Friday, April 17, 2015

Off to see the wizard

“Oh - You're a very bad man!"

"Oh, no my dear. I'm a very good man. I'm just a very bad Wizard.”





    Group Tied to Dr Oz Critics Has Critics Too

  4. No Evidence for Most TV Medical Advice, Study Shows

    See: Korownyk C, Kolber MR, McCormack J, Lam V, Overbo K, Cotton C, Finley C, Turgeon RD, Garrison S, Lindblad AJ, Banh HL, Campbell-Scherer D, Vandermeer B, Allan GM. Televised medical talk shows--what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: a prospective observational study. BMJ. 2014 Dec 17;349:g7346.

    Dr Oz Blasts Writers of 'Brazen Letter' Calling for Ouster

  5. "Progress in medicine and science is a messy, contested affair. It can be hard to know who’s right or wrong until the dust has settled and time has passed. Without people pushing the boundaries of accepted treatments and conventional wisdom — and fostering dialogue, which Dr. Oz sees as part of his mission — there would be no advancement.

    Here in America, rightly or wrongly, we have clearly chosen a wild and woolly marketplace where free speech comes before regulation and expert ruling. That means that, as patients and consumers, we need to do our own homework and exercise another precious right: the right to a second opinion. And then, maybe, a third."

  6. "Some doctors, while not exactly defending Dr Oz, downplayed his actions as just par for the course. A cardiologist wrote (somewhat cynically):

    Dr Oz does what a lot of physicians do nowadays, just on a grander scale . . . How about [ordinary physicians] putting pacemakers in a bedridden 95-year-old man because he had "syncope." Inappropriate stents, colonoscopies, anyone? At the core of it all is that medicine has become a big sham. We should not begrudge Dr Oz for finding a way to make it work to his advantage."


  7. "Especially disturbing was that the shows mentioned potential harms less than 10 percent of the time and almost never declared potential conflicts of interest. The study noted that the recommendations were often given by guests on the show, not the doctors themselves. Still, to the average viewer, I doubt this distinction matters much in terms of how believable they seemed, since a guest's recommendation carries the implicit endorsement of the doctors, especially when they sit there nodding their heads."

    "A man freaks out about miniscule amounts of radiation from dental x-rays, declares on television to tens of millions of devoted viewers that a few routine radiographs can give people cancer, but he regularly crisscrosses the country and indeed the globe, thereby exposing himself to notably higher radiation doses in the form of cosmic rays."

  8. Since his foray into daytime television, by way of Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Oz has strayed from the strict standards characteristic of the medical field and particularly academic institutions.

    You can’t have it both ways: You can’t have the credibility of an elite academic institution and not be held to its standards.

  9. It's a fine line, but he has to walk it more closely. You don't want people to believe that they can lose weight by magic beans. We don't want people thinking that people can perform surgery (on those who really need surgery) through therapeutic touch or mind control over their bodies. We don't want people going around believing that there are cures for viruses and bacteria in natural diets that substitute for what vaccines or antibiotics can do.

    Dr Oz can be exciting. He can explore the alternative. He can explore the complementary, but he should be telling his audience, "Look, there is no evidence for this; these are just ideas that have been around for a long time. They're not proven." He has to make it clear where the line is between evidence-based claims and fantasy, hype, and people touting the latest supplement so that they can continue to let the $34 billion supplement industry thrive.


  10. Like Samuel Thompson, many alternative practitioners offer knowledge about herbal remedies and dietary practices. Following the plant-based diet of Dean Ornish, or avoiding genetically modified foods on the dubious advice of Dr. Oz, is unlikely to have a deleterious effect on your health. But ultimately these doctors promote lifestyles based on a perception of health rather than on evidence-based medicine. Weil’s dietary and vitamin supplements might make you feel better, but they’re likely doing very little to improve your health.

