Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Medical advice from the Land of Oz

The Dr. Oz Show is an hour-long afternoon week-day medical TV talk show. (There is another show called The Doctors). This month there was an article in the British Medical Journal titled Televised medical talk shows - what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: a prospective observational study. You can read it all here at PMC. The results were discussed in the Los Angeles Times Real-world doctors fact-check Dr. Oz, and the results aren’t pretty and at TIME Here’s what experts say about the advice on Dr. Oz and The Doctors.

In that study a group of Canadian physicians looked at 78 episodes of Dr. Oz from January 7th to May 1st of 2013, and looked at 80 of the stronger recommendations that were made on them. They found that:

“Believable or somewhat believable evidence supported 33% of the recommendations on The Dr Oz Show and 53% on The Doctors. We found believable or somewhat believable evidence against 11% and 13% of the recommendations on the The Dr Oz Show and The Doctors, respectively.”

What does that look like? You are getting a fabric of nonsense with only patches of reality, like the checked cloth shown being woven. Yesterday at Forbes there was another article titled The Best Medical Advice? It May Be To Stay Away From Dr. Oz’s. (I had considered giving this post the tongue-in-cheek title I Saw It On Television, So It Must Be True).

The poster from the 1902 musical of The Wizard of Oz came from The Library of Congress. The loom image was derived from Scientific American, as found on Wikimedia Commons.

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