27 July 2011

New On My Blogs Today

Hospice Care Research

From Healing to Hospice: The Shift Toward a Good and Compassionate Death

University at Buffalo School of Social Work Professor Deborah P. Waldrop has seen people die. Too often, their lives have ended in pain and despair, spending their final days in an alienating institutional environment, just another patient in an impersonal progression that leads to what she calls “reciprocal suffering” for families who also watch their loved ones die.

There is another way. In the decades and multiple settings Waldrop has worked with terminal patients, she has seen a growing emphasis on factors that contribute to a “good death.” People can make that life transition in a home that has sustained them for many years, surrounded by the people who have given their lives meaning. “Comfort” can be the defining goal of a death without pain and suffering.

Too often, Waldrop says, critically and chronically ill patients lack information about options for care that can lead to that “good death” scenario. Bridging that gap -- identifying what factors or “trigger points” at which important conversations should happen -- is what her latest end-of-life research is all about.

She discusses her research in a video interview:

Health News Report

Blueberries: a Cup a Day May Keep Cancer Away

Blueberries are among the nutrient-rich foods being studied by UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center investigators exploring the link between disease and nutrition. Dieticians there say as little as a cup a day can help prevent cell damage linked to cancer.

Education Research Report

Teacher influence persists in early grades

Having consistently good teachers in elementary school appears to be as important for student achievement as small class sizes, according to new research by a Michigan State University education scholar.

The study by Spyros Konstantopoulos found that, starting in kindergarten, teachers can significantly affect students’ reading and math scores in later grades. The study, which appears in the research journal Teachers College Record, is one of the first scientific experiments to find that teachers can affect student achievement over time in the crucial early grades.

School Vouchers Have Little Effect on Student Achievement

A new report by the Center on Education Policy (CEP) that reviews a decade of voucher research finds no clear positive impact on student academic achievement and mixed outcomes overall for students who attend private schools using vouchers.

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