    In 2007, a survey for the U.S Department of Heath and Human Services reported that more than a third of adult Americans had in that year used at least one alternative therapy, and that 83 million U.S. adults spent $33.9 billion on out-of-pocket costs for alternative medicines. With the growth of cancer morbidity and diseases like autism, alternative medicines will continue to hawk magical cures to deadly and debilitating diseases. As long as health fails and bodies decay, as long as we are relentlessly faced with our own mortality—the quack will endure.


  11. “I wish I’d never used the laudatory terms I used for weight loss supplements,” Oz said. “That was the big mistake I think we all acknowledge. I stopped doing that a long time ago, over a year ago.”

    “I never wanted my messages to be hijacked by marketers on the web that are stealing my name and likeness and trying to sell you products. I realize there’s a lot of fraud in the products themselves…and the research behind it was often fraudulent. But I in general get it right.”

  12. Taking aim at the pitfalls of "celebrity science," Schwarz said he wrote the book to help people make better decisions – a process that has been complicated by the proliferation of information online, both accurate and inaccurate...

    "With the advent of the Internet, this is becoming more and more of a problem because people graduate from the ‘University of Google’ these days … they think they have the right information about everything, but unfortunately there's a lot of nonsense.",,,

    Much of the misinformation that's out there has been propagated by so-called "celebrity scientists" like Dr. Mehmet Oz and Vani Hari, commonly known as the "Food Babe," Schwarcz said.

    As for Oz, Schwarcz said TV's most famous doctor initially gave very good advice when he was invited to do short segments on the Oprah Winfrey show.

    However, once he was given his own show he started to become an "actor" playing the role of "Dr. Oz," he said.

    In his book, Schwarcz takes issue with one of Oz's segments in which he deems red palm oil as a "miracle."

    "This is something that doesn't sit well in science," he said. "You don't label things as miracles, they don't exist."

  13. How harmful is his false information?

    ♦ A person with a real medical problem may defer seeing a real medical doctor and getting real medical attention.
    ♦ A person may reject the best treatments based on false statements Dr. Oz has promoted on his show.
    ♦ A person is gullible in spending their hard earned money on products that have no scientific basis.
    ♦ Wrong information can lead to wrong decisions.
    ♦ Dr. Oz is creating a show for viewership, not because he actually cares about the health of the viewers. The more sensational the better whether it works or not.
    ♦ Dr. Oz bears no liability in information he gives on his show. He can say whatever he wants with no repercussions. If a person is harmed, there is nothing that can be done.

    See more at:

  14. Oz's dubious medical advice wouldn't be such a problem if people saw the show as merely entertainment — if they simply watched the show but didn't take its claims to heart. But it's clear viewers really do heed his advice. There's the case of a man who followed Oz's suggestion of curing insomnia by pouring uncooked rice into socks, heating them in a microwave, and wearing them to bed. The man got second- and third-degree burns on his feet. He sued, but the case was thrown out because the judge determined that Oz cannot establish a physician-patient relationship through TV.

    Not everyone agrees with the judge's reasoning. Rochester New York medical student and blogger Benjamin Mazer has been publishing anonymous stories sent into him from health professionals about the impact Oz has had on patient care. One reported that her dad had a heart attack and five stents placed in his heart, which required him to take aspirin and Plavix to prevent blood clots. "He was watching Dr. Oz, who said Plavix was not necessary, so he stopped taking it. About a month later, he had another massive [heart attack] and coded and had to be shocked back to life." She continued: "My dad admitted to following Dr. Oz's advice and not asking his own cardiologist."...

    This suggests that people act on Oz's health advice as if he were their own doctor, for better or worse. (While Oz has been careful to point out repeatedly that he does not "directly" endorse any company or product, he is available for strategic partnerships, according to the Oz Media website: "Our goal is for Dr. Oz to forge a direct and authentic connection between you and your demographic.")

    I talked to many other doctors from across America with patients who have been touched by the Oz effect. Again and again, they used phrases like "snake-oil salesman" and "quack" to refer to him. They worried about their patients. Rather than heaping him with praise as Oz's New York colleagues or fans did, they said he is a menace to public health, that he takes advantage of people and confuses medical issues.

