Need to Know, Knowing or Not, Hot Takes & In the Know

Need to Know, Knowing or Not, Hot Takes & In the Know

Need to Know, Knowing or Not, Hot Takes & In the Know 2011 1491 AEPC Health

To Know or Not to Know


It is often said that “knowledge is power”, a saying that is credited to Sir Francis Bacon, from is book Meditationes Sacrae (1597). Knowledge  empowers individuals to better their own lives, as well as those of current and future generations.

In healthcare, knowledge is critical in order to have a high performing healthcare delivery system. Doctors are expected to be  proficient in current best practices for preventing, diagnosing, and treating acute and chronic illnesses. Facilities, clinics, labs and other providers  must incorporate evidence-based protocols in their operations to ensure patients receive high quality services.

Knowledge is  power for most patients, most of the time. Take the time the ER visit confirmed your friend indeed broke his leg sliding into 3rd base during the Friday night over age 60 men’s softball league game – and the doctor’s suggested that sliding into bases should never be allowed for “old guys”. Or an individual finding out the results of a biopsy– a sigh of relief to be cancer free or time to muster the determination for the treatment that lies ahead. And for expectant parents, the knowledge of the baby’s gender allows them to better plan for names, nursery décor, clothing and perhaps a gender reveal celebration!

But some patients reject the “knowledge is power” adage and instead embrace another old saying, “ignorance is bliss”, from the poem by Thomas Gray in his 1742 Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College. This is a simple concept – you can’t worry about something you don’t know about. This can br particularly relevant when it comes to genetic testing for hereditary and non-heredity diseases.

Individual decisions undertake  genetic testing are as unique as their genes. The decision is often driven by the impact the results could have on their life. Would knowing they are a  risk of an incurable or life altering disease empower them to live each day to the fullest? Or would knowing the disease risk cast a dark cloud over every day?  What if the genetic testing revealed a risk for a treatable or a curable disease, would testing be viewed more favorably?

Yes, genetic testing can provide knowledge – knowledge that may give power to some individuals.  For others, the knowledge will place a  shadow over what could have been a sunny day. As Laurell K. Hamilton wrote, “People are supposed to fear the unknown, but ignorance is bliss when knowledge is so damn frightening.”

Be sure to read “The Vanishing Family” which explores family members’ decisions to learn if they inherited a genetic mutation which causes dementia in middle age!

Happy Reading!

Suzanne Daniels

  • News to Know: current healthcare news, including athletes & cardiac arrest, dementia patients & ER visits and the new CIGNA lawsuit.
  • Knowing or Not: underuse of Alzheimer’s testing, link between genetic mutation and Parkinson’s, and The Vanishing Family.
  • Hot Takes: the impacts of extreme heat, areas with highest heat related illness, and increase in fungal infections.
  • In the Know: including my personal favorite, including my personal favorite, Barbie, Her House and the American Dream.


Enjoy the weekend!

Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
AEPC President
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]

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