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1.  Dynamics of Constructs in Successful Aging of Korean Elderly: Modified Rowe and Kahn’s Model 
Objectives
This study examined components in Rowe and Kahn’s successful aging model to investigate their hierarchical order and led to a modification of the previous hierarchical order.
Methods
To examine the hierarchical order of components, we constructed a structural equation model and verified those paths that have discrepancies in studies and/or potential inclusion or omission errors in the model. For this purpose, we analyzed 556 cases out of stratified and purposively sampled 600 elderly people living in the city of Jeonju during the study period (2011).
Results
The paths with inclusion errors such as H3 [self-reported health → productive activity (SRH → PA)]: the effect of SRH on PA, and H6 [social network (SN) → PA]: the effect of SN on PA, were not directly but indirectly supported. The path with discrepancy, H4 [SN → physical–cognitive function (PCF)]: the effect of SN on PCFs, was statistically significant. The path with inclusion error and discrepancy, H8 (PCF → PA): the effect of PCF on PA, was not directly but indirectly supported. Also the path with the omission error, H2 [SRH → psychological trait (PT)]: the effect of SRH on PT, was statistically significant. The other paths in the hierarchical order of the model reported in previous studies were statistically significant.
Conclusion
We verified new dynamics of constructs involved in successful aging, which would provide better understanding of Rowe and Kahn’s successful aging model for Korean elderly people living in a medium-sized city.
doi:10.1016/j.phrp.2012.07.003
PMCID: PMC3738711  PMID: 24159505
productive activity; physical–cognitive function; psychological trait; social network; self-reported health
2.  Prevalence of Successful Aging in the Elderly in Western Mexico 
Objectives. The aim of this paper is to estimate the prevalence of successful aging in the elderly in Western Mexico and to analyze its variability by age, sex, education, marital status, and pension. Methods. This study employs data from the Health, Wellbeing, and Aging Study (SABE) in Jalisco and Colima, Mexico. Successful aging was operationalized in accordance with no important disease, no disability, physical functioning, cognitive functioning, and being actively. There were a total of 3116 elderly. Results. 12.6% of older adults were “successful” aging. The old-old is a lower proportion of successful aging people; it ranges from 18.9% among people aged 60–69 years to 3.9% in the 80–89 years and up to 1% in people 90 and older. There were also differences according to sex (P = .000), with a higher proportion of successful aging men (18.4% compared with 9.2% of women). There were differences in educational level (P = .000); those higher with education were found to be more successful aging, and also there were differences in marital status for married people (P = .000). Discussion. A small number of older adults meet the criteria definition of successful aging, suggesting the need to analyze in depth the concept and the indicators.
doi:10.1155/2012/460249
PMCID: PMC3463158  PMID: 23049550
3.  Recent trends in chronic disease, impairment and disability among older adults in the United States 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:47.
Background
To examine concurrent prevalence trends of chronic disease, impairment and disability among older adults.
Methods
We analyzed the 1998, 2004 and 2008 waves of the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative survey of older adults in the United States, and included 31,568 community dwelling adults aged 65 and over. Measurements include: prevalence of chronic diseases including hypertension, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic lung disease and arthritis; prevalence of impairments, including impairments of cognition, vision, hearing, mobility, and urinary incontinence; prevalence of disability, including activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).
Results
The proportion of older adults reporting no chronic disease decreased from 13.1% (95% Confidence Interval [CI], 12.4%-13.8%) in 1998 to 7.8% (95% CI, 7.2%-8.4%) in 2008, whereas the proportion reporting 1 or more chronic diseases increased from 86.9% (95% CI, 86.2%-89.6%) in 1998 to 92.2% (95% CI, 91.6%-92.8%) in 2008. In addition, the proportion reporting 4 or more diseases increased from 11.7% (95% CI, 11.0%-12.4%) in 1998 to 17.4% (95% CI, 16.6%-18.2%) in 2008. The proportion of older adults reporting no impairments was 47.3% (95% CI, 46.3%-48.4%) in 1998 and 44.4% (95% CI, 43.3%-45.5%) in 2008, whereas the proportion of respondents reporting 3 or more was 7.2% (95% CI, 6.7%-7.7%) in 1998 and 7.3% (95% CI, 6.8%-7.9%) in 2008. The proportion of older adults reporting any ADL or IADL disability was 26.3% (95% CI, 25.4%-27.2%) in 1998 and 25.4% (95% CI, 24.5%-26.3%) in 2008.
Conclusions
Multiple chronic disease is increasingly prevalent among older U.S. adults, whereas the prevalence of impairment and disability, while substantial, remain stable.
doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-47
PMCID: PMC3170191  PMID: 21851629
chronic disease; impairment; disability; prevalence trends
4.  Successful Aging in Older Adults with Schizophrenia: Prevalence and Associated Factors 
Objective
This study contrasts the prevalence of successful aging in older adults with schizophrenia with their age peers in the community, and examines variables associated with successful aging in the schizophrenia group.
Methods
The schizophrenia group consisted of 198 community-dwelling persons aged ≥55 years who developed schizophrenia before age 45. A community comparison group (N = 113) was recruited using randomly selected block-groups. The three objective criteria proposed by Rowe and Kahn were operationalized using a 6-item summed score. The association of 16 predictor variables with the successful aging score in the schizophrenia group was examined.
Results
The community group had significantly higher successful aging scores than the schizophrenia group (4.3 vs. 3.0; t =8.36, df =309, p< .001). Nineteen percent of the community group met all 6 criteria on the Successful Aging Score versus 2% of the schizophrenia group. In regression analysis, only two variables –fewer negative symptoms and a higher quality of life index—were associated with the successful aging score within the schizophrenia group.
Conclusion
Older adults with schizophrenia rarely achieve successful aging, and do so much less commonly than their age peers. Only two significant variables were associated with successful aging, neither of which are easily remediable. The elements that comprise the components of successful aging, especially physical health, may be better targets for intervention.
doi:10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181d57441
PMCID: PMC2946512  PMID: 20808093
successful aging; social integration; schizophrenia
5.  How “Successful” Do Older Europeans Age? Findings From SHARE 
Objectives.
We estimate comparable prevalence estimates of “successful aging” for 14 European countries and Israel, adding a new cross-nationally comparative perspective to recently published findings for the United States.
Methods.
Measures for a variety of specific successful aging criteria were derived from baseline interviews of respondents aged 65+ who participated in the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (n = 21,493). A multivariate logistic model was run for our global successful aging measure.
Results.
Our analysis revealed substantial cross-country variation around a mean value of 8.5%: Although as many as 21.1% of older Danes meet our successful aging criteria, the respective proportion in Poland is only 1.6%. Age, gender, and socioeconomic status are shown to bear highly significant associations with individuals’ odds of successful aging.
Discussion.
The observed cross-national variation in successful aging—which continues to exist if population composition is controlled for—highlights the importance of taking into consideration structural factors at the societal level. It also suggests a potential for policy interventions supporting individuals’ opportunities for successful aging.
doi:10.1093/geronb/gbq089
PMCID: PMC3041975  PMID: 21135069
Cross-national research; Population aging; SHARE; Successful aging
6.  Impact of social integration on metabolic functions: evidence from a nationally representative longitudinal study of US older adults 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:1210.
Background
Metabolic functions may operate as important biophysiological mechanisms through which social relationships affect health. It is unclear how social embeddedness or the lack thereof is related to risk of metabolic dysregulation. To fill this gap we tested the effects of social integration on metabolic functions over time in a nationally representative sample of older adults in the United States and examined population heterogeneity in the effects.
Methods
Using longitudinal data from 4,323 adults aged over 50 years in the Health and Retirement Study and latent growth curve models, we estimated the trajectories of social integration spanning five waves, 1998–2006, in relation to biomarkers of energy metabolism in 2006. We assessed social integration using a summary index of the number of social ties across five domains. We examined six biomarkers, including total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, glycosylated hemoglobin, waist circumference, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and the summary index of the overall burden of metabolic dysregulation.
Results
High social integration predicted significantly lower risks of both individual and overall metabolic dysregulation. Specifically, adjusting for age, sex, race, and body mass index, having four to five social ties reduced the risks of abdominal obesity by 61% (odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval {CI}] = 0.39 [0.23, 0.67], p = .007), hypertension by 41% (OR [95% CI] = 0.59 [0.42, 0.84], p = .021), and the overall metabolic dysregulation by 46% (OR [95% CI] = 0.54 [0.40, 0.72], p < .001). The OR for the overall burden remained significant when adjusting for social, behavioral, and illness factors. In addition, stably high social integration had more potent metabolic impacts over time than changes therein. Such effects were consistent across subpopulations and more salient for the younger old (those under age 65), males, whites, and the socioeconomically disadvantaged.
Conclusions
This study addressed important challenges in previous research linking social integration to metabolic health by clarifying the nature and direction of the relationship as it applies to different objectively measured markers and population subgroups. It suggests additional psychosocial and biological pathways to consider in future research on the contributions of social deficits to disease etiology and old-age mortality.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1210
PMCID: PMC3923581  PMID: 24359332
Social integration; Social network size; Metabolic functions; Total cholesterol; High-density lipoprotein cholesterol; Glycosylated hemoglobin; Waist circumference; Blood pressure; Older adults
7.  Alcohol Consumption at Midlife and Successful Ageing in Women: A Prospective Cohort Analysis in the Nurses' Health Study 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(9):e1001090.
Using the Nurses' Health Study, Qi Sun and colleagues examine whether moderate alcohol intake is associated with overall health and well-being among women who survive to older age.
Background
Observational studies have documented inverse associations between moderate alcohol consumption and risk of premature death. It is largely unknown whether moderate alcohol intake is also associated with overall health and well-being among populations who have survived to older age. In this study, we prospectively examined alcohol use assessed at midlife in relation to successful ageing in a cohort of US women.
Methods and Findings
Alcohol consumption at midlife was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Subsequently, successful ageing was defined in 13,894 Nurses' Health Study participants who survived to age 70 or older, and whose health status was continuously updated. “Successful ageing” was considered as being free of 11 major chronic diseases and having no major cognitive impairment, physical impairment, or mental health limitations. Analyses were restricted to the 98.1% of participants who were not heavier drinkers (>45 g/d) at midlife. Of all eligible study participants, 1,491 (10.7%) achieved successful ageing. After multivariable adjustment of potential confounders, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption at midlife was associated with modestly increased odds of successful ageing. The odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.0 (referent) for nondrinkers, 1.11 (0.96–1.29) for ≤5.0 g/d, 1.19 (1.01–1.40) for 5.1–15.0 g/d, 1.28 (1.03–1.58) for 15.1–30.0 g/d, and 1.24 (0.87–1.76) for 30.1–45.0 g/d. Meanwhile, independent of total alcohol intake, participants who drank alcohol at regular patterns throughout the week, rather than on a single occasion, had somewhat better odds of successful ageing; for example, the odds ratios (95% confidence interval) were 1.29 (1.01–1.64) and 1.47 (1.14–1.90) for those drinking 3–4 days and 5–7 days per week in comparison with nondrinkers, respectively, whereas the odds ratio was 1.10 (0.94–1.30) for those drinking only 1–2 days per week.
