Science or entertainment? Debunking Dr. Oz

A fellow postgrad, Taryn Knox (check out her thoughts in the comments below), just sent me the link to Dr. Oz’s Miraculous Medical Advice: Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. This article critically analyses day-time TV host Dr. Oz’s so-called ‘medical advice’. It is an extremely interesting look into the type of methods Oz encourages and perhaps even endorses.  The biggest issue, that the author quite rightly points out, is where is the overriding principle ‘First do no harm’?

What I find particularly interesting though, is whether doctors should really be dispensing advice to people via TV especially considering the reach TV has and given the harm it could do.  Or whether, actually, there should be some sort of expectation of personal responsibility of viewers to do their homework before taking advice from a doctor who they’ve never even met. I think that while there’s probably a good argument to be made about the personal responsibility of viewers, most of those viewers probably aren’t medical professionals and are probably trusting of those who are, so that takes us back to the first question of whether doctors should be doing this sort of thing on TV.




One thought on “Science or entertainment? Debunking Dr. Oz

  1. The main thing that bothers me about this sort of TV (and trust me, I watch it on the days that I hate my PhD) is that Dr Oz and the producers obviously make money out of making these claims. The article says “Though Sullivan maintains Oz has “no financial or business ties to any companies that make any retail product, including any that appear on the show for routine coverage,” he is not without at least indirect financial rewards for some of the health products and information he shares.” But I’m betting the indirect benefits are HUGE. I’m not going to watch a show that tells me to eat spinach and walnuts soaked in water, but I will be much more inclined to watch something if it has miracle health benefits. Put simply, by touting things as miracle cures Dr Oz not only promotes raspberry ketones and the rest, but is making sure the ratings of his show remain high.

    And on your point Stacey – whether the tv watchers should be beware and do their own research? Dr Oz got his degree at Harvard, he’s a surgeon. I would have thought that he would understand the concept of RCT and only pass only valid info to his viewers. But it seems not. These, showbiz types huh – all about the money.

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