Thursday, June 18, 2009

Yoder Lecture: "What Would Darwin Say?"

Anne Yoder, director of the Duke Lemur Center, is giving the next in a series of lectures commemorating the 150th anniversary of the publication of “The Origin of Species” and the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth.

At 6:30 p.m on Thursday, July 9 at the Museum of Natural Sciences in downtown Raleigh, Yoder presents “Madagascar’s magnificent biodiversity: What would Darwin say?”

Yoder’s research focuses on phylogeny and evolution of mammals, conservation genetics, and the historical biogeography and biodiversity of Madagascar, one of the most critical geographic priorities for conservation action worldwide. In addition to her role at the Lemur Center, Yoder is a professor of biology, biological anthropology and anatomy at Duke University. She is also associate editor for Evolution magazine and on the editorial board for the International Journal of Primatology and Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution.

Please RSVP to . This lecture is free of charge and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors to the Museum and auditorium will open at 6:00 p.m.

The Museum is presenting this lecture series throughout 2009 in collaboration with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) and the W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology at North Carolina State University.

The fourth lecture in the series will feature Dale Russell, the Museum’s senior curator of paleontology, on September 29. Russell will present a talk based on his new book “Islands in the Cosmos: The Evolution of Life on Land,” which traces a path from the dawn of the universe to speculations about our future on this planet.

On November 24th, Museum paleontologist Paul Brinkman presents the final lecture in the series: “Charles Darwin’s Beagle voyage and the origin of ‘The Origin’.”

Previous lectures were given by renowned science author Carl Zimmer, who spoke about the newest discoveries in evolution, and NC State University professor Rob Dunn, who spoke about biodiversity and ecology.

Monday, June 15, 2009

At Home Care, Is It In You?

Guest post from NCCU summer intern David L. Fitts Jr.--

Millions of Americans are providing at-home care for a loved one with cancer, yet few feel up to the task.

Cristina Hendrix, assistant professor in the school of nursing, conducted a study that examined how a one-to-one training might help family caregivers of cancer patients improve their confidence and preparedness in caregiving.

Having family caregivers at home allows patients to feel secure and safe. However, Hendrix said that home care is a complicated task that adds to family members' burdens.

In her surveys, Hendrix said many family caregivers reported that they did not feel competent to take on the task. Many reported being stressed and finding the care a significant burden.

“Most cancer caregivers do not feel confident and prepared,” said Hendrix who spoke at the School of Nursing last month.

If a caregiver is not up to the task, Hendrix said that there are consequences for both the caregiver and the cancer patient. Many family caregivers reported feelings of depression when they struggled with caregiving.

One-to-one training of family caregivers before hospital discharge of their loved ones is important to help caregivers, Hendrix said. However, as early as one week after the patient's return, many family caregivers’ sense of competence starts declining again.

Regular communication and training between professional caregivers and the family caregiver can give the family caregiver a continuing sense of competence in their work, she said. Training must be formalized and at home throughout the care-giving period.

With an aging population, this topic will become more important in the future. It’s likely that more people will rely on family caregivers.

Hendrix’s research points to a possible solution to finding the resources to help both caregivers and patients on an issue that we would do well to think about more.