Physician Medical Blog

Kate Scannell, MD

Medical Writer

Selected Works

Fiction -- Interconnected Short Stories
Torrential rains pour into Thalburg Canyon, California. Flooding ensues, and a universal human drama unfolds as the interconnected stories of the canyon residents are acted out on center stage.
Nonfiction, Physician Memoir
The author begins her medical career as a young physician caring for people who are dying with AIDS during the 1980s.
Book Reviews -- Examples
Journalist Rebecca Skloot’s new book is a gripping read that embodies all abstractions about research ethics in a compelling tale about Henrietta Lacks – a woman whose microscopic cancerous cells shook the world’s medical establishment in 1951.
Newspaper and Online Opinion and Medical Columns
Since 2000 -- Syndicated medical opinion columns about the sociopolitical and ethical dimensions of American health care.
Medical Essays
Documentary, executive producer
DVD -- Journey by Heart -- an engaging and intimate view of Alzheimer's Services of the East Bay.

Recent Newspaper & Online Columns by Kate Scannell MD

Breast cancer surgery, another paradigm shift in medicine

February 20, 2011

Tags: breast cancer, surgery, medical mythology, axillary lymph node dissection, paradigm shift in medicine, Kate Scannell

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated Columnist
First Published in Print: 02/20/2011

FOR YEARS, I've been writing a book about medical practices that were later found to be wrongheaded, useless or dangerous. It's been a sobering and unsettling project, causing me to question the scientific foundation of my profession a few too many times.

But I am trying to how we doctors sometimes get it all so very wrong. How under our watch, enormous myths can sneak unnoticed into our clinical textbooks and remain there for decades.How our doctorly habits or routines sometimes bypass critical scrutiny and seamlessly morph into "standard medical practice." I am searching for instructive clues to these discomforting mysteries, keeping patients in center vision, hoping to help resolve what I can.

Preparing for this book, I have been collecting medical journal articles whose solid research findings blew some piece of conventional medical dogma out of the water and into oblivion. My collection is housed within a file cabinet labeled "Oops!" that expands at an ever-increasing rate. And today I added to that collection a study from last week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that upends thinking about a type of breast cancer surgery routinely performed on tens of thousands of women each year. (more…)

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Food for thought -- What eats at us

February 6, 2011

Tags: food safety, food regulation, coherent logic, healthy eating, Kate Scannell, food marketing, USDA, FDA, diet pillls

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated columnist
First Published in Print: 02/06/2011

READING FOUR newspapers over breakfast each morning may turn out to be the most effective weight-loss regime in history. Simultaneously digesting the daily news about our food supply's safety and quality, our nation's expanding obesity epidemic, and the pharmaceutical industry's efforts to capitalize on the latter can generate significant appetite suppression.

Last week delivered a remarkable serving of health-related food news. After spreading it all out on the table for the purpose of writing this column . . . well, it left me feeling unsatisfied and hungry for something not on the menu: a coherent logic about healthy eating. (more…)

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