An woman in the audience of the widely popular Dr. Oz show recently gushed “I haven’t seen a doctor in eight years.You’re the only one I trust.”
Uh oh. Better schedule a check-up with a real physician STAT!
Millions of viewers are in love with the television doc who has made a fortune telling viewers how to cure medical problems and live a healthier life. It's time to turn off the telly and listen to research based on actual science. You know, the stuff that's proven by exhaustive research and medical trials.
"Misleading at best, total nonsense at worst" is how Julia Belluz describes her gut feeling over the years about the accuracy of 52 year old Dr. Mehmet Oz's medical advice. Now science is backing her up in a study published in the British Medical Journal. The study analyzed health recommendations from Oz's syndicated TV talk show.
Hang on to your remote controls - The researchers found that about half of the suggestions offered by Dr. Oz's show and others either contradicted what other scientific studies had found or had no verifiable evidence.
Raspberry ketone anyone?
It’s not hard to understand the popularity of “America’s doctor”. Mehmet Oz is an everyday type of guy, speaking simply and clearly.
Eric Rose is a professor of surgery at the Mount Sinai medical school and works with Siga Technologies, a biotechnology firm that develops treatments for lethal diseases like smallpox and Ebola fever.
“I want to stress that Mehmet is a fine surgeon,” Rose says. “I think if there is any criticism you can apply to some of the stuff he talks about it is that there is no hierarchy of evidence.”
He continues, "In many respects, Mehmet is now an entertainer. And he’s great at it. People learn a lot, and it can be meaningful in their lives. But that is a different job. In medicine, your baseline need has to be for a level of evidence that can lead to your conclusions. I don’t know how else you do it. Sometimes Mehmet will entertain wacky ideas—particularly if they are wacky and have entertainment value.”
Researchers looked at 479 health tidbits from Dr. Oz's show and 445 from The Doctors, another popular syndicated medical show. Most of the shows' suggestions involved dispensing general medical advice, followed by non-weight-loss dietary tips.
While the benefits of many of the claims were talked about in a general way, specific benefits and magnitude of those benefits, possible drawbacks, and costs were virtually ignored, the study found. The researchers' conclusion? "Consumers should be skeptical," and we should ask ourselves "whether we should expect medical talk shows to provide more than entertainment."