Archive for the 'Health, Disability & Mortality' Category

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]

Widening racial disparity in breast cancer deaths

The New York Times has a great interactive visualization of the widening racial disparity in breast cancer deaths drawn from data from the Cancer Institute. Previously, black women had lower breast cancer mortality than whites, but it is now higher. The trend is not exactly the same across all states.

tweet

[Click here for Data Visualization]

The New York Times article was inspired by a publication based on the trend in racial disparities in cancer mortality in the 25-largest cities in the US:

The racial disparity in breast cancer mortality in the 25 largest cities in the United States
Steven Whitman, Jennifer Orsi and Marc Hurlbert | Cancer Epidemiology
October 2011

Relevant to this topic is a link to the latest Health Disparities, 2013 report from CDC.

Plan B: Recommended Readings

In yesterday’s brown bag, Jim Trussell recommended reading some of the coverage of the Plan B, FDA, political interference story in the New York Times. I have listed a few of the articles on this issue. The article that reports on the judge in these cases, Korman, is dated June 14, 2013. The articles are listed in most recent to oldest order. You can waste a lot of time reading the comments, so be judicious.

New Birth Control Label Counters Lawsuit Claim
Pam Belluck | New York Times
November 27, 2013

F.D.A. Grants Exclusivity to Plan B One-Step
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 24, 2013

Behind Scolding of the F.D.A., a Complex and Gentle Judge
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 14, 2013

Federal Plan for ‘Morning After’ Pill’s Sale Is Approved
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 13, 2013

Obama Waves White Flag in Contraceptive Battle
By Michael Shear | New York Times
June 12, 2013

Lifting Restrictions of ‘Morning After’ Pill has Little Impact for Drug Maker
Katie Thomas | New York Times
June 11, 2013

U.S. Drops Bid to Limit Sales of Morning-After Pill
Michael Shear and Pam Belluck
June 10, 2013

Judge Orders All Restrictions Lifted on Some ‘Morning-After’ Pills
Pam Belluck and Michael Shear
June 5, 2013

Temporary Limit Put on Sales of Morning-After Pill
Pam Belluck | New York Times
May 13, 2013

U.S. to Defend Age Limits on Morning-After Pill Sales
Pam Belluck and Michael Shear | New York Times
May 1, 2013

Drug Agency Lowers Age for Next-Day Birth Control
Pam Belluck | New York Times
April 30, 2013

Judge Strikes Down Age Limits on Morning-After Pill
Pam Belluck | New York Times
April 5, 2013

Good Sense on the Morning-After Pill
The Editorial Board | New York Times
April 5, 2013

Abortion Qualms on Morning-After Pill May Be Unfounded
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 5, 2012

Drug’s Nickname May Have Aided Politicization
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 5, 2012

Religious Groups Equate Abortion With Some Contraceptives
Pam Belluck and Erik Eckholm | New York Times
February 16, 2012

Obama Endorses Decision to Limit Morning-After Pill
Jackie Calmes and Gardiner Harris | New York Times
December 8, 2011

More Detail on Risk Urged for a Contraceptive Label
Pamm Belluck | New York Times
December 8, 2011

Massachusetts: Governor Overruled On Pill Bill
Pam Belluck | New York Times
September 16, 2005

Massachusetts Veto Seeks to Curb Morning-After Pill
Pam Belluck | New York Times
July 26, 2005

Pharmacies Balk on After-Sex Pill and Widen Fight in Many States
Monica Davey and Pam Belluck | New York Times
April 19, 2005

Project Tycho: Historical Disease Data

Project Tycho is funded by NIH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has taken historical data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) and created count data for diseases by location for the 125 year history of the surveillance system. Three levels of data have been made available to users from the Project Tycho website.

Other useful resources:

  • Materials and Methods: Digitication of US Weekly Surveillance Reports between 1888 and 2011
  • Preliminary State Reports (scroll down for access – here’s an example for Michigan)
  • What does Tycho stand for?
  • And, here is a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine based on these data. It estimates that over 100 million cases of contagious diseases have been prevented in the U.S. since 1924 by vaccination programs against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

    Contagious Diseases in the United States from 1888 to the Present
    New England Journal of Medicine
    November 28, 2013
    html | pdf

    Medical Spending and Morbidity Compression

    Evidence for Significant Compression of Morbidity In the Elderly U.S. Population
    D. Cutler, K. Ghosh, and M. Landrum | NBER
    July 2013
    Using what is becoming a go-to-resource for health economists, Cutler, et.al., use data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey to examine how health is changing by time period until death. On average, they find evidence for compression of morbidity, which would help contain health-care spending. But, they do not imply that decadents lived a disease-free period up until death.

    Physician-Induced Demand

    Physicians Treating Physicians: Information and Incentives in Childbirth
    Erin Johnson and M. Marit Rehavi | NBER Working Paper, No. 19242
    July 2013
    [Abstract] [Paper]
    This paper has a medical sounding title, but should be of interest to health economists as it sheds light on physician-induced demand for medical services. It should also be of interest to all researchers – very creative use of data. I shudder to think how long it took the researchers to assemble the file and go through the restricted data bureaucracies.