Recent Newspaper & Online Columns by Kate Scannell MD

We are getting older

November 16, 2014

Tags: aging, increasing lifespan, National Center for Health Statistics, Groucho Marx, Oscar Wilde, getting older

Kate Scannell, MD, Syndicated columnist
First published in print: 11/16/2014

In my medical practice, patients often asked what they could do in hopes of attaining long lives. But the funny thing was, no one wanted to accomplish that if it required actual aging -- which it most certainly did. Like Oscar Wilde's fictional character Dorian Gray, they hoped to pass through time without time passing through them, affecting their bodies and health, stealing their youth.

But, looking at the proverbial big picture, it's quite evident that "getting older" is what we are, indeed, doing. New research released last month by the National Center for Health Statistics confirms that the average life expectancy -- the expected average number of years of life remaining -- continues to lengthen for people in the U.S. (more…)

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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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