Conclusions
These data suggest that regular, moderate consumption of alcohol at midlife may be related to a modest increase in overall health status among women who survive to older ages.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
People have always drunk alcoholic beverages but throughout history there have been arguments about the risks and benefits of beer, wine, and spirits. It is clear that excessive alcohol use—heavy drinking (an average of more than two drinks per day for men or more than one drink per day for women; in the US, a “drink” is defined as 15 g of alcohol or, roughly speaking, a can of beer or a small glass of wine) or binge drinking (five or more drinks on a single occasion for men; 4 or more drinks at one time for women)—is harmful. It causes liver damage and increases the risk of developing some types of cancer. It contributes to depression and violence and interferes with relationships. And it is often implicated in fatal traffic accidents. However, in contrast to these and other harms associated with excessive alcohol use, moderate alcohol consumption seems to reduce the risk of specific diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cognitive decline (deterioration in learning, reasoning, and perception).
Why Was This Study Done?
Although people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol have a reduced risk of premature death compared to abstainers or heavy drinkers, it is not known whether moderate alcohol consumption is associated with overall health among ageing populations. In many countries, elderly people are an increasingly large part of the population, so it is important to know how moderate alcohol consumption affects their well-being. In this study, the researchers examine the effect of alcohol consumption at midlife on successful ageing among the participants of the Nurses' Health Study. The researchers study the effect of midlife alcohol consumption because the chronic conditions that affect elderly people develop slowly and it is likely that factors in earlier life determine health in later life. Successful ageing is defined as being free of major chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, and having no major cognitive impairment, physical impairment, or mental health problems. The Nurses' Health Study enrolled 121,700 female registered nurses in 1976 to investigate the long-term effects of oral contraceptive use but has provided insights into many aspects of health and disease.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers assessed the alcohol consumption of the study participants at midlife (average age 58 years) from food frequency questionnaires completed in 1980 and 1984. Successful ageing for 13,984 participants who survived past 70 years was assessed by analyzing biennial health status questionnaires and cognitive function test results. One tenth of the women achieved successful ageing. After allowing for other factors that might affect their health such as smoking, women who drank light or moderate amounts of alcohol had a modestly increased chance of successful ageing compared to nondrinkers. For example, compared to nondrinkers, women who drank 5–15 g of alcohol per day (between one-third and one drink per day) had about a 20% higher chance of successful ageing. Independent of total alcohol intake, women who drank alcohol regularly had a better chance of successful ageing than occasional drinkers. Thus, compared to nondrinkers, women who drank five to seven days a week had nearly a 50% greater chance of successful ageing whereas women who drank only one or two days a week had a similar likelihood of successful ageing.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that regular, moderate consumption of alcohol at midlife may be related to a modest increase in overall health among women who survive to older ages. Because this is an observational study, it is possible that the women who drank moderately share other unknown characteristics that are actually responsible for their increased chance of successful ageing. Moreover, because all the study participants were women and most had European ancestry, these findings cannot be applied to men or to other ethnic groups. Nevertheless, these findings provide support for the 2010 US Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines, which state that consumption of up to one alcoholic drink per day for women and up to two alcoholic drinks per day for men may provide health benefits. Importantly, they also suggest that drinking alcohol regularly in moderation rather than occasional heavy drinking may be associated with a greater likelihood of successful ageing.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001090.
The US National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has detailed information about alcohol and its effects on health, including a fact sheet on women and alcohol and a booklet entitled Alcohol, a woman's health issue
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website on alcohol and public health
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides detailed information about drinking and alcohol, including how to calculate consumption
The Nutrition Source, a website maintained by the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, has an article entitled Alcohol: balancing risks and benefits
MedlinePlus provides links to many other resources on alcohol and on seniors' health
Details of the Nurses' Health Study are available
The 2010 US Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines are available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001090
PMCID: PMC3167795  PMID: 21909248
8.  Effect of the California Tobacco Control Program on Personal Health Care Expenditures 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(8):e178.
Background
Large state tobacco control programs have been shown to reduce smoking and would be expected to affect health care costs. We investigate the effect of California's large-scale tobacco control program on aggregate personal health care expenditures in the state.
Methods and Findings
Cointegrating regressions were used to predict (1) the difference in per capita cigarette consumption between California and 38 control states as a function of the difference in cumulative expenditures of the California and control state tobacco control programs, and (2) the relationship between the difference in cigarette consumption and the difference in per capita personal health expenditures between the control states and California between 1980 and 2004. Between 1989 (when it started) and 2004, the California program was associated with $86 billion (2004 US dollars) (95% confidence interval [CI] $28 billion to $151 billion) lower health care expenditures than would have been expected without the program. This reduction grew over time, reaching 7.3% (95% CI 2.7%–12.1%) of total health care expenditures in 2004.
Conclusions
A strong tobacco control program is not only associated with reduced smoking, but also with reductions in health care expenditures.
Stanton Glantz and colleagues find that the California state tobacco control program is associated not only with reduced smoking, but with reductions in health care costs as well.
Editors' Summary
Background
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco causes 1 in 10 adult deaths worldwide and is the leading preventable cause of death in the world. In 2005, tobacco caused 5.4 million deaths, which amounts to one death every 6 seconds. It is estimated that by 2030, annual deaths from tobacco use will be 8 million worldwide. Eighty percent of these deaths will occur in the developing world.
Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke is also a major health concern, as it can cause cancer, heart disease, and respiratory illness. An estimated 200,000 workers die annually from exposure to smoke at work, according to the International Labour Organization.
In 2008, the WHO released a report on the global tobacco epidemic, which provided a comprehensive analysis of tobacco use and control efforts. It revealed that not a single country fully implements all key tobacco control measures. The report also stated that governments around the world collect 500 times more money in tobacco taxes each year than they spend on anti-tobacco efforts.
The California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) is a state-funded public policy intervention established in 1989. Its goal is to decrease tobacco-related diseases and deaths in California by reducing tobacco use across the state. The program is focused on adults and social norm change rather than on adolescent tobacco use prevention, on the premise that the “next generation cannot be saved without changing the generations who have already reached adulthood.”
Why Was This Study Done?
The success of large public health programs, especially those that counter the tactics of powerful industries such as the tobacco industry, require funding. The justification of public spending on these initiatives should be evidence driven. While the success of the CTCP in reducing smoking was known, it was not yet clear whether the program had reduced health care costs. The researchers investigated the effect of the CTCP on personal health care expenditures in the state. Their findings can provide useful information for the development of other tobacco control initiatives.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
Using the statistical approach of cointegrating regressions, the researchers modeled the relationships between per capita tobacco control expenditures, per capita cigarette consumption, and health care expenditures. They analyzed data from 1980 and 2004 on smoking, health care expenditures, and exposure to a tobacco control educational program in California and compared them to a group of 38 control states. Control states were those without comprehensive tobacco control programs prior to 2000 or cigarette tax increases of $0.50 or more per pack over the study period. This comparison allowed the researchers to assess the effect of the CTCP on total personal health care spending.
The researchers found that US$86 billion (95% CI $28 billion to $151 billion) were saved in personal health care expenditure between 1989, the start of the program, and 2004. This generally grew over time, reaching 7.3% of the total in 2003–2004. The personal health care expenditure savings represented about a 50-fold return on the $1.8 billion spent on the program during the same period (all 2004 US dollars).
The researchers report that 3.6 billion (95% CI 1.5 billion to 5.9 billion) fewer packs of cigarettes were sold between 1989–1990 and 2003–2004. This represents a loss of $9.2 billion (95% CI $3.8 billion to $14.7 billion) to the tobacco industry in pre-tax cigarette sales.
These cost savings occurred despite the substantial diversion of funding and decreased purchasing power experienced by the CTCP, particularly in the mid-1990s. (The program was funded with a constant tax of $0.05 per pack, despite inflation). The researchers estimated that if the funding, and thus purchasing power, had been maintained, total savings in personal health expenditures would have increased to $156 billion with an additional $70 billion in health cost savings. Cigarette consumption would have dropped to an estimated 6.6 billion packs.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The CTCP has been successful in reducing smoking in California in comparison to other states, and has reduced personal health care expenditures. These cost reductions were substantial, rapid, and grew over time. The researchers contend that the CTCP's focus on social norm change among adults, not primarily on youth prevention, is responsible for such rapid and large reductions in disease and the associated health care costs. They state that a program focused on primary prevention of smoking among adolescents would take decades to have any impact on tobacco-induced diseases, which rarely manifest among adolescents or even young adults. These researcher's findings support the establishment of strong tobacco control programs in other settings: they not only reduce smoking, prevent disease, and save lives, but also represent an important way to curb rapidly increasing health care expenditures in the short term.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050178.
The California Tobacco Control Program provides information about its social change approach
The WHO MPOWER strategy, detailed in the 2008 Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, outlines the six most effective policies to help curb the epidemic
Resources to help people quit smoking can be obtained through the US Centers for Disease Control and the UK National Health Service
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050178
PMCID: PMC2522256  PMID: 18752344
9.  The Prevalence of Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults with Heart Failure 
BACKGROUND
Our understanding of the prevalence of cognitive impairment (CI) in older adults with heart failure (HF) in a nationally-representative sample is limited.
OBJECTIVES
We used a national probability sample to determine the prevalence of CI in older adults with HF.
DESIGN
Cross-sectional analysis of the 2004 wave of the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study linked to 2002–04 Medicare administrative claims
SETTING
United States, community-dwelling
PARTICIPANTS
6,189 respondents ≥ 67 years old.
MEASUREMENTS
An algorithm was developed using a combination of self- and proxy-report of a heart problem and the presence of ≥ 1 Medicare claim in administrative files using standard HF diagnostic codes. On the basis of the algorithm, 3 categories were created to characterize the likelihood of a HF diagnosis: 1) High or Moderate Probability of HF; 2) Low Probability of HF; and 3) Not a HF case. Cognitive function was assessed using a screening measure of cognitive function or by proxy rating. Age-adjusted prevalence estimates of CI were calculated for the high-moderate probability HF group, the low probability HF group, and the non-HF cases.
RESULTS
The prevalence of CI consistent with dementia in older adults with HF was 15%; while the prevalence of mild CI was 24%. The odds of dementiain those with HF was significantly increased, even after adjustment for age, education level, net worth and prior stroke (OR: 1.52; 95% CI: 1.14 – 2.02).
CONCLUSION
CI is common in older adults with HF and is independently associated with an increased risk for dementia. A cognitive assessment should be routinely incorporated into HF-focused models of care.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.04097.x
PMCID: PMC3445700  PMID: 22882000
Heart failure; aged; cognitive impairment; Medicare claims data
10.  Disability Transitions and Health Expectancies among Adults 45 Years and Older in Malawi: A Cohort-Based Model 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001435.
Collin Payne and colleagues investigated development of disabilities and years expected to live with disabilities in participants 45 years and older participating in the Malawi Longitudinal Survey of Families and Health.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Falling fertility and increasing life expectancy contribute to a growing elderly population in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA); by 2060, persons aged 45 y and older are projected to be 25% of SSA's population, up from 10% in 2010. Aging in SSA is associated with unique challenges because of poverty and inadequate social supports. However, despite its importance for understanding the consequences of population aging, the evidence about the prevalence of disabilities and functional limitations due to poor physical health among older adults in SSA continues to be very limited.
Methods and Findings
Participants came from 2006, 2008, and 2010 waves of the Malawi Longitudinal Survey of Families and Health, a study of the rural population in Malawi. We investigate how poor physical health results in functional limitations that limit the day-to-day activities of individuals in domains relevant to this subsistence-agriculture context. These disabilities were parameterized based on questions from the SF-12 questionnaire about limitations in daily living activities. We estimated age-specific patterns of functional limitations and the transitions over time between different disability states using a discrete-time hazard model. The estimated transition rates were then used to calculate the first (to our knowledge) microdata-based health expectancies calculated for SSA. The risks of experiencing functional limitations due to poor physical health are high in this population, and the onset of disabilities happens early in life. Our analyses show that 45-y-old women can expect to spend 58% (95% CI, 55%–64%) of their remaining 28 y of life (95% CI, 25.7–33.5) with functional limitations; 45-y-old men can expect to live 41% (95% CI, 35%–46%) of their remaining 25.4 y (95% CI, 23.3–28.8) with such limitations. Disabilities related to functional limitations are shown to have a substantial negative effect on individuals' labor activities, and are negatively related to subjective well-being.
