Archive for the 'Health, Disability & Mortality' Category

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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.

Death Certificates: Studies cast doubt on recorded cause-of-death

Making the Right Call, Even in Death
Lawrence Altman, MD | New York Times
July 1, 2013
This article discusses two studies, which illustrate problems with the recorded cause of death in death certificates.

The studies, published in the May issue of the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, support what researchers have long suspected: that heart disease is overreported as a cause of death, while diseases like pneumonia and cancer tend to be underreported. Equally disturbing, one of the studies suggests that the health system is far too cavalier about the accuracy of death certificates.

Survey of New York City Resident Physicians on Cause-of-Death Reporting, 2010
B. Wexelman, E. Eden & K. Rose | Preventing Chronic Disease
May 2013

Impact of a Hospital-Level Intervention to Reduce Heart Disease Overreporting on Leading Causes of Death
Teeb Al-Samarrai, et.al. | Preventing Chronic Disease
May 2013

Risk factor for a stroke? Living in the stroke-belt as a teen

This study is based on a cohort study most demographers are probably not familiar with, “The Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke study.” It is a relatively large study with residential histories of panel participants. If you are interested in finding out more about these data, here’s a link to the researcher portal to the project website.

Maybe this should be replicated and extended with the PSID as it covers a longer time period. Stroke mortality patterns have also experienced a shift according to Casper ML, Wing S, Anda RF, Knowles M, Pollard RA (May 1995).”The shifting stroke belt. Changes in the geographic pattern of stroke mortality in the United States, 1962 to 1988″. Stroke 26 (5): 755–60. PMID 7740562.

Teenage Years in the Stroke Belt
Nicholas Bakalar | The New York Times
April 29, 2013

Effect of duration and age at exposure to the Stroke Belt on incident stroke in adulthood
Virginia Howard, et.al. | Neurology
April 29, 2013
Abstract | pdf

Essay: Linking, Exploring and Understanding Population Health Data

This is a nice data essay by former PSC trainee Michael Bader. He discusses multiple sources of data that one might use to understand population health. I especially like his point about the need to archive neighborhood conditions – after all neighborhoods change. But he also touches on the range of data available for analysis from focus groups to big data.

Linking, Exploring and Understanding Population Health Data
Michael Bader | Human Capital Blog (RWJ)
June 25 2012

The opening paragraph deserves a highlight, but read the entire entry. It is worth it:

Data are the sustenance of population health research, and like the food that sustains us, it comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. Also like food, it’s best appreciated in combination. A single data source in the absence of context is unfulfilling; but combining datasets that are rich with information and contours — now that’s a meal!

The Sister Study: Breast Cancer

The Sister Study
From 2004 to 2009, more than 50,000 women across the US and Puerto Rico, who were between ages 35–74 and whose sister had breast cancer, joined this landmark research effort to find causes of breast cancer. Because of their shared environment, genes, and experiences, studying sisters provides a greater chance of identifying risk factors that may help us find ways to prevent breast cancer.

The Sister Study is currently tracking the health of women in the cohort. Participants complete health updates each year, as well as detailed questionnaires about health and experiences every two-to-three years. Research in the Sister Study focuses on causes of breast cancer and other health issues in women, as well as on factors that influence quality of life and outcomes after a breast cancer diagnosis.

Data Access
Access to the data is not completely open, but there is a process for access. Click on the above link for instructions.

Underestimating Alcohol Consumption

How is alcohol consumption affected if we account for under-reporting? A hypothetical scenario
Sadie Boniface, Nicola Shelton | European Journal of Public Health
February 26, 2013
These researchers compared reported alcohol consumption from survey data with published reports of alcohol sales and determined there is under-reporting of alcohol consumption in England, which is comparable to other studies.

This was mostly posted as an impetus to others to think of additional ways to get at this under-reporting problem. And, luckily the time period does not include the Olympics, which might have involved lots of tourists.

For Americans Under 50, Stark Findings on Health

By: Sabrina Tavernise
Source: New York Times

From article:

Younger Americans die earlier and live in poorer health than their counterparts in other developed countries, with far higher rates of death from guns, car accidents and drug addiction, according to a new analysis of health and longevity in the United States.

Researchers have known for some time that the United States fares poorly in comparison with other rich countries, a trend established in the 1980s. But most studies have focused on older ages, when the majority of people die.

This article is based on U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. The pre-publication edition is available to read online for free here.

An interactive graph comparing the United States and 16 “peer” countries is here and the project website is here.

Health at a Glance: Europe 2012

Source: OECD, Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs

From publication website:

This second edition of Health at a Glance: Europe presents a set of key indicators of health status, determinants of health, health care resources and activities, quality of care, health expenditure and financing in 35 European countries, including the 27 European Union member states, 5 candidate countries and 3 EFTA countries.

The selection of indicators is based largely on the European Community Health Indicators (ECHI) shortlist, a set of indicators that has been developed to guide the reporting of health statistics in the European Union. It is complemented by additional indicators on health expenditure and quality of care, building on the OECD expertise in these areas.

Each indicator is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, a brief descriptive analysis highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological box on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability.

Full text (PDF)

The Happy Planet Index: 2012 Report

A Global Index of Sustainable Well-Being
Source: The New Economics Foundation

From the Executive Summary:
There is a growing global consensus that we need new measures of progress. It is critical that these measures clearly reflect what we value – something the current approach fails to do.

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) measures what matters. It tells us how well nations are doing in terms of supporting their inhabitants to live good lives now, while ensuring that others can do the same in the future, i.e. sustainable well-being for all.

The third global HPI report reveals that this is largely still an unhappy planet – with both high and low-income countries facing many challenges on their way to meeting this same overall goal. But it also demonstrates that good lives do not have to cost the Earth – that the countries where well-being is highest are not always the ones that have the biggest environmental impact.

The HPI is one of the first global measures of sustainable well-being. It uses global data on experienced well-being, life expectancy, and Ecological Footprint to generate an index revealing which countries are most efficient at producing long, happy lives for their inhabitants, whilst maintaining the conditions for future generations to do the same.

Full text available (PDF)

Olympic Britain

This is a book written by researchers of the House of Commons Library and published on 10 July 2012. It tells the story of social and economic change in the UK since the two previous London Games in 1908 and 1948, using data visualisations to bring to life a period during which our standards of living, the type of work we do, our leisure activities and our lifestyles have changed almost beyond recognition, much like the Olympics itself.

Full print version including charts and tables

Press release with sub-headings like Population, Housing and home life, Income and Education, etc.