

The main objective of the decomposition tool is to provide evidence and analysis that countries can use to develop policies and programmes aimed to find a balance between demographic change and social, economic and environmental goals.

This program calculates the contributions of different demographic factors (wanted and un-wanted fertility, mortality, migration, and age structure) to population growth. It is based on the medium variant population projection of the United Nations from 2010 to 2050 for all countries and main regions.

Select a country or region from the window below to view the results of the decomposition tool. Move mouse over the figures to explore the interactive data content. Then read and download a report summarizing the results, methods, and policy implications.

Learn more and use the tool on the website.

Stretching the boundaries of population science

Here is a link to Christine Bachrach’s 2013 PAA Presidential Address:

Culture and Demography: From Reluctant Bedfellows to Committed Partners
Christine Bachrach | Demography
Winter 2014
html | pdf

And, here is a link to a neuroscience/population science article co-authored by several PSC researchers:

What is a representative brain? Neuroscience meets population science
Emily Falk, et.al. | PNAS
October 2013
html | pdf

Quiz Time

Can you identify what this graph represents? If no, click on the graph for a link to the article. And, there is a graph for women in the article as well.

graph

[Link to answer]