  15. The AMA’s medical residents and fellows group is tackling the “Dr. Oz” issue, that is, the ethics of physicians promoting unproven remedies. The Columbia University thoracic surgeon, Mehmet Oz, has been criticized for doing that on his television show. The resolution would favor mandatory disclosures to an audience when a remedy has insufficient science behind it.

    - See more at:

  16. After recent criticism that it dispenses unscientific medical advice, the television show hosted by Mehmet Oz, MD, has hired a preventive medicine specialist from Consumer Reports magazine to head its medical unit.

    The new hire, Michael Crupain, MD, directs the magazine's Food Safety and Sustainability Center, which has delved into such matters as safe-to-eat shrimp. Dr Crupain completed a residency in preventive medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, and earned a Master's degree in public health there as well...

    Dr Oz's relationship with the medical community, or at least some segments of it, has been rocky during the past few months. In April, 10 physicians from across the country urged Columbia University in a letter to fire Dr Oz from his academic post there because, as they put it, he disdains evidence-based medicine and promotes "quack treatment" for financial gain.

    The university responded by defending academic freedom for its faculty. On his television show, Dr Oz characterized some of the letter writers as hired guns of companies such as Monsanto who promote genetically modified foods, which he wants labeled as such. Four of the 10 letter writers have connections to the American Council on Science and Health, which opposes mandatory labeling of genetically modified food.

    Later in April, eight members of the Columbia University faculty said in an opinion-editorial piece for USA Today that Dr Oz's "unsubstantiated" medical advice on the show "sullies the reputation" of their school. They did not say that the university should fire their colleague, however. Dr Oz responded in a Time magazine article by saying that he respected the opinions of his colleagues. "I try to improve the show accordingly," he said.


  17. Senator McCaskill has been aggressive in drawing attention to problems in the supplement industry. Last year, as head of the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, she held a hearing on weight loss supplements and scolded Dr. Mehmet Oz – who testified at the hearing – for promoting “diet scams” on his daytime television show.



    Website does not seem to allow copying, so I cannot give a preview.

  19. In what might be called a thinly veiled rebuke of Mehmet Oz, MD, the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association (AMA) earlier this month adopted two resolutions that seek to hold physicians accountable for the advice they dispense through mass media.

    One resolution, sponsored by medical students along with residents and fellows at the AMA's annual meeting in Chicago, called on the association to issue a report on the professional obligations of such physicians and how wayward ones might be disciplined by regulatory bodies. The resolution also directs the AMA to go on the record denouncing the spread of dubious information and affirming the need for physicians in the media to adhere to evidence-based medicine.

    A second resolution sponsored just by the residents and fellows section of the House of Delegates encourages physicians who make public statements about health and science to disclose whether their positions "are based on published peer reviewed evidence, standard of care, or personal opinion."

    The two resolutions did not mention Dr Oz or his television show, but deliberations leading up to the votes did, owing to the "whereas" preambles that accompanied each measure. The whereas section of the joint resolution from the medical students and residents originally called out The Dr. Oz Show for dispensing mostly unproven advice and generally not disclosing potential conflicts of interest. However, these references to Dr Oz and his program were removed before the House of Delegates voted, according to a medical school delegate in attendance.

    The whereas section of the other resolution noted that the Senate held hearings last year on "false treatment ads by the popular TV show The Dr. Oz Show." This point made it to the conference floor intact, although delegates adopted only the resolution per se. According to the AMA, the whereas section of a resolution isn't part of the vote because it reflects merely the sponsor's opinions.

  20. The IIN was founded by Joshua Rosenthal, whose nutritional background consists of, spokeswoman Justine Thorner explains, "a master of science degree in education and 30 years of experience in health, wellness, wholefoods, personal coaching and teaching". (In other words, he learned to be a teacher in nutrition by teaching about nutrition.) He still teaches 50 per cent of the programme, alongside visiting teachers - "the best in the world", according to Rosenthal - who include such zeitgeisty figures as Huffington Post editor-in-chief Arianna Huffington and Mehmet Oz. Oz, an American heart surgeon with his own television show, has been regularly criticised by fellow doctors, who recently described him as "routinely [showing] disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine". As for Oz's coverage of weight-loss supplements, Senator Claire McCaskill told him in a senate hearing last year, "You are melding news and entertainment in a way that harms consumers."