Conclusions
Individuals in this population experience a lengthy struggle with disabling conditions in adulthood, with high probabilities of remitting and relapsing between states of functional limitation. Given the strong association of disabilities with work efforts and subjective well-being, this research suggests that current national health policies and international donor-funded health programs in SSA inadequately target the physical health of mature and older adults.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The population of the world is getting older. In almost every country, the over-60 age group is growing faster than any other age group. In 2000, globally, there were about 605 million people aged 60 years or more; by 2050, 2 billion people will be in this age group. Much of this increase in the elderly population will be in low-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, 10% of the population is currently aged 45 years or more, but by 2060, a quarter of the population will be so-called mature adults. In all countries, population aging is the result of women having fewer children (falling fertility) and people living longer (increasing life expectancy). Thus, population aging is a demographic transition, a change in birth and death rates. In low- and middle-income countries, population aging is occurring in parallel with an “epidemiological transition,” a shift from communicable (infectious) diseases to non-communicable diseases (for example, heart disease) as the primary causes of illness and death.
Why Was This Study Done?
Both the demographic and the epidemiological transition have public health implications for low-income countries. Good health is important for the independence and economic productivity of older people. Productive older people can help younger populations financially and physically, and help compensate for the limitations experienced by younger populations infected with HIV. Also, low-income countries lack social safety nets, so disabled older adults can be a burden on younger populations. Thus, the health of older individuals is important to the well-being of people of all ages. As populations age, low-income countries will need to invest in health care for mature and elderly adults and in disease prevention programs to prevent or delay the onset of non-communicable diseases, which can limit normal daily activities by causing disabilities. Before providing these services, national policy makers need to know the proportion of their population with disabilities, the functional limitations caused by poor physical health, and the health expectancies (the number of years a person can expect to be in good health) of older people in their country. In this cohort modeling study, the researchers estimate health expectancies and transition rates between different levels of disability among mature adults in Malawi, one of the world's poorest countries, using data collected by the Malawi Longitudinal Survey of Families and Health (MLSFH) on economic, social, and health conditions in a rural population. Because Malawi has shorter life expectancies and earlier onset of disability than wealthier countries, the authors considered individuals aged 45 and older as mature adults at risk for disability.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers categorized the participants in the 2006, 2008, and 2010 waves of the MLSFH into three levels of functional limitation (healthy, moderately limited, and severely limited) based on answers to questions in the SF-12 health survey questionnaire that ask about disabilities that limit daily activities that rural Malawians perform. The researchers estimated age–gender patterns of functional limitations and transition rates between different disability states using a discrete-time hazard model, and health expectancies by running a microsimulation to model the aging of synthetic cohorts with various starting ages but the same gender and functional limitation distributions as the study population. These analyses show that the chance of becoming physically disabled rises sharply with age, with 45-year-old women in rural Malawi expected to spend 58% of their estimated remaining 28 years with functional limitations, and 45-year-old men expected to live 41% of their remaining 25.4 years with functional limitations. Also, on average, a 45-year-old woman will spend 2.7 years with moderate functional limitation and 0.6 years with severe functional limitation before she reaches 55; for men the corresponding values are 1.6 and 0.4 years. Around 50% of moderately and 60%–80% of severely limited individuals stated that pain interfered quite a bit or extremely with their normal work during the past four weeks, suggesting that pain treatment may help reduce disability.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that mature adults in rural Malawi will have some degree of disability during much of their remaining lifetime. The risks of experiencing functional limitations are higher and the onset of persistent disabilities happens earlier in Malawi than in more developed contexts—the proportions of remaining life spent with severe limitations at age 45 in Malawi are comparable to those of 80-year-olds in the US. The accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by assumptions made during modeling and by the quality of the data fed into the models. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that functional limitations, which have a negative effect on the labor activity of individuals, will become more prominent in Malawi (and probably other sub-Saharan countries) as the age composition of populations shifts over the coming years. Older populations in sub-Saharan Africa are not targeted well by health policies and programs at present. Consequently, these findings suggest that policy makers will need to ensure that additional financial resources are provided to improve health-care provision for aging individuals and to lessen the high rates of functional limitation and associated disabilities.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001435.
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Andreas Stuck, et al.
The World Health Organization provides information on many aspects of aging (in several languages); the WHO Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health (SAGE) is compiling longitudinal information on the health and well-being of adult populations and the aging process
The United Nations Population Fund and HelpAge International publication Ageing in the Twenty-First Century is available
HelpAge International is an international nongovernmental organization that helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination, and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, and healthy lives
More information on the Malawi Longitudinal Study of Families and Health is available
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001435
PMCID: PMC3646719  PMID: 23667343
11.  In Vitro Fertilization and Multiple Pregnancies 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this health technology policy assessment was to determine the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of IVF for infertility treatment, as well as the role of IVF in reducing the rate of multiple pregnancies.
Clinical Need: Target Population and Condition
Typically defined as a failure to conceive after a year of regular unprotected intercourse, infertility affects 8% to 16% of reproductive age couples. The condition can be caused by disruptions at various steps of the reproductive process. Major causes of infertility include abnormalities of sperm, tubal obstruction, endometriosis, ovulatory disorder, and idiopathic infertility. Depending on the cause and patient characteristics, management options range from pharmacologic treatment to more advanced techniques referred to as assisted reproductive technologies (ART). ART include IVF and IVF-related procedures such as intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and, according to some definitions, intra-uterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination. Almost invariably, an initial step in ART is controlled ovarian stimulation (COS), which leads to a significantly higher rate of multiple pregnancies after ART compared with that following natural conception. Multiple pregnancies are associated with a broad range of negative consequences for both mother and fetuses. Maternal complications include increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia, polyhydramnios, gestational diabetes, fetal malpresentation requiring Caesarean section, postpartum haemorrhage, and postpartum depression. Babies from multiple pregnancies are at a significantly higher risk of early death, prematurity, and low birth weight, as well as mental and physical disabilities related to prematurity. Increased maternal and fetal morbidity leads to higher perinatal and neonatal costs of multiple pregnancies, as well as subsequent lifelong costs due to disabilities and an increased need for medical and social support.
The Technology Being Reviewed
IVF was first developed as a method to overcome bilateral Fallopian tube obstruction. The procedure includes several steps: (1) the woman’s egg is retrieved from the ovaries; (2) exposed to sperm outside the body and fertilized; (3) the embryo(s) is cultured for 3 to 5 days; and (4) is transferred back to the uterus. IFV is considered to be one of the most effective treatments for infertility today. According to data from the Canadian Assisted Reproductive Technology Registry, the average live birth rate after IVF in Canada is around 30%, but there is considerable variation in the age of the mother and primary cause of infertility.
An important advantage of IVF is that it allows for the control of the number of embryos transferred. An elective single embryo transfer in IVF cycles adopted in many European countries was shown to significantly reduce the risk of multiple pregnancies while maintaining acceptable birth rates. However, when number of embryos transferred is not limited, the rate of IVF-associated multiple pregnancies is similar to that of other treatments involving ovarian stimulation. The practice of multiple embryo transfer in IVF is often the result of pressures to increase success rates due to the high costs of the procedure. The average rate of multiple pregnancies resulting from IVF in Canada is currently around 30%.
An alternative to IVF is IUI. In spite of reported lower success rates of IUI (pregnancy rates per cycle range from 8.7% to 17.1%) it is generally attempted before IVF due to its lower invasiveness and cost.
Two major drawbacks of IUI are that it cannot be used in cases of bilateral tubal obstruction and it does not allow much control over the risk of multiple pregnancies compared with IVF. The rate of multiple pregnancies after IUI with COS is estimated to be about 21% to 29%.
Ontario Health Insurance Plan Coverage
Currently, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan covers the cost of IVF for women with bilaterally blocked Fallopian tubes only, in which case it is funded for 3 cycles, excluding the cost of drugs. The cost of IUI is covered except for preparation of the sperm and drugs used for COS.
Diffusion of Technology
According to Canadian Assisted Reproductive Technology Registry data, in 2004 there were 25 infertility clinics across Canada offering IVF and 7,619 IVF cycles performed. In Ontario, there are 13 infertility clinics with about 4,300 IVF cycles performed annually.
Literature Review
Royal Commission Report on Reproductive Technologies
The 1993 release of the Royal Commission report on reproductive technologies, Proceed With Care, resulted in the withdrawal of most IVF funding in Ontario, where prior to 1994 IVF was fully funded. Recommendations of the Commission to withdraw IVF funding were largely based on findings of the systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published before 1990. The review showed IVF effectiveness only in cases of bilateral tubal obstruction. As for nontubal causes of infertility, there was not enough evidence to establish whether IVF was effective or not.
Since the field of reproductive technology is constantly evolving, there have been several changes since the publication of the Royal Commission report. These changes include: increased success rates of IVF; introduction of ICSI in the early 1990’s as a treatment for male factor infertility; and improved embryo implantation rates allowing for the transfer of a single embryo to avoid multiple pregnancies after IVF.
Studies After the Royal Commission Report: Review Strategy
Three separate literature reviews were conducted in the following areas: clinical effectiveness of IVF, cost-effectiveness of IVF, and outcomes of single embryo transfer (SET) in IVF cycles.
Clinical effectiveness of IVF: RCTs or meta-analyses of RCTs that compared live birth rates after IVF versus alternative treatments, where the cause of infertility was clearly stated or it was possible to stratify the outcome by the cause of infertility.
Cost effectiveness of IVF: All relevant economic studies comparing IVF to alternative methods of treatment were reviewed
Outcomes of IVF with SET: RCTs or meta-analyses of RCTs that compared live birth rates and multiple birth rates associated with transfer of single versus double embryos.
OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment database, and websites of other health technology assessment agencies were searched using specific subject headings and keywords to identify relevant studies.
Summary of Findings
Comparative Clinical Effectiveness of IVF
Overall, there is a lack of well composed RCTs in this area and considerable diversity in both definition and measurement of outcomes exists between trials. Many studies used fertility or pregnancy rates instead of live birth rates. Moreover, the denominator for rate calculation varied from study to study (e.g. rates were calculated per cycle started, per cycle completed, per couple, etc...).
Nevertheless, few studies of sufficient quality were identified and categorized by the cause of infertility and existing alternatives to IVF. The following are the key findings:
A 2005 meta-analysis demonstrated that, in patients with idiopathic infertility, IVF was clearly superior to expectant management, but there were no statistically significant differences in live birth rates between IVF and IUI, nor between IVF and gamete-intra-Fallopian transfer.
A subset of data from a 2000 study showed no significant differences in pregnancy rates between IVF and IUI for moderate male factor infertility.
In patients with moderate male factor infertility, standard IVF was also compared with ICSI in a 2002 meta-analysis. All studies included in the meta-analysis showed superior fertilization rates with ICSI, and the pooled risk ratio for oocyte fertilization was 1.9 (95% Confidence Interval 1.4-2.5) in favour of ICSI. Two other RCTs in this area published after the 2002 meta-analysis had similar results and further confirmed these findings. There were no RCTs comparing IVF with ICSI in patients with severe male factor infertility, mainly because based on the expert opinion, ICSI might only be an effective treatment for severe male factor infertility.
