Physician Medical Blog

Kate Scannell, MD

Medical Writer

Recent Newspaper & Online Columns by Kate Scannell MD

When doctors doctor the truth

February 23, 2012

Tags: doctors and truth telling, truth-telling, Oscar Wilde, uncertainty in medicine, Scannell

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated columnist; First published in print 02/18/2012

Last week, the journal Health Affairs published a study exploring physicians' attitudes about truth-telling that generated abundant media attention. Many public commentators deemed the results "shocking" -- although few seem to have read the fine print. You almost needed a tranquilizer to withstand headlines that "asked" whether YOUR DOCTOR IS LYING TO YOU!

In comparison, the study's actual title reads less sensationally: "Survey shows that at least some physicians are not always open or honest with patients." Although not much of an attention grabber, it concisely summarizes the researchers' main conclusion based upon a survey of 1,891 practicing physicians in the United States.

The actual media reports about the content of the new survey also tended to be off-key and misleading. (more…)

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Picture this: Kids eating their vegetables willingly

February 5, 2012

Tags: children and nutrition, food security and social justice, children eating vegetables, Scannell, healthy children

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated Columnist
First published in print: February 5, 2012

It's often said that "a picture is worth a thousand words." Now, according to new research, we also know that a picture might be worth "the price of a meal ticket" to healthier eating habits for young children.

This week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, University of Minnesota researchers reported that elementary-school children ate more vegetables when the compartments in their lunch trays were lined with photographs of vegetables. Pictures of carrots served as . . . well, carrots, and led three times as many children to that veggie in the cafeteria line. Images of green beans inspired twice as many children to give beans a chance.

That's the good news. (more…)

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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.