  21. TV's Dr. Mehmet Oz is one of 17 heart doctors who made more than a million dollars from a drug or medical device company between 2013 and 2014.

    That's according to MedPage Today, which parsed an open data set of payments to doctors from industry. According to the analysis, Oz earned $1.17 million from Covidien/Medtronic, which owns HET Systems, the maker of a hemorrhoid therapy he helped develop.

    Oz also used his media platform to promote the treatment just ahead of it hitting the market. In one of his syndicated columns with co-author Dr. Mike Roizen, he doled out some advice for how people can deal with their "rhoid rage," including this:

    If you need treatment, a device is coming to the market that makes getting rid of these much less painful: Ask your doc about HET bipolar ligator. (We helped develop this, and it’s a major reducer of pain in the, well, you know what.)

    Many doctors have financial relationships with drug and device companies, and ethics guidelines mandate that they disclose them. Oz and Roizen did just that in their parenthetical reference...

  22. A television news anchor who exaggerates his experience is demoted, but doctors on television who exaggerate their expertise across all branches of medicine, prescribe unsubstantiated, costly and potentially harmful treatments, and leave other doctors to manage the fallout continue without censure.

    Too much bravado by a news anchor should not provoke more outrage than too little vital prescription information from a doctor. Television doctors are engaged in the practice of medicine, with all of the attendant obligations to be trustworthy. They are potential sources of valuable information — or harmful misinformation. Brian Williams’ “Walter Mitty-isms” are harmless compared to the potential costs and health consequences of haphazard media medicine.

    The American Medical Association (AMA) agrees with our position that practitioners of media medicine are not exempt from their responsibilities as doctors. At its June meeting, the AMA announced that it will issue ethical and disciplinary guidelines for media medicine. Specifically, these guidelines will encourage media physicians to adhere to evidence-based medicine, insist that they disclose whether their positions “are based on published peer reviewed evidence, standard of care, or personal opinion,” and make recommendations for disciplinary measures against media physicians who offer dubious medical advice.

    The recognition that media doctors are practicing medicine by the nation’s largest organization of physicians is major and long overdue news. It opens the door for possible regulation of media medicine and also for a more cooperative relationship between practitioners of traditional medicine and those, like Dr. Mehmet Oz, who take a non-traditional approach, frequently advocating alternative remedies.

    The stakes are high: “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Doctors” are making medical recommendations for a total of about 6 million virtual “patients,” which is more than any other U.S. practicing physician, medical group or hospital.

    We don’t agree with the argument, made by physicians from across the country, that academic institutions should sever ties with physicians on television. Media doctors are still trained physicians, and many people report tremendous health benefits from their recommendations...(continued)

  23. (continued) According to a study published in the medical journal BMJ, more than half of the treatments prescribed by physicians on programs such as “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Doctors” have no credible science basis. In response to this study, Oz wrote in Time magazine that 50 percent approximates “the amount of randomized clinical trial data underlying conversations in physician’s offices” — in other words, only 50 percent of the medical advice prescribed by physicians in their offices is supported by this particular type of trial, which is the gold standard...

    While many doctors do make herbal, holistic, off-label or other recommendations to patients, these are usually based on experience and scientific studies, though not always the randomized clinical trial that Oz refers to. A prescription based on a physician’s scientific review, even without full validation by a randomized clinical trial, is very different from a prescription lacking any scientific credibility...

