The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, July 7, 1981-Page 3
RESULTS MAY AID PUBLIC POLICY DECISIONS
Populations studied at 'U'
By JOHN ADAM
Daily research reporter
Imagine if one could be sitting on a cloud, watching
and monitoring the characteristics of a given
population of humans below-keeping track of their
births, deaths, marriages, retirements, unem-
ployment, etc. After a period of time one could make
defendable predictions as to what the behavior of the
population might be if variable "X were
changed-say a new law which forbids marriage
At the University's Institute for Social Research,
James Smith and his team of researchers are doing
just this-monitoring representative populations to
arrive at conclusions which can help shape public
THE TECHNIQUE is called "microanalytic
simulation modeling" and the idea behind it is to
start with a sample population, usually represen-
tative of the nation, and to expand it through the
years-"As you (would) grow a culture in a bacteria
"Simulation modeling allows you
to test public policies in a way
that's relatively cheap, and it
allows you to get the bugs out of it
-James Smith, ISR researcher
dish," said Smith.
A typical population runs from 25,000 to 35,000
people and each one is examined by the computer.
For example, take a 25-year-old male, said Smith.
There is some chance he would die at such a young
age, though the probability is not great. The com-
puter then draws a random number and if it is a
"death number" the computer zaps him. The com-
puter then estimates the cause of death.
SUPPOSE YOU didn't die, said Smith, then you
have a probability of having a child (if you're a
female) or getting married,in which case the'com-
puter will find you a compatible mate.
Or perhaps you will go to school or get divorced or
lose your job. "It all depends on your past," said
Smith, and added that simulation modeling, like any
science, uses the experiences of the past to predict
But, Smith emphasized, this tool cannot accurately
peer into the future like a crystal ball since there are
See TECHNIQUE, Page 13
New 'U' drug
may be cure
BY LOU FINTOR
Daily staff writer
A new group of experimental drugs
which are now being developed and in-
vestigated at the University's Dental
Research Institute may hold promise
for the millions suffering from the
currently incurable Herpesvirus I and
the sexually-transmitted Herpesvirus
According to Charles Shipman,
associate professor of Microbiology and
oral biology and coordinator of the anti-
viral chemotherapy program at the
DRI, the herpesvirus is extremely dif-
ficult to diagnose when not in its infec-
tious stages, making it difficult to treat.
SHIPMAN DESCRIBED symptoms
of the Herpesvirus I as consisting of a
small "lesion" or "cold sore" usually
located near the lip, and herpesvirus II
expressing itself in multiple lesions or
"papules" on or near the genitals.
"I would estimate that as many as
1,000 students are afflicted with her-
pesvirus II, and approximately 10,000
students with herpesvirus I on this
campus. Many people don't know they
have it," Shipman said.
The researcher said that since the
virus is only communicable during the
infectious stages (when lesions are
present), most people wait for an at-
tack to subside without seeking treat-
A FURTHER complication to
diagnosis occurs because the virus af-
fects different individuals with varying
degrees of severity, and also with
Usually, the episodes are brought
about by periods of stress or extreme
tension, when it will migrate to the
point of infection and a lesion will ap-
Some individuals, however, may ex-
perience an attack only once or twice in
their lifetime, while others may have
an attack every four to six weeks.
Shipman described conditions
favorable to the virus, indicating that it
migrates to the tips of regional ganglia
at various points throughout the body
when not in the infectious stages where
it resides permanently.
See NEW DRUG, Page 4
Daily Photo by KIM HILL
DR. CHARLES SHIPMAN holds one of the guinea pigs being used in resear-
ch for a cure to herpesvirus.
From AP and UPI
WASHINGTON-A Cabinet-level report on Social
Security warned yesterday the retirement system
will go broke next year unless something is done, and
said borrowing from other funds such as Medicare
won't save it.
"The OASI (the trust fund which finances
retirement payments) will not be able to pay benefits
next year. That's not a prediction, that's a certain-
ty," said Social Security Commissioner Jack Svahn.
THE REPORT makes it clear that either cutting
benefits or raising taxes are the only ways of saving
the plan. Both Congress and the administration have
said raising taxes is politically unthinkable.
The report also said Medicare faces long-range
financial trouble and, because of the ailing economy,
some 35 million retirees now get about $10 in benefits
for every $9.50 the system receives in taxes from
some 115 million workers.
That means by next fall the fund will not be able to
send out monthly checks on schedule, although for a
while the shortfall would be such that the checks
would be only a few days late.
IN DISCUSSING their report, Svahn declared that
Americans must lower their expectations of the pen-
"There is a myth that has grown up in America that
Social Security is a program for maintaining
everyone at a middle-class level in their retirement
years," he said.
"It has always been a premise of Social Security
that it is a base for retirement ayid a partial
replacement for wages lost because of retirement,
death or disability," he maintained. "It was never in-
tended as a full retirement system for Americans."
THE REPORT underscored President Reagan's
call for major reductions in Social Security benefits,
including a hefty penalty for early retirement, as a
means to keep the pension and health insurance
system solvent. It was compiled by the program's
trustees: Health and Human Services Secretary
Richard Schweicker, Labor Secretary Ray Donovan
and Treasury Secretary Donald Regan.
The longer range forecast was less dismal because
of an expected drop in the ratio of retirees to workers
and planned increases in payroll taxes.