Cost-Effectiveness of IVF
Five economic evaluations of IVF were found, including one comprehensive systematic review of 57 health economic studies. The studies compared cost-effectiveness of IVF with a number of alternatives such as observation, ovarian stimulation, IUI, tubal surgery, varicocelectomy, etc... The cost-effectiveness of IVF was analyzed separately for different types of infertility. Most of the reviewed studies concluded that due to the high cost, IVF has a less favourable cost-effectiveness profile compared with alternative treatment options. Therefore, IVF was not recommended as the first line of treatment in the majority of cases. The only two exceptions were bilateral tubal obstruction and severe male factor infertility, where an immediate offer of IVF/ICSI might the most cost-effective option.
Clinical Outcomes After Single Versus Double Embryo Transfer Strategies of IVF
Since the SET strategy has been more widely adopted in Europe, all RCT outcomes of SET were conducted in European countries. The major study in this area was a large 2005 meta-analysis, followed by two other published RCTs.
All of these studies reached similar conclusions:
Although a single SET cycle results in lower birth rates than a single double embryo transfer (DET) cycle, the cumulative birth rate after 2 cycles of SET (fresh + frozen-thawed embryos) was comparable to the birth rate after a single DET cycle (~40%).
SET was associated with a significant reduction in multiple births compared with DET (0.8% vs. 33.1% respectively in the largest RCT).
Most trials on SET included women younger than 36 years old with a sufficient number of embryos available for transfer that allowed for selection of the top quality embryo(s). A 2006 RCT, however, compared SET and DET strategies in an unselected group of patients without restrictions on the woman’s age or embryo quality. This study demonstrated that SET could be applied to older women.
Estimate of the Target Population
Based on results of the literature review and consultations with experts, four categories of infertile patients who may benefit from increased access to IVF/ICSI were identified:
Patients with severe male factor infertility, where IVF should be offered in conjunction with ICSI;
Infertile women with serious medical contraindications to multiple pregnancy, who should be offered IVF-SET;
Infertile patients who want to avoid the risk of multiple pregnancy and thus opt for IVF-SET; and
Patients who failed treatment with IUI and wish to try IVF.
Since, however, the latter indication does not reflect any new advances in IVF technology that would alter existing policy, it was not considered in this analysis.
Economic Analysis
Economic Review: Cost–Effectiveness of SET Versus DET
Conclusions of published studies on cost-effectiveness of SET versus DET were not consistent. While some studies found that SET strategy is more cost-effective due to avoidance of multiple pregnancies, other studies either did not find any significant differences in cost per birth between SET and DET, or favoured DET as a more cost-effective option.
Ontario-Based Economic Analysis
An Ontario-based economic analysis compared cost per birth using three treatment strategies: IUI, IVF-SET, and IVF-DET. A decision-tree model assumed three cycles for each treatment option. Two separate models were considered; the first included only fresh cycles of IVF, while the second had a combination of fresh and frozen cycles. Even after accounting for cost-savings due to avoidance of multiple pregnancies (only short-term complications), IVF-SET was still associated with a highest cost per birth. The approximate budget impact to cover the first three indications for IVF listed above (severe male factor infertility, women with medical contraindications to multiple pregnancy, and couples who wish to avoid the risk of multiple pregnancy) is estimated at $9.8 to $12.8 million (Cdn). Coverage of only first two indications, namely, ICSI in patients with severe male factor infertility and infertile women with serious medical contraindications to multiple pregnancy, is estimated at $3.8 to $5.5 million Cdn.
Other Considerations
International data shows that both IVF utilization and the average number of embryos transferred in IVF cycles are influenced by IVF funding policy. The success of the SET strategy in European countries is largely due to the fact that IVF treatment is subsidized by governments.
Surveys of patients with infertility demonstrated that a significant proportion (~40%) of patients not only do not mind having multiple babies, but consider twins being an ideal outcome of infertility treatment.
A women’s age may impose some restrictions on the implementation of a SET strategy.
Conclusions and Recommendations
A review of published studies has demonstrated that IVF-SET is an effective treatment for infertility that avoids multiple pregnancies.
However, results of an Ontario-based economic analysis shows that cost savings associated with a reduction in multiple pregnancies after IVF-SET does not justify the cost of universal IVF-SET coverage by the province. Moreover, the province currently funds IUI, which has been shown to be as effective as IVF for certain types of infertility and is significantly less expensive.
In patients with severe male factor infertility, IVF in conjunction with ICSI may be the only effective treatment.
Thus, 2 indications where additional IVF access should be considered include:
IVF/ICSI for patients with severe male factor infertility
IVF-SET in infertile women with serious medical contraindications to multiple pregnancy
PMCID: PMC3379537  PMID: 23074488
12.  The Older They Are, the Less Successful They Become? Findings from the Georgia Centenarian Study 
Journal of Aging Research  2012;2012:695854.
This study examined whether oldest-old adults are successful agers. Three hundred and six octogenarians and centenarians of Phase III of the Georgia Centenarian Study participated in this study. A first model examined Rowe and Kahn's successful aging model (Rowe and Khan (1997 and 1998)) including the probability of disease, physical or cognitive capacity, and engagement with life. All three components were applied to assess how many oldest-old adults satisfied all three criteria. The result showed about 15% of octogenarians (15.1%), and none of centenarians satisfied all three components of successful aging. Consequently, a second alternative model focused on psychosocial aspects including three different components: subjective health, perceived economic status, and happiness. Different from Rowe and Kahn's successful aging model, a total of 62.3% of octogenarians and 47.5% of centenarians satisfied all three components of the alternative model of successful aging. The results suggest that additional criteria of successful aging should be considered thereby expanding the concepts and multidimensional aspects of successful aging among oldest-old adults.
doi:10.1155/2012/695854
PMCID: PMC3414058  PMID: 22900178
13.  Effects of Community-Wide Vaccination with PCV-7 on Pneumococcal Nasopharyngeal Carriage in The Gambia: A Cluster-Randomized Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(10):e1001107.
In a cluster-randomized trial conducted in Gambian villages, Anna Roca and colleagues find that vaccination of children with pneumococcal conjugate vaccines reduced vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage even among nonvaccinated older children and adults.
Background
Introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) of limited valency is justified in Africa by the high burden of pneumococcal disease. Long-term beneficial effects of PCVs may be countered by serotype replacement. We aimed to determine the impact of PCV-7 vaccination on pneumococcal carriage in rural Gambia.
Methods and Findings
A cluster-randomized (by village) trial of the impact of PCV-7 on pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage was conducted in 21 Gambian villages between December 2003 to June 2008 (5,441 inhabitants in 2006). Analysis was complemented with data obtained before vaccination. Because efficacy of PCV-9 in young Gambian children had been shown, it was considered unethical not to give PCV-7 to young children in all of the study villages. PCV-7 was given to children below 30 mo of age and to those born during the trial in all study villages. Villages were randomized (older children and adults) to receive one dose of PCV-7 (11 vaccinated villages) or meningococcal serogroup C conjugate vaccine (10 control villages). Cross-sectional surveys (CSSs) to collect nasopharyngeal swabs were conducted before vaccination (2,094 samples in the baseline CSS), and 4–6, 12, and 22 mo after vaccination (1,168, 1,210, and 446 samples in CSS-1, -2, and -3, respectively).
A time trend analysis showed a marked fall in the prevalence of vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage in all age groups following vaccination (from 23.7% and 26.8% in the baseline CSS to 7.1% and 8.5% in CSS-1, in vaccinated and control villages, respectively). The prevalence of vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage was lower in vaccinated than in control villages among older children (5 y to <15 y of age) and adults (≥15 y of age) at CSS-2 (odds ratio [OR] = 0.15 [95% CI 0.04–0.57] and OR = 0.32 [95% CI 0.10–0.98], respectively) and at CSS-3 (OR = 0.37 [95% CI 0.15–0.90] for older children, and 0% versus 7.6% for adults in vaccinated and control villages, respectively). Differences in the prevalence of non-vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage between vaccinated and control villages were small.
Conclusions
Vaccination of Gambian children reduced vaccine-type pneumococcal carriage across all age groups, indicating a “herd effect” in non-vaccinated older children and adults. No significant serotype replacement was detected.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
The prevention of pneumococcal disease, especially in children in developing countries, is a major international public health priority. Despite all the international attention on the UN's Millennium Development Goal 4—to reduce deaths in children under five years by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015—pneumonia, sepsis, and meningitis together compose more than 25% of the 10 million deaths occurring in children less than five years of age. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading bacterial cause of these diseases, and the World Health Organization estimates that approximately 800,000 children die each year of invasive pneumococcal disease.
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccines are currently available and protect against the serotypes that most commonly cause invasive pneumococcal disease in young children in North America and Europe. Such vaccines have been highly successful in reducing the incidence of invasive pneumococcal disease in both vaccinated children and in the non-vaccinated older population by reducing nasopharyngeal carriage (presence of pneumococcal bacteria in the back of the nose) in vaccinated infants, resulting in decreased transmission to contacts—the so-called herd effect. However, few countries with the highest burden of invasive pneumococcal disease, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, have introduced the vaccine into their national immunization programs.
Why Was This Study Done?
The features of pneumococcal nasopharyngeal carriage and invasive pneumococcal disease in sub-Saharan Africa are different than in other regions. Therefore, careful evaluation of the immune effects of vaccination requires long-term, longitudinal studies. As an alternative to such long-term observational studies, and to anticipate the potential long-term effects of the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccination in sub-Saharan Africa, the researchers conducted a cluster-randomized (by village) trial in The Gambia in which the whole populations of some villages were immunized with the vaccine PCV-7, and other villages received a control.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
With full consent from communities, the researchers randomized 21 similar villages in a rural region of western Gambia to receive pneumococcal conjugate vaccine or a control—meningococcal serogroup C conjugated vaccine, which is unlikely to affect pneumococcal carriage rates. For ethical reasons, the researchers only randomized residents aged over 30 months—all young infants received PCV-7, as a similar vaccine had already been shown to be effective in young infants. Before immunization began, the researchers took nasopharyngeal swabs from a random selection of village residents to determine the baseline pneumococcal carriage rates of both the serotypes of pneumococci covered by the vaccine (vaccine types, VTs) and the serotypes of pneumococci not covered in the vaccine (non-vaccine types, NVTs). The researchers then took nasopharyngeal swabs from a random sample of 1,200 of village residents in both groups of villages in cross-sectional surveys at 4–6, 12, and 22 months after vaccination. Villagers and laboratory staff were unaware of which vaccine was which (that is, they were blinded).
Before immunization, the overall prevalence of pneumococcal carriage in both groups was high, at 71.1%, and decreased with age. After vaccination, the overall prevalence of pneumococcal carriage in all three surveys was similar between vaccinated and control villages, showing a marked fall. However, the prevalence of carriage of VT pneumococci was significantly lower in vaccinated than in control villages in all surveys for all age groups. The prevalence of carriage of NVT pneumococci was similar in vaccinated and in control villages, except for a slightly higher prevalence of NVT pneumococci among vaccinated communities in adults at 4–6 months after vaccination. The researchers also found that the overall prevalence of pneumococcal carriage fell markedly after vaccination and reached minimum levels at 12 months in both study arms and in all age groups.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that vaccination of young Gambian children reduced carriage of VT pneumococci in vaccinated children but also in vaccinated and non-vaccinated older children and adults, revealing a potential herd effect from vaccination of young children. Furthermore, the immunological pressure induced by vaccinating whole communities did not lead to a community-wide increase in carriage of NVT pneumococci during a two-year period after vaccination. The researchers plan to conduct more long-term follow-up studies to determine nasopharyngeal carriage in these communities.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001107.