    As Columbia medical faculty, we’ve seen the unintentional consequences of “miracle cures” promoted with insufficient caveats. We recently encountered a patient with diabetes who suffered an amputation after substituting a tele-prescribed probiotic for her regular medication. Another patient developed rhabodmyolysis — the toxic breakdown of muscle, which can lead to kidney failure – as a result of taking various alternative weight loss remedies, including chromium, guarana, and Garcinia Cambogia, all of which have been promoted in media medicine even though medical literature has noted them to be potentially toxic to muscle. Like any treatments, the anticipated efficacy and potential side-effects of non-traditional medicines needs to be disclosed to the patients...

    This column reflects contributions from a diverse group of faculty at the Columbia University Medical Center.

  24. Dr. Mehmet Oz; a cardiothoracic surgeon known for his show; “The Dr. Oz Show” appeared before the congress to answer claims he made on his show. He said he’s willing to clear out misconceptions to resolve bogus marketers using his name to sell miracle pills to millions of Americans who are anxious to lose weight.

    It has been known to many that Dr. Oz praise some supplements as fat busters. Though he don’t endorse any products, he admits using “flowery words” and even promised make a list of all products he believes to help shed fats and make Americans healthy.

    Dr. Oz’ fat burning tips beyond diet and exercise did not escape the scrutiny of the congress. In fact, he was reprimanded by Chairman Claire McCaskill when he appeared before the Senate’s consumer protection panel.

    Dr. Oz mentioned a lot of weight loss products on his show and though he denied endorsing any of them, his introduction of these products can be misleading.

    “Forskolin is a lightning in a bottle. This is a miracle in a bottle working to fight fats”, Dr. Oz said in one of his shows. This is just one of the many statements he uttered when mentioning weight loss products.

    “I don’t understand why you are mentioning these words despite knowing that these are not true?” McCaskill asked Oz in one of their interviews.

    “These weight loss products only offer “short-term crutches” and are not intended for long term use. No miracle pill will work without doing proper exercise and diet”, admitted Dr. Oz as he laid his final say on the table regarding these weight loss products.

    “However, I personally study these products and even asked my family to try them. But I admit they don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact. As with my family, I offer my audiences the same advice”, added Dr. Oz.

    McCall points the use of the word “miracle pill” to give false hopes to people who buy the products. Such coinage affected the sales of forskolin supplement and other products he mentioned. But Dr. Oz denied association with any of these companies nor does he receive any monetary compensation from them.

    Federal Trade commission filed a case against sellers of some weight loss products for making false claims, causing deceptions to their consumers.

  25. The five celebrities whose negative Q Scores have taken bigger hits since 2013 are Adrian Peterson (13 points), Robin Thicke (14 points), Mehmet Oz (16 points), Ariana Grande (26 points) and Cosby (a whopping 43 points).

  26. Q Scores, the company that polls Americans on their favorable and unfavorable opinions about brands and celebrities, has released its 2013-2015 data of negative ratings for famous people in which 'the (once) mighty [Dr. Oz] have fallen'.

    In the list, the once wildly popular Dr Mehmet Öz of Turkish-descent suffered a lot of negative Q scores measuring his 'unpopularity'. Dr Mehmet Öz, previously known as "America's doctor" thanks to his show 'The Dr. Oz Show', saw the third biggest spike in negative 'unpopularity' scores and lost 16 Q popularity points since the last polls in 2013.

    Dr. Oz was accused of promoting 'new age nonsense' with his 'miraculous' weight-loss cures and harshly criticizing genetically modified foods.

    In April, 10 physicians had wrote a letter to Columbia University's dean of health sciences and medicine, Lee Goldman in which they called for the dismissal of surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz for "manifesting an egregious lack of integrity by promoting quack treatments and cures in the interest of personal financial gain."

    After the incident, Oz was widely referred to as "America's quack"

    Q scores collects these opinions biannually and their ratings are expressed in terms of percentage points.

