News and Blogs

Teens Want Voice in End-of-Life Decisions

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MedLinePlus (Health Day News)
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

New guide helps seriously ill teens and young adults talk about their needs.

Teens and young adults who are seriously ill should have a chance to be involved in end-of-life decisions, and a new planning guide -- developed especially for this age group -- can help, researchers say.

"It's OK to raise these issues and open up communication," said Lori Wiener, director of the pediatric psychosocial support and research program at the U.S. National Cancer Institute and lead author of a study that helped develop the new guide.

"Adolescents and young adults often stay silent and secret because they don't want to share their fears -- because they don't want to upset their parents. And parents don't bring up end-of-life issues for the same reasons," she explained.

But, for teens, Wiener said, "people really do want to know what you think and what you feel and what your choices will be. Those choices will be different for different folks, but find a way to have your voice heard."

Read the full atory at MedLinePlus (Health Day News)

Thanks to the HVCC Mortuary Science Alumni & Student Assoc for alerting us to this article.


Forensic Anthropology Research Facility

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Community Impact Newspaper
October 18, 2012

Donors’ bodies aid researchers, law enforcement agencies

When Daniel Wescott dies, that won’t be the end of his story.

Wescott, director of the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State, signed up to become a body donor for the original “body farm” at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

“Even in their death, donors are able to significantly contribute to society and add to the education of students and to helping solve crime,” Wescott said. “Their bodies will be used for generations to come as well.”

Read the full article at Community Impact Newspaper

Thanks to the DeathCare Discussion List for alerting us to this article.


Monsters Versus Sexy Nurses

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The New York Times
October 28, 2012

In her essay in The Times, the author Bess Lovejoy argues that ignoring death “allows us to imagine that our mortal trivialities and anxieties are permanent.” Some of those trivialities and anxieties can be found in our cheeky Halloween costumes, which increasingly seem to be about showing taut and toned skin, rather than it decomposing.

Are we replacing zombie looks with sexy maid and witty high-concept constructs to avoid reminders of death? Or is it time to forget the otherworldly origins of Halloween and just have fun?

Read the full article in The New York Times


The Bright Side of Death

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Apr. 30, 2012

Awareness of mortality can result in positive behaviors

Contemplating death doesn't necessarily lead to morose despondency, fear, aggression or other negative behaviors, as previous research has suggested. Following a review of dozens of studies, University of Missouri researchers found that thoughts of mortality can lead to decreased militaristic attitudes, better health decisions, increased altruism and helpfulness, and reduced divorce rates.

Read the full article in ScienceDaily


How Thinking About Death Can Lead to a Good Life (Society for Personality and Social Psychology)


The Dead Have Something to Tell You

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The New York Times
Published: October 27, 2012

ONCE, we commemorated the dead, left out offerings to feed them and lamps to guide them home. These days, Halloween has drifted far from its roots in pagan and Catholic festivals, and the spirits we appease are no longer those of the dead: needy ghosts have been replaced by costumed children demanding treats.

Over the last century, as Europeans and North Americans began sequestering the dying and dead away from everyday life, our society has been pushing death to the margins. We tune in to television shows about serial killers, but real bodies are hidden from view, edited out of news coverage, secreted behind hospital curtains. The result, as Michael Lesy wrote in his 1987 book “The Forbidden Zone,” is that when death does occur, “it reverberates like a handclap in an empty auditorium.”

It wasn’t always this way.

Read the full article in The New York Times


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