The World Health Organization has information about pneumococcus
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about pneumococcal conjugate vaccination
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001107
PMCID: PMC3196470  PMID: 22028630
14.  An Examination of Healthy Aging Across a Conceptual Continuum: Prevalence Estimates, Demographic Patterns, and Validity 
Background.
Although the notion of healthy aging has gained wide acceptance in gerontology, measuring the phenomenon is challenging. Guided by a prominent conceptualization of healthy aging, we examined how shifting from a more to less stringent definition of healthy aging influences prevalence estimates, demographic patterns, and validity.
Methods.
Data are from adults aged 65 years and older who participated in the Health and Retirement Study. We examined four operational definitions of healthy aging. For each, we calculated prevalence estimates and examined the odds of healthy aging by age, education, gender, and race-ethnicity in 2006. We also examined the association between healthy aging and both self-rated health and death.
Results.
Across definitions, the prevalence of healthy aging ranged from 3.3% to 35.5%. For all definitions, those classified as experiencing healthy aging had lower odds of fair or poor self-rated health and death over an 8-year period. The odds of being classified as “healthy” were lower among those of advanced age, those with less education, and women than for their corresponding counterparts across all definitions.
Conclusions.
Moving across the conceptual continuum—from a more to less rigid definition of healthy aging—markedly increases the measured prevalence of healthy aging. Importantly, results suggest that all examined definitions identified a subgroup of older adults who had substantially lower odds of reporting fair or poor health and dying over an 8-year period, providing evidence of the validity of our definitions. Conceptualizations that emphasize symptomatic disease and functional health may be particularly useful for public health purposes.
doi:10.1093/gerona/glr234
PMCID: PMC3536546  PMID: 22367432
Healthy aging; Measurement; Successful aging
15.  Socioeconomic inequalities in health after age 50: Are health risk behaviors to blame? 
Recent studies indicate that socioeconomic inequalities in health extend into the elderly population, even within the most highly developed welfare states. One potential explanation for socioeconomic inequalities in health focuses on the role of health behaviors, but little is known about the degree to which health behaviors account for health inequalities among older adults, in particular. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study (N=19,245), this study examined the degree to which four behavioral risk factors – smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and heavy drinking – are associated with socioeconomic position among adults aged 51 and older, and whether these behaviors mediate socioeconomic differences in mortality, and the onset of disability among those who were disability-free at baseline, over a 10-year period from 1998–2008. Results indicate that the odds of both smoking and physical inactivity are higher among persons with lower wealth, with similar stratification in obesity, but primarily among women. The odds of heavy drinking decrease at lower levels of wealth. Significant socioeconomic inequalities in mortality and disability onset are apparent among older men and women; however, the role that health behaviors play in accounting for these inequalities differs by age and gender. For example, these health behaviors account for between 23–45% of the mortality disparities among men and middle aged women, but only about 5% of the disparities found among women over 65 years. Meanwhile, these health behaviors appear to account for about 33% of the disparities in disability onset found among women survivors, and about 9–14% among men survivors. These findings suggest that within the U.S. elderly population, behavioral risks such as smoking and physical inactivity contribute moderately to maintaining socioeconomic inequalities in health. As such, promoting healthier lifestyles among the socioeconomically disadvantaged older adults should help to reduce later life health inequalities.
doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.10.040
PMCID: PMC3933820  PMID: 24560224
Aging; socioeconomic status; smoking; physical activity; obesity; disability; mortality
16.  Stenting for Peripheral Artery Disease of the Lower Extremities 
Executive Summary
Background
Objective
In January 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat received an application from University Health Network to provide an evidentiary platform on stenting as a treatment management for peripheral artery disease. The purpose of this health technology assessment is to examine the effectiveness of primary stenting as a treatment management for peripheral artery disease of the lower extremities.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a progressive disease occurring as a result of plaque accumulation (atherosclerosis) in the arterial system that carries blood to the extremities (arms and legs) as well as vital organs. The vessels that are most affected by PAD are the arteries of the lower extremities, the aorta, the visceral arterial branches, the carotid arteries and the arteries of the upper limbs. In the lower extremities, PAD affects three major arterial segments i) aortic-iliac, ii) femoro-popliteal (FP) and iii) infra-popliteal (primarily tibial) arteries. The disease is commonly classified clinically as asymptomatic claudication, rest pain and critical ischemia.
Although the prevalence of PAD in Canada is not known, it is estimated that 800,000 Canadians have PAD. The 2007 Trans Atlantic Intersociety Consensus (TASC) II Working Group for the Management of Peripheral Disease estimated that the prevalence of PAD in Europe and North America to be 27 million, of whom 88,000 are hospitalizations involving lower extremities. A higher prevalence of PAD among elderly individuals has been reported to range from 12% to 29%. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) estimated that the prevalence of PAD is 14.5% among individuals 70 years of age and over.
Modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors associated with PAD include advanced age, male gender, family history, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. PAD is a strong predictor of myocardial infarction (MI), stroke and cardiovascular death. Annually, approximately 10% of ischemic cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events can be attributed to the progression of PAD. Compared with patients without PAD, the 10-year risk of all-cause mortality is 3-fold higher in patients with PAD with 4-5 times greater risk of dying from cardiovascular event. The risk of coronary heart disease is 6 times greater and increases 15-fold in patients with advanced or severe PAD. Among subjects with diabetes, the risk of PAD is often severe and associated with extensive arterial calcification. In these patients the risk of PAD increases two to four fold. The results of the Canadian public survey of knowledge of PAD demonstrated that Canadians are unaware of the morbidity and mortality associated with PAD. Despite its prevalence and cardiovascular risk implications, only 25% of PAD patients are undergoing treatment.
The diagnosis of PAD is difficult as most patients remain asymptomatic for many years. Symptoms do not present until there is at least 50% narrowing of an artery. In the general population, only 10% of persons with PAD have classic symptoms of claudication, 40% do not complain of leg pain, while the remaining 50% have a variety of leg symptoms different from classic claudication. The severity of symptoms depends on the degree of stenosis. The need to intervene is more urgent in patients with limb threatening ischemia as manifested by night pain, rest pain, ischemic ulcers or gangrene. Without successful revascularization those with critical ischemia have a limb loss (amputation) rate of 80-90% in one year.
Diagnosis of PAD is generally non-invasive and can be performed in the physician offices or on an outpatient basis in a hospital. Most common diagnostic procedure include: 1) Ankle Brachial Index (ABI), a ratio of the blood pressure readings between the highest ankle pressure and the highest brachial (arm) pressure; and 2) Doppler ultrasonography, a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of ultrasound and wave form recordings to evaluate arterial flow in blood vessels. The value of the ABI can provide an assessment of the severity of the disease. Other non invasive imaging techniques include: Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA). Definitive diagnosis of PAD can be made by an invasive catheter based angiography procedure which shows the roadmap of the arteries, depicting the exact location and length of the stenosis / occlusion. Angiography is the standard method against which all other imaging procedures are compared for accuracy.
More than 70% of the patients diagnosed with PAD remain stable or improve with conservative management of pharmacologic agents and life style modifications. Significant PAD symptoms are well known to negatively influence an individual quality of life. For those who do not improve, revascularization methods either invasive or non-invasive can be used to restore peripheral circulation.
Technology Under Review
A Stent is a wire mesh “scaffold” that is permanently implanted in the artery to keep the artery open and can be combined with angioplasty to treat PAD. There are two types of stents: i) balloon-expandable and ii) self expandable stents and are available in varying length. The former uses an angioplasty balloon to expand and set the stent within the arterial segment. Recently, drug-eluting stents have been developed and these types of stents release small amounts of medication intended to reduce neointimal hyperplasia, which can cause re-stenosis at the stent site. Endovascular stenting avoids the problem of early elastic recoil, residual stenosis and flow limiting dissection after balloon angioplasty.
Research Questions
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion), is primary stenting more effective than percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) in improving patency?
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion), does primary stenting provide immediate success compared to PTA?
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion), is primary stenting associated with less complications compared to PTA?
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion), does primary stenting compared to PTA reduce the rate of re-intervention?
In individuals with PAD of the lower extremities (superficial femoral artery, infra-popliteal, crural and iliac artery stenosis or occlusion) is primary stenting more effective than PTA in improving clinical and hemodynamic success?
Are drug eluting stents more effective than bare stents in improving patency, reducing rates of re-interventions or complications?
Research Methods
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on February 2, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA). Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-reports from 1950 to January Week 3, 2010
Comparative randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses of RCTs
Proven diagnosis of PAD of the lower extremities in all patients.
Adult patients at least 18 years of age.
Stent as at least one treatment arm.
Patency, re-stenosis, re-intervention, technical success, hemodynamic (ABI) and clinical improvement and complications as at least an outcome.
Exclusion Criteria
Non-randomized studies
Observational studies (cohort or retrospective studies) and case report
Feasibility studies
Studies that have evaluated stent but not as a primary intervention
Outcomes of Interest
The primary outcome measure was patency. Secondary measures included technical success, re-intervention, complications, hemodynamic (ankle brachial pressure index, treadmill walking distance) and clinical success or improvement according to Rutherford scale. It was anticipated, a priori, that there would be substantial differences among trials regarding the method of examination and definitions of patency or re-stenosis. Where studies reported only re-stenosis rates, patency rates were calculated as 1 minus re-stenosis rates.
Statistical Analysis
Odds ratios (for binary outcomes) or mean difference (for continuous outcomes) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for each endpoint. An intention to treat principle (ITT) was used, with the total number of patients randomized to each study arm as the denominator for each proportion. Sensitivity analysis was performed using per protocol approach. A pooled odds ratio (POR) or mean difference for each endpoint was then calculated for all trials reporting that endpoint using a fixed effects model. PORs were calculated for comparisons of primary stenting versus PTA or other alternative procedures. Level of significance was set at alpha=0.05. Homogeneity was assessed using the chi-square test, I2 and by visual inspection of forest plots. If heterogeneity was encountered within groups (P < 0.10), a random effects model was used. All statistical analyses were performed using RevMan 5. Where sufficient data were available, these analyses were repeated within subgroups of patients defined by time of outcome assessment to evaluate sustainability of treatment benefit. Results were pooled based on the diseased artery and stent type.
Summary of Findings
Balloon-expandable stents vs PTA in superficial femoral artery disease
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, there is no significant difference in patency between primary stenting using balloon-expandable bare metal stents and PTA at 6, 12 and 24 months in patients with superficial femoral artery disease. The pooled OR for patency and their corresponding 95% CI are: 6 months 1.26 (0.74, 2.13); 12 months 0.95 (0.66, 1.38); and 24 months 0.72 (0.34. 1.55).
There is no significant difference in clinical improvement, re-interventions, peri and post operative complications, mortality and amputations between primary stenting using balloon-expandable bare stents and PTA in patients with superficial femoral artery. The pooled OR and their corresponding 95% CI are clinical improvement 0.85 (0.50, 1.42); ankle brachial index 0.01 (-0.02, 0.04) re-intervention 0.83 (0.26, 2.65); complications 0.73 (0.43, 1.22); all cause mortality 1.08 (0.59, 1.97) and amputation rates 0.41 (0.14, 1.18).
