Wednesday, September 17, 2014

IOM weighs in on end-of-life

A new IOM report calls for change, per the Times. It's easy to see how fee-for-service reimbursement structures might produce too much hospital care and not necessarily enough sustenance of quality of remaining life.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Actuarial estimates of NFL brain injuries

The Times reported some startling statistics from the NFL concussion settlement.  Described as conservative by the NFL team, numbers like these are still pretty scary:

"The N.F.L.’s actuaries assumed that 28 percent of all players would be found to have one of the compensable diseases and that the league would pay out $900 million to them. Their calculations showed that players younger than 50 had an 0.8 percent chance of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia, compared with less than 0.1 percent for the general population. For players ages 50 to 54, the rate was 1.4 percent, compared with less than 0.1 percent for the general population. The gap between the players and the general population grows wider with increasing age."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Krugman on Scotland

He advises against Scottish independence in its current proposed form, seeing little wisdom in a currency union without a fiscal union based on the Euro Zone's recent experience.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

State of birth by state of residence

The NY Times provides us nifty graphical snapshots of state-of-birth in all 50 states in Census data since 1900. One of the mild surprises? Residents of New York are more than 60% New-York born. More than half live upstate, but given the large percent foreign born in the state, this still seemed surprising to me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

PTSD in the Civil War

An enterprising SUNY grad student examines PTSD among Civil War veterans using several sources including Ancestry.com and hospital records. She paints a sobering picture.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cost-benefit analysis when there's addiction

The Times reports on a kerfuffle over FDA cost-benefit analysis regarding smoking, in which a number of prominent economists have weighed in. A big bottom line for them: "Particularly when ... addiction occurs prior to the age of majority ... we find it inappropriate to measure the area under a demand curve to define welfare."
 

Too much of a good thing?

The WSJ reports on research about high blood pressure and blood sugar control. Especially among the elderly, the benefits of managing biomarkers in a tight range are weighed against costs.