Sugar Coating: What Your Doctor Really Prescribes
In a new Harvard survey, a majority of doctors said they had been overly optimistic about a patient's prognosis and ten percent said they had told patients something that was not true.
What's the Latest Development?
A new Harvard study calls into question our assumption that medicine is one of the most honest professions. In a survey of 1,900 doctors from across the country, 55 percent said they had been overly optimistic about a patient's prognosis and 10 percent said they had said something untrue. "About a third of the MDs said they did not completely agree that they should disclose medical errors to patients, and 40 percent said they didn’t feel the need to disclose financial ties to drug or device companies."
What's the Big Idea?
Should doctors lie to their patients? Sugar coating a prognosis may help soften the blow of bad medical news but a more worrying cause of dishonesty persists. In the survey, 20 percent of doctors said they had failed to disclose a medical error for fear of being sued. The study's lead author, Dr. Lisa Iezzoni, says those fears are misplaced. A majority of patients say they prefer to know the truth and doctors who are open about their errors are less likely to be sued than those whose errors are discovered by patients further down the line.
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Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.
- There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
- CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
- Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
- Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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