Self-expandable stents vs PTA in superficial femoral artery disease
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, primary stenting using self-expandable bare metal stents is associated with significant improvement in patency at 6, 12 and 24 months in patients with superficial femoral artery disease. The pooled OR for patency and their corresponding 95% CI are: 6 months 2.35 (1.06, 5.23); 12 months 1.54 (1.01, 2.35); and 24 months 2.18 (1.00. 4.78). However, the benefit of primary stenting is not observed for clinical improvement, re-interventions, peri and post operative complications, mortality and amputation in patients with superficial femoral artery disease. The pooled OR and their corresponding 95% CI are clinical improvement 0.61 (0.37, 1.01); ankle brachial index 0.01 (-0.06, 0.08) re-intervention 0.60 (0.36, 1.02); complications 1.60 (0.53, 4.85); all cause mortality 3.84 (0.74, 19.22) and amputation rates 1.96 (0.20, 18.86).
Balloon expandable stents vs PTA in iliac artery occlusive disease
Based on moderate quality of evidence, despite immediate technical success, 12.23 (7.17, 20.88), primary stenting is not associated with significant improvement in patency, clinical status, treadmill walking distance and reduction in re-intervention, complications, cardiovascular events, all cause mortality, QoL and amputation rates in patients with intermittent claudication caused by iliac artery occlusive disease. The pooled OR and their corresponding 95% CI are: patency 1.03 (0.56, 1.87); clinical improvement 1.08 (0.60, 1.94); walking distance 3.00 (12.96, 18.96); re-intervention 1.16 (0.71, 1.90); complications 0.56 (0.20, 1.53); all cause mortality 0.89 (0.47, 1.71); QoL 0.40 (-4.42, 5.52); cardiovascular event 1.16 (0.56, 2.40) and amputation rates 0.37 (0.11, 1.23). To date no RCTs are available evaluating self-expandable stents in the common or external iliac artery stenosis or occlusion.
Drug-eluting stent vs balloon-expandable bare metal stents in crural arteries
Based on a very low quality of evidence, at 6 months of follow-up, sirolimus drug-eluting stents are associated with a reduction in target vessel revascularization and re-stenosis rates in patients with atherosclerotic lesions of crural (tibial) arteries compared with balloon-expandable bare metal stent. The OR and their corresponding 95% CI are: re-stenosis 0.09 (0.03, 0.28) and TVR 0.15 (0.05, 0.47) in patients with atherosclerotic lesions of the crural arteries at 6 months follow-up. Both types of stents offer similar immediate success. Limitations of this study include: short follow-up period, small sample and no assessment of mortality as an outcome. Further research is needed to confirm its effect and safety.
PMCID: PMC3377569  PMID: 23074395
17.  Lifecourse socioeconomic circumstances and multimorbidity among older adults 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:313.
Background
Many older adults manage multiple chronic conditions (i.e. multimorbidity); and many of these chronic conditions share common risk factors such as low socioeconomic status (SES) in adulthood and low SES across the lifecourse. To better capture socioeconomic condition in childhood, recent research in lifecourse epidemiology has broadened the notion of SES to include the experience of specific hardships. In this study we investigate the association among childhood financial hardship, lifetime earnings, and multimorbidity.
Methods
Cross-sectional analysis of 7,305 participants age 50 and older from the 2004 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) who also gave permission for their HRS records to be linked to their Social Security Records in the United States. Zero-inflated Poisson regression models were used to simultaneously model the likelihood of the absence of morbidity and the expected number of chronic conditions.
Results
Childhood financial hardship and lifetime earnings were not associated with the absence of morbidity. However, childhood financial hardship was associated with an 8% higher number of chronic conditions; and, an increase in lifetime earnings, operationalized as average annual earnings during young and middle adulthood, was associated with a 5% lower number of chronic conditions reported. We also found a significant interaction between childhood financial hardship and lifetime earnings on multimorbidity.
Conclusions
This study shows that childhood financial hardship and lifetime earnings are associated with multimorbidity, but not associated with the absence of morbidity. Lifetime earnings modified the association between childhood financial hardship and multimorbidity suggesting that this association is differentially influential depending on earnings across young and middle adulthood. Further research is needed to elucidate lifecourse socioeconomic pathways associated with the absence of morbidity and the presence of multimorbidity among older adults.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-313
PMCID: PMC3118239  PMID: 21569558
18.  Trends in Depressive Symptom Burden Among Older Adults in the United States from 1998 to 2008 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2013;28(12):1611-1619.
ABSTRACT
CONTEXT
Diagnosis and treatment of depression has increased over the past decade in the United States. Whether self-reported depressive symptoms among older adults have concomitantly declined is unknown.
OBJECTIVE
To examine trends in depressive symptoms among older adults in the US between 1998 and 2008.
DESIGN
Serial cross-sectional analysis of six biennial assessments.
SETTING
Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally-representative survey.
PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS
Adults aged 55 and older (N = 16,184 in 1998).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE
The eight-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression scale (CES-D8) assessed three levels of depressive symptoms (none = 0, elevated = 4+, severe = 6+), adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics.
RESULTS
Having no depressive symptoms increased over the 10-year period from 40.9 % to 47.4 % (prevalence ratio [PR]: 1.16, 95 % CI: 1.13–1.19), with significant increases in those aged ≥ 60 relative to those aged 55–59. There was a 7 % prevalence reduction of elevated symptoms from 15.5 % to 14.2 % (PR: 0.93, 95 % CI: 0.88–0.98), which was most pronounced among those aged 80–84 in whom the prevalence of elevated symptoms declined from 14.3 % to 9.6 %. Prevalence of having severe depressive symptoms increased from 5.8 % to 6.8 % (PR: 1.17, 95 % CI: 1.06–1.28); however, this increase was limited to those aged 55–59, with the probability of severe symptoms increasing from 8.7 % to 11.8 %. No significant changes in severe symptoms were observed for those aged ≥ 60.
CONCLUSIONS
Overall late-life depressive symptom burden declined significantly from 1998 to 2008. This decrease appeared to be driven primarily by greater reductions in depressive symptoms in the oldest-old, and by an increase in those with no depressive symptoms. These changes in symptom burden were robust to physical, functional, demographic, and economic factors. Future research should examine whether this decrease in depressive symptoms is associated with improved treatment outcomes, and if there have been changes in the treatment received for the various age cohorts.
doi:10.1007/s11606-013-2533-y
PMCID: PMC3832736  PMID: 23835787
depression; United States; older adults; Health and Retirement Study; HRS
19.  Changes in the Prevalence of Cognitive Impairment Among Older Americans, 1993–2004: Overall Trends and Differences by Race/Ethnicity 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;174(3):274-283.
The authors used data from 6 waves of the Health and Retirement Study to evaluate changes in the prevalence of cognitive impairment among adults 70 years of age or older from 1993 to 2004. Having sampling weights for each wave enabled the authors to create merged waves that represented cross-sections of the community-dwelling older population for that year. Logistic regression analyses with year as the predictor were used to estimate trends and determine the contribution of sociodemographic and health status variables to decreasing trends in the prevalence of cognitive impairment over time (score ≤8 on a modified Telephone Interview Cognitive Screen). Results showed an annual decline in the prevalence of cognitive impairment of 3.4% after adjustment for age, gender, and prior test exposure (odds ratio (OR) = 0.966, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.941, 0.992). The addition of socioeconomic variables to the model attenuated the trend by 72.1%. The annual percentage of decline in impairment was larger for blacks (OR = 0.943, 95% CI: 0.914, 0.973) and Hispanics (OR = 0.954, 95% CI: 0.912, 0.997) than for whites (OR = 0.971, 95% CI: 0.936, 1.006), although the differences were not statistically significant. Linear probability models used in secondary analyses showed larger percentage-point declines for blacks and Hispanics. Improvements in educational level contributed to declines in cognitive impairment among older adults—particularly blacks and Hispanics—in the United States.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwr074
PMCID: PMC3202156  PMID: 21622948
African Americans; aged; aged, 80 and over; cognition disorders; health status disparities; Hispanic Americans; prevalence; socioeconomic factors
20.  Balloon Kyphoplasty 
Executive Summary
Objective
To review the evidence on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of balloon kyphoplasty for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures (VCFs).
Clinical Need
Vertebral compression fractures are one of the most common types of osteoporotic fractures. They can lead to chronic pain and spinal deformity. They are caused when the vertebral body (the thick block of bone at the front of each vertebra) is too weak to support the loads of activities of daily living. Spinal deformity due to a collapsed vertebral body can substantially affect the quality of life of elderly people, who are especially at risk for osteoporotic fractures due to decreasing bone mass with age. A population-based study across 12 European centres recently found that VCFs have a negative impact on health-related quality of life. Complications associated with VCFs are pulmonary dysfunction, eating disorders, loss of independence, and mental status change due to pain and the use of medications. Osteoporotic VCFs also are associated with a higher rate of death.
VCFs affect an estimated 25% of women over age 50 years and 40% of women over age 80 years. Only about 30% of these fractures are diagnosed in clinical practice. A Canadian multicentre osteoporosis study reported on the prevalence of vertebral deformity in Canada in people over 50 years of age. To define the limit of normality, they plotted a normal distribution, including mean and standard deviations (SDs) derived from a reference population without any deformity. They reported a prevalence rate of 23.5% in women and a rate of 21.5% in men, using 3 SDs from the mean as the limit of normality. When they used 4 SDs, the prevalence was 9.3% and 7.3%, respectively. They also found the prevalence of vertebral deformity increased with age. For people older than 80 years of age, the prevalence for women and men was 45% and 36%, respectively, using 3 SDs as the limit of normality.
About 85% of VCFs are due to primary osteoporosis. Secondary osteoporosis and neoplasms account for the remaining 15%. A VCF is operationally defined as a reduction in vertebral body height of at least 20% from the initial measurement. It is considered mild if the reduction in height is between 20% and 25%; moderate, if it is between 25% and 40%; and severs, if it is more than 40%. The most frequently fractured locations are the third-lower part of the thorax and the superior lumbar levels. The cervical vertebrae and the upper third of the thorax are rarely involved.
Traditionally, bed rest, medication, and bracing are used to treat painful VCFs. However, anti-inflammatory and narcotic medications are often poorly tolerated by the elderly and may harm the gastrointestinal tract. Bed rest and inactivity may accelerate bone loss, and bracing may restrict diaphragmatic movement. Furthermore, medical treatment does not treat the fracture in a way that ameliorates the pain and spinal deformity.
Over the past decade, the injection of bone cement through the skin into a fractured vertebral body has been used to treat VCFs. The goal of cement injection is to reduce pain by stabilizing the fracture. The secondary indication of these procedures is management of painful vertebral fractures caused by benign or malignant neoplasms (e.g., hemangioma, multiple myeloma, and metastatic cancer).
The Technology
Balloon kyphoplasty is a modified vertebroplasty technique. It is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to relieve pain, restore vertebral height, and correct kyphosis. During this procedure, an inflatable bone tamp is inserted into the collapsed vertebral body. Once inflated, the balloon elevates the end plates and thereby restores the height of the vertebral body. The balloon is deflated and removed, and the space is filled with bone cement. Creating a space in the vertebral body enables the application of more viscous cement and at a much lower pressure than is needed for vertebroplasty. This may result in less cement leakage and fewer complications. Balloons typically are inserted bilaterally, into each fractured vertebral body. Kyphoplasty usually is done under general anesthesia in about 1.5 hours. Patients typically are observed for only a few hours after the surgery, but some may require an overnight hospital stay.