  27. And this season has been a particularly bad one for science-based medicine on The Dr. Oz Show. Apparently Dr. Oz felt that he had to surpass what he did last season, which included inviting a man whom I consider to be one of the foremost sellers of quackery on the Internet, Dr. Joseph Mercola. Prior to that, Dr. Oz had done an episode touting the glories of that form of faith healing known as reiki. In between, he made appearances at various panels of woo-friendly physicians trying to coopt President Obama’s health insurance reform initiative to cover more “holistic” care (i.e., “integrative medicine”).

    In the next season, in particular over the last couple of months, Dr. Oz showed me just how wrong I had been when I had previously been saying that Dr. Oz seemed to be mostly science-based but with a soft spot for certain kinds of pseudoscience. This season, Dr. Oz has thrown down the gauntlet to science-based medicine (SBM) and, as I like to put it, crossed the Woo-bicon. First, he not only invited Joe Mercola back on his show, but he did it defiantly, defending Mercola against what I consider to be much-deserved charges of being a seller of quackery and lauding him as a “pioneer of holistic treatments.” A couple of weeks later, Dr. Oz pulled the classic “bait and switch” of alternative medicine, featuring a yoga instructor on his show who also advocated all sorts of Ayruvedic quackery. Then, a mere few days later Dr. Oz, apparently not satisfied at his transformation from nominally science-based to being based solely on whatever would bring him higher ratings, completed his journey to the Dark Side of quackery by credulously featuring a faith healer on his show and hosting what has to be the lamest faith healing that I’ve ever seen in my entire life. After that, I didn’t think Dr. Oz could go much lower, although he tried, two examples of which were his anti-vaccine-sympathetic episode on autism in which he featured Dr. Robert Sears and his utterly reversing a previous scientifically correct stance of his and promoting a dubious and potentially dangerous diet...

    In actuality, what’s going on here, I think, is more likely to be pure hubris. I submit to you that Dr. Oz has become so enamored with himself and his image as “America’s doctor” an the iconoclast who bucks the medical system, sees beyond “Western medicine,” and is just so much more damned smart than other doctors, that it likely never occurred to him that he could be fooled by a psychic scammer like John Edward just as easily as anyone else. Add to that his need to fill the insatiable maw of his daily TV show with new topics and new guests, coupled with the demands of his audience, who are clearly very much into this sort of thing, and it becomes easy for him to justify having a guest like John Edward as both evidence of his intelligence and open-mindedness and giving the people what they want.

    Bread and circuses. That’s apparently what they want. I can only wonder what’s next for The Dr. Oz Show after this? I predict alien abductions. Or maybe the “conspiracy” to keep the One True Cure for Cancer from the people. One of those will be the next topic Dr. Oz tackles. Either that, or David Icke will be involved. It’s coming. I know it.

  28. During a self-prescribed listening tour with physicians groups this summer, Mehmet Oz learned just how much it annoyed many doctors when their patients say, “I heard on ‘Dr. Oz’ …”

    It’s been a humbling stretch for the heart surgeon who built his own successful talk show after being introduced to the world by Oprah Winfrey. Critics, including some in Congress, scolded the hyperactive health evangelist for promoting questionable diet aids he’s since sworn off. In April, a group of 10 doctors urged that he be removed from Columbia University’s medical faculty, accusing him of promoting “quack treatments.” His show has lost half its viewers over the past five years.

    “Heal thyself” is now the goal, as Oz tries to recalibrate and save his program, which began a seventh season Monday. He privately sought feedback this summer from doctors’ groups of various specialties.

    “We’re on the same team of trying to make people healthier, which I think everyone can agree is the case, even if you disagree with how I do it, even if you don’t like the entertainment aspect of it,” he said...

    Oz has taken steps to mend fences, hiring a doctor to improve his show’s communication with the medical community. Since many doctors hear their patients quote Oz but don’t know what he said, the outreach effort will make it easier for them to find out and will alert specialists when the show addresses topics in areas of their expertise...

    But Oz’s reputation among consumers has clearly taken a hit. His positive Q score peaked at 32 in winter 2011, meaning 32 percent of people who knew him considered him one of their favorite personalities. Now it’s 15, below the average of about 18, according to Marketing Evaluations Inc.