Do Physicians Measure the Biomarkers that Matter for Survival?
Noreen Goldman, Princeton University
Dana A. Glei, University of California, Berkeley
Yu-Hsuan Lin, Bureau of Health Promotion, Taiwan
Maxine Weinstein, Georgetown University
We use data from a nationally-representative sample of older adults in Taiwan to determine whether three clusters of biomarkers are significant predictors of mortality at the older ages: (1) standard cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors; (2) markers of disease progression; and (3) non-clinical (neuroendocrine and immune) markers. We also evaluate the extent to which these biomarkers account for the female advantage in survival. Preliminary results suggest that both the non-clinical markers and the markers of disease progression significantly improve six‑year survival predictions in the presence of controls for cardiovascular and metabolic measures. Whereas smoking status explains about one-half of the excess male mortality at these ages, the biomarkers account for little of the sex difference in mortality. Nevertheless, measures of the predictive power of the models underscore the importance of including bioindicators in demographic models and of expanding epidemiological models to encompass a broader range of indicators of physiological function.