Health Canada has licensed KyphX Xpander Inflatable Bone Tamp (Kyphon Inc., Sunnyvale, CA), for kyphoplasty in patients with VCFs. KyphX is the only commercially available device for percutaneous kyphoplasty. The KyphX kit uses a series of bone filler device tubes. Each bone filler device must be loaded manually with cement. The cement is injected into the cavity by pressing an inner stylet.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration cleared the KyphX Inflatable Bone Tamp for marketing in July 1998. CE (Conformité European) marketing was obtained in February 2000 for the reduction of fracture and/or creation of a void in cancellous bone.
Review Strategy
The aim of this literature review was to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of balloon kyphoplasty in the treatment of painful VCFs.
INAHTA, Cochrane CCTR (formerly Cochrane Controlled Trials Register), and DSR were searched for health technology assessment reports. In addition, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations were searched from January 1, 2000 to September 21, 2004. The search was limited to English-language articles and human studies.
The positive end points selected for this assessment were as follows:
Reduction in pain scores
Reduction in vertebral height loss
Reduction in kyphotic (Cobb) angle
Improvement in quality of life scores
The search did not yield any health technology assessments on balloon kyphoplasty. The search yielded 152 citations, including those for review articles. No randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on balloon kyphoplasty were identified. All of the published studies were either prospective cohort studies or retrospective studies with no controls. Eleven studies (all case series) met the inclusion criteria. There was also a comparative study published in German that had been translated into English.
Summary of Findings
The results of the 1 comparative study (level 3a evidence) that was included in this review showed that, compared with conservative medical care, balloon kyphoplasty significantly improved patient outcomes.
Patients who had balloon kyphoplasty reported a significant reduction in pain that was maintained throughout follow-up (6 months), whereas pain scores did not change in the control group. Patients in the balloon kyphoplasty group did not need pain medication after 3 days. In the control group, about one-half of the patients needed more pain medication in the first 4 weeks after the procedure. After 6 weeks, 82% of the patients in the control group were still taking pain medication regularly.
Adjacent fractures were more frequent in the control group than in the balloon kyphoplasty group.
The case series reported on several important clinical outcomes.
Pain: Four studies on osteoporosis patients and 1 study on patients with multiple myeloma/primary cancers used the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) to measure pain before and after balloon kyphoplasty. All of these studies reported that patients had significantly less pain after the procedure. This was maintained during follow-up. Two other studies on patients with osteoporosis also used the VAS to measure pain and found a significant improvement in pain scores; however, they did not provide follow-up data.
Vertebral body height: All 5 studies that assessed vertebral body height in patients with osteoporosis reported a significant improvement in vertebral body height after balloon kyphoplasty. One study had 1-year follow-up data for 26 patients. Vertebral body height was significantly better at 6 months and 1 year for both the anterior and midline measurements.
Two studies reported that vertebral body height was restored significantly after balloon kyphoplasty for patients with multiple myeloma or metastatic disease. In another study, the researchers reported complete height restoration in 9% of patients, a mean 56% height restoration in 60% of patients, and no appreciable height restoration in 31% of the patients who received balloon kyphoplasty.
Kyphosis correction: Four studies that assessed Cobb angle before and after balloon kyphoplasty in patients with osteoporosis found a significant reduction in degree of kyphosis after the procedure. In these studies, the differences between preoperative and postoperative Cobb angles were 3.4°, 7°, 8.8°, and 9.9°.
Only 1 study investigated kyphosis correction in patients with multiple myeloma or metastatic disease. The authors reported a significant improvement (5.2°) in local kyphosis.
Quality of life: Four studies used the Short Form 36 (SF-36) Health Survey Questionnaire to measure the quality of life in patients with osteoporosis after they had balloon kyphoplasty. A significant improvement in most of the domains of the SF-36 (bodily pain, social functioning, vitality, physical functioning, mental health, and role functioning) was observed in 2 studies. One study found that general health declined, although not significantly, and another found that role emotional declined.
Both studies that used the Oswestry Disability Index found that patients had a better quality of life after balloon kyphoplasty. In one study, this improvement was statistically significant. In another study, researchers found that quality of life after kyphoplasty improved significantly, as measured with the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. Yet another study used a quality of life questionnaire and found that 62% of the patients that had balloon kyphoplasty had returned to normal activities, whereas 2 patients had reduced mobility.
To measure quality of life in patients with multiple myeloma or metastatic disease, one group of researchers used the SF-36 and found significantly better scores on bodily pain, physical functioning, vitality, and social functioning after kyphoplasty. However, the scores for general health, mental health, role physical, and role emotional had not improved. A study that used the Oswestry Disability Index reported that patients’ scores were better postoperatively and at 3 months follow-up.
These were the main findings on complications in patients with osteoporosis:
The bone cement leaked in 37 (6%) of 620 treated fractures.
There were no reports of neurological deficits.
There were no reports of pulmonary embolism due to cement leakage.
There were 6 cases of cardiovascular events in 362 patients:
3 (0.8%) patients had myocardial infarction.
3 (0.8%) patients had cardiac arrhythmias.
There was 1 (0.27%) case of pulmonary embolism due to deep venous thrombosis.
There were 20 (8.4%) cases of new fractures in 238 patients.
For patients with multiple myeloma or metastatic disease, these were the main findings:
The bone cement leaked in 12 (9.6%) of 125 procedures.
There were no reports of neurological deficits.
Economic Analysis
Balloon kyphoplasty requires anesthesia. Standard vertebroplasty requires sedation and an analgesic. Based on these considerations, the professional fees (Cdn) for each procedure is shown in Table 1.
Professional Fees for Standard Vertebroplasty and Balloon Kyphoplasty
Balloon kyphoplasty has a sizable device cost add-on of $3,578 (the device cost per case) that standard vertebroplasty does not have. Therefore, the up-front cost (i.e., physician’s fees and device costs) is $187 for standard vertebroplasty and $3,812 for balloon kyphoplasty. (All costs are in Canadian currency.)
There are also “downstream costs” of the procedures, based on the different adverse outcomes associated with each. This includes the risk of developing new fractures (21% for vertebroplasty vs. 8.4% for balloon kyphoplasty), neurological complications (3.9% for vertebroplasty vs. 0% for balloon kyphoplasty), pulmonary embolism (0.1% for vertebroplasty vs. 0% for balloon kyphoplasty), and cement leakage (26.5% for vertebroplasty vs. 6.0% for balloon kyphoplasty). Accounting for these risks, and the base costs to treat each of these complications, the expected downstream costs are estimated at less than $500 per case. Therefore, the expected total direct medical cost per patient is about $700 for standard vertebroplasty and $4,300 for balloon kyphoplasty.
Kyphon, the manufacturer of the inflatable bone tamps has stated that the predicted Canadian incidence of osteoporosis in 2005 is about 29,000. The predicted incidence of cancer-related vertebral fractures in 2005 is 6,731. Based on Ontario having about 38% of the Canadian population, the incidence in the province is likely to be about 11,000 for osteoporosis and 2,500 for cancer-related vertebral fractures. This means there could be as many as 13,500 procedures per year in Ontario; however, this is highly unlikely because most of the cancer-related fractures likely would be treated with medication. Given a $3,600 incremental direct medical cost associated with balloon kyphoplasty, the budget impact of adopting this technology could be as high as $48.6 million per year; however, based on data from the Provider Services Branch, about 120 standard vertebroplasties are done in Ontario annually. Given these current utilization patterns, the budget impact is likely to be in the range of $430,000 per year. This is because of the sizable device cost add-on of $3,578 (per case) for balloon kyphoplasty that standard vertebroplasty does not have.
Policy Considerations
Other treatments for osteoporotic VCFs are medical management and open surgery. In cases without neurological involvement, the medical treatment of osteoporotic VCFs comprises bed rest, orthotic management, and pain medication. However, these treatments are not free of side effects. Bed rest over time can result in more bone and muscle loss, and can speed the deterioration of the underlying condition. Medication can lead to altered mood or mental status. Surgery in these patients has been limited because of its inherent risks and invasiveness, and the poor quality of osteoporotic bones. However, it may be indicated in patients with neurological deficits.
Neither of these vertebral augmentation procedures eliminates the need for aggressive treatment of osteoporosis. Osteoporotic VCFs are often under-diagnosed and under-treated. A survey of physicians in Ontario (1) who treated elderly patients living in long-term care homes found that although these physicians were aware of the rates of osteoporosis in these patients, 45% did not routinely assess them for osteoporosis, and 26% did not routinely treat them for osteoporosis.
Management of the underlying condition that weakens the vertebral bodies should be part of the treatment plan. All patients with osteoporosis should be in a medical therapy program to treat the underlying condition, and the referring health care provider should monitor the clinical progress of the patient.
The main complication associated with vertebroplasty and balloon kyphoplasty is cement leakage (extravertebral or vascular). This may result in more patient morbidity, longer hospitalizations, the need for open surgery, and the use of pain medications, all of which have related costs. Extravertebral cement leakage can cause neurological complications, like spinal cord compression, nerve root compression, and radiculopathy. In some cases, surgery is required to remove the cement and release the nerve. The rate of cement leakage is much lower after balloon kyphoplasty than after vertebroplasty. Furthermore, the neurological complications seen with vertebroplasty have not seen in the studies of balloon kyphoplasty. Rarely, cement leakage into the venous system will cause a pulmonary embolism. Finally, compared with vertebroplasty, the rate of new fractures is lower after balloon kyphoplasty.
Diffusion – International, National, Provincial
In Canada, balloon kyphoplasty has not yet been funded in any of the provinces. The first balloon kyphoplasty performed in Canada was in July 2004 in Ontario.
In the United States, the technology is considered by some states as medically reasonable and necessary for the treatment of painful vertebral body compression fractures.
Conclusion
There is level 4 evidence that balloon kyphoplasty to treat pain associated with VCFs due to osteoporosis is as effective as vertebroplasty at relieving pain. Furthermore, the evidence suggests that it restores the height of the affected vertebra. It also results in lower fracture rates in other vertebrae compared with vertebroplasty, and in fewer neurological complications due to cement leakage compared with vertebroplasty. Balloon kyphoplasty is a reasonable alternative to vertebroplasty, although it must be reiterated that this conclusion is based on evidence from level 4 studies.
Balloon kyphoplasty should be restricted to facilities that have sufficient volumes to develop and maintain the expertise required to maximize good quality outcomes. Therefore, consideration should be given to limiting the number of facilities in the province that can do balloon kyphoplasty.
PMCID: PMC3387743  PMID: 23074451
21.  Memory Decline and Depressive Symptoms in a Nationally Representative Sample of Older Adults: The Health and Retirement Study (1998–2004) 
Background
Inconsistencies in the relationship between depression and cognitive decline may exist because the expected cognitive domains at-risk have not been specified in previous study designs.
Objectives
To examine the relationship between depressive symptoms and verbal episodic memory functioning over time.
Design
Prospective cohort study (Health and Retirement Study HRS; 1998–2004), a multistage probability sample of adults 51 years and over in 1998, was analyzed.
Setting
Contiguous 48 United States
Participants
Nationally representative sample of older adults (51+ years) in 1998 (N=18,465)
Main Outcomes
Verbal learning and memory of a ten-word list learning task.
Main Predictor
Depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies—Depression Scale; (CES-D)
Results
Depressive symptoms were associated with significantly lower Immediate (−0.05; p<0.001) and Delayed (−0.06; p<0.001) word list recall scores after controlling for demographics and baseline and time-varying cardiovascular disease risks and diseases.
Conclusions
In this U.S. national study of older adults, elevated depressive symptoms were associated with declines in episodic learning and memory over time. These associations were little affected by demographic or medical conditions considered in this study. The results suggest that learning and memory decline may be a long-term feature associated with depressive symptoms among the nation’s older adult population.
doi:10.1159/000115976
PMCID: PMC2292399  PMID: 18270489
depression; cognitive decline; older adults; learning; memory
22.  Bariatric Surgery 
Executive Summary
Objective
To conduct an evidence-based analysis of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery.
