Reflections of a Centenarian Physician

If there were ever a model for aging well as a physician, it may well be Dr. Ephraim P. Engleman, a rheumatologist who still sees patients after 75 years of practice.

Dr. Ephraim P. Engleman. Photo courtesy UCSF

Dr. Engleman, who turned 100 years old in March of 2011, is the longest tenured professor at the University of California, San Francisco, where he directs the Rosalind Russell Medical Research Center for Arthritis. In an interview with Robert Bazell of NBC News, which aired on that network’s evening newscast on July 26, he reflected on the major advances in rheumatology since he earned a medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, in 1937.

“The treatment of arthritis was aspirin,” Dr. Engleman recalled. “People would come in on wheelchairs and gurneys. We don’t see that anymore. People walk in. They’re not necessarily cured, but they’re much better.”

Some of his tips for living a long life run counter to conventional medicine. For example, he describes exercise as “totally unnecessary” and “mostly overrated.” He also frowns on the use of vitamins, “and I don’t encourage going to a lot of doctors, either.”

Dr. Engleman does recommend falling in love and getting married (he recently marked 70 years of marriage to his wife, Jean). “Sex is to be encouraged,” he said, and having children “is a priority.”

His two sons are both physicians and his daughter is married to one.

The web version of the NBC profile can be viewed here

— Doug Brunk (on Twitter@dougbrunk)

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Filed under IMNG, Primary care, Rheumatology, Uncategorized

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