Background
Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of at last 30 kg/m2.1 Morbid obesity is defined as a BMI of at least 40 kg/m2 or at least 35 kg/m2 with comorbid conditions. Comorbid conditions associated with obesity include diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemias, obstructive sleep apnea, weight-related arthropathies, and stress urinary incontinence. It is also associated with depression, and cancers of the breast, uterus, prostate, and colon, and is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Obesity is also associated with higher all-cause mortality at any age, even after adjusting for potential confounding factors like smoking. A person with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 has about a 50% higher risk of dying than does someone with a healthy BMI. The risk more than doubles at a BMI of 35 kg/m2. An expert estimated that about 160,000 people are morbidly obese in Ontario. In the United States, the prevalence of morbid obesity is 4.7% (1999–2000).
In Ontario, the 2004 Chief Medical Officer of Health Report said that in 2003, almost one-half of Ontario adults were overweight (BMI 25–29.9 kg/m2) or obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2). About 57% of Ontario men and 42% of Ontario women were overweight or obese. The proportion of the population that was overweight or obese increased gradually from 44% in 1990 to 49% in 2000, and it appears to have stabilized at 49% in 2003. The report also noted that the tendency to be overweight and obese increases with age up to 64 years. BMI should be used cautiously for people aged 65 years and older, because the “normal” range may begin at slightly above 18.5 kg/m2 and extend into the “overweight” range.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health cautioned that these data may underestimate the true extent of the problem, because they were based on self reports, and people tend to over-report their height and under-report their weight. The actual number of Ontario adults who are overweight or obese may be higher.
Diet, exercise, and behavioural therapy are used to help people lose weight. The goals of behavioural therapy are to identify, monitor, and alter behaviour that does not help weight loss. Techniques include self-monitoring of eating habits and physical activity, stress management, stimulus control, problem solving, cognitive restructuring, contingency management, and identifying and using social support. Relapse, when people resume old, unhealthy behaviour and then regain the weight, can be problematic.
Drugs (including gastrointestinal lipase inhibitors, serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and appetite suppressants) may be used if behavioural interventions fail. However, estimates of efficacy may be confounded by high rates of noncompliance, in part owing to the side effects of the drugs. In addition, the drugs have not been approved for indefinite use, despite the chronic nature of obesity.
The Technology
Morbidly obese people may be eligible for bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery for morbid obesity is considered an intervention of last resort for patients who have attempted first-line forms of medical management, such as diet, increased physical activity, behavioural modification, and drugs.
There are various bariatric surgical procedures and several different variations for each of these procedures. The surgical interventions can be divided into 2 general types: malabsorptive (bypassing parts of the gastrointestinal tract to limit the absorption of food), and restrictive (decreasing the size of the stomach so that the patient is satiated with less food). All of these may be performed as either open surgery or laparoscopically. An example of a malabsorptive technique is Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). Examples of restrictive techniques are vertical banded gastroplasty (VBG) and adjustable gastric banding (AGB).
The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) Schedule of Benefits for Physician Services includes fee code “S120 gastric bypass or partition, for morbid obesity” as an insured service. The term gastric bypass is a general term that encompasses a variety of surgical methods, all of which involve reconfiguring the digestive system. The term gastric bypass does not include AGB. The number of gastric bypass procedures funded and done in Ontario, and funded as actual out-of-country approvals,2 is shown below.
Number of Gastric Bypass Procedures by Fiscal Year: Ontario and Actual Out-of-Country (OOC) Approvals
Data from Provider Services, MOHLTC
Courtesy of Provider Services, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat reviewed the literature to assess the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of bariatric surgery to treat morbid obesity. It used its standard search strategy to retrieve international health technology assessments and English-language journal articles from selected databases. The interventions of interest were bariatric surgery and, for the controls, either optimal conventional management or another type of bariatric procedure. The outcomes of interest were improvement in comorbid conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension); short- and long-term weight loss; quality of life; adverse effects; and economic analysis data. The databases yielded 15 international health technology assessments or systematic reviews on bariatric surgery.
Subsequently, the Medical Advisory Secretariat searched MEDLINE and EMBASE from April 2004 to December 2004, after the search cut-off date of April, 2004, for the most recent systematic reviews on bariatric surgery. Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. One of those 10 was the Swedish Obese Subjects study, which started as a registry and intervention study, and then published findings on people who had been enrolled for at least 2 years or at least 10 years. In addition to the literature review of economic analysis data, the Medical Advisory Secretariat also did an Ontario-based economic analysis.
Summary of Findings
Bariatric surgery generally is effective for sustained weight loss of about 16% for people with BMIs of at least 40 kg/m2 or at least 35 kg/m2 with comorbid conditions (including diabetes, high lipid levels, and hypertension). It also is effective at resolving the associated comorbid conditions. This conclusion is largely based on level 3a evidence from the prospectively designed Swedish Obese Subjects study, which recently published 10-year outcomes for patients who had bariatric surgery compared with patients who received nonsurgical treatment. (1)
Regarding specific procedures, there is evidence that malabsorptive techniques are better than other banding techniques for weight loss and resolution of comorbid illnesses. However, there are no published prospective, long-term, direct comparisons of these techniques available.
Surgery for morbid obesity is considered an intervention of last resort for patients who have attempted first-line forms of medical management, such as diet, increased physical activity, behavioural modification, and drugs. In the absence of direct comparisons of active nonsurgical intervention via caloric restriction with bariatric techniques, the following observations are made:
A recent systematic review examining the efficacy of major commercial and organized self-help weight loss programs in the United States concluded that the evidence to support the use of such programs was suboptimal, except for one trial on Weight Watchers. Furthermore, the programs were associated with high costs, attrition rates, and probability of regaining at least 50% of the lost weight in 1 to 2 years. (2)
A recent randomized controlled trial reported 1-year outcomes comparing weight loss and metabolic changes in severely obese patients assigned to either a low-carbohydrate diet or a conventional weight loss diet. At 1 year, weight loss was similar for patients in each group (mean, 2–5 kg). There was a favourable effect on triglyceride levels and glycemic control in the low-carbohydrate diet group. (3)
A decision-analysis model showed bariatric surgery results in increased life expectancy in morbidly obese patients when compared to diet and exercise. (4)
A cost-effectiveness model showed bariatric surgery is cost-effective relative to nonsurgical management. (5)
Extrapolating from 2003 data from the United States, Ontario would likely need to do 3,500 bariatric surgeries per year. It currently does 508 per year, including out-of-country surgeries.
PMCID: PMC3382415  PMID: 23074460
23.  Trends in the Prevalence and Mortality of Cognitive Impairment in the United States: Is There Evidence of a Compression of Cognitive Morbidity? 
Background
Recent medical, demographic, and social trends may have had an important impact on the cognitive health of older adults. To assess the impact of these multiple trends, we compared the prevalence and 2-year mortality of cognitive impairment (CI) consistent with dementia in the United States in 1993-1995 and 2002-2004.
Methods
We used data are from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative population-based longitudinal survey of U.S. adults. Individuals aged 70 or older from the 1993 (N=7,406) and 2002 (N=7,104) waves of the HRS were included. CI was determined using a 35-point cognitive scale for self-respondents, and assessments of memory and judgment for respondents represented by a proxy. Mortality was ascertained using HRS data verified by the National Death Index.
Results
12.2% of those aged 70 or older in 1993 had CI compared to 8.7% in 2002 (P<.001). CI was associated with a significantly higher risk of 2-year mortality in both years. The risk of death for those with moderate / severe CI was greater in 2002 compared to 1993 (unadjusted hazard ratio [HR] 4.12 in 2002 vs. 3.36 in 1993 [P=.08]; age- and sex- adjusted HR 3.11 in 2002 vs. 2.53 in 1993 [P=.09]). Education was protective against CI, but among those with CI, more education was associated with higher 2-year mortality.
Conclusions
These findings suggest a compression of cognitive morbidity between 1993 and 2004, with fewer older Americans reaching a threshold of significant CI, and a more rapid decline to death among those who did. Societal investment in building and maintaining cognitive reserve through formal education in childhood, and continued cognitive stimulation during work and leisure in adulthood, may help limit the burden of dementia among the growing number of older adults worldwide.
doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2008.01.001
PMCID: PMC2390845  PMID: 18631957
24.  Depression among older adults in the United States and England 
Context
Depression negatively affects health and well-being among older adults, but there have been no nationally representative comparisons of depression prevalence among older adults in England and the United States.
Objective
We sought to compare depressive symptoms among older adults in these countries and identify sociodemographic and clinical correlates of depression in these countries.
Design and Setting
We assessed depressive symptoms in non-Hispanic whites aged 65 and over in 2002 in two nationally representative, population-based studies: the US Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).
Participants
8,295 HRS respondents and 5,208 ELSA respondents.
Main Outcome Measures
We measured depressive symptoms using the eight-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D). We determined whether depressive symptom differences between the US and England were associated with sociodemographic characteristics, chronic health conditions, and health behaviors.
Results
Significant depressive symptoms (CES-D score ≥4) were more prevalent in English than US adults (17.6% vs. 14.6%, adjusted Wald test F(1, 1593) = 11.4, p<0.001). Adjusted rates of depressive symptoms in England were 19% higher compared to the US (OR: 1.19, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.40). US adults had higher levels of education, and net worth, but lower levels of ADL/IADL impairments, tobacco use, and cognitive impairment, which may have contributed to relatively lower levels of depressive symptoms in the US.
Conclusions
Older adults in the US had lower rates of depressive symptoms than their English counterparts despite having more chronic health conditions. Future cross-national studies should identify how depression treatment influences outcomes in these populations.
doi:10.1097/JGP.0b013e3181dba6d2
PMCID: PMC3786867  PMID: 20808088
depression; Health and Retirement Study English Longitudinal Study of Ageing; older adults
25.  Objective Measurement of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior Among US Adults Aged 60 Years or Older 
Introduction
Estimates of objectively measured physical activity among older adults differ depending on the cut points used to define intensity. Our objective was to assess 1) moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), exploring differences in prevalence depending on the cut point used, and 2) sedentary behavior, among US adults aged 60 years or older.
Methods
We used the most recently available accelerometer data (2003-2004 and 2005-2006) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The sample included 2,630 adults aged 60 or older who wore an ActiGraph accelerometer for 1 week. We defined MVPA using 4 cut points (≥500, ≥1,000, ≥1,500, and ≥2,000 counts/min) and sedentary behavior as fewer than 100 counts per minute. All estimates were weighted to reflect the US population.
Results
The overall average counts per minute was 216. Mean MVPA ranged from 10.8 minutes per day (based on 2,000 counts/min) to 106.8 minutes per day (based on 500 counts/min). Regardless of the cut point used, MVPA was lower with each successive age group (60-69, 70-79, and ≥80) and higher among men than women. At any cut point, MVPA was highest for Hispanics and "other" racial/ethnic groups, followed by non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. The average time spent in sedentary behavior was 8.5 hours per day. The amount of sedentary time was greater among participants who were aged 80 or older compared to younger groups and among men compared to women.
Conclusion
MVPA estimates vary among adults aged 60 or older, depending on the cut point chosen, and most of their time is spent in sedentary behaviors. These considerations and the data presented suggest more research is necessary to identify the appropriate method of setting accelerometer cut points for MVPA in older adults.
PMCID: PMC3277387  PMID: 22172193

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