Water Wet. Fire Hot. TV Doctors Unreliable.

Water Wet. Fire Hot.  TV Doctors Unreliable.

The BMJ Christmas issue is noted to cover goofy topics. For years I had thought they were spoofs and I had been fooled once on an article about saxophones and death..

I said at the time

It has come to my attention that the BMJ article “Unsafe Sax: Cohort Study of the Impact of Too Much Sax on the Mortality of Famous Jazz Musicians” was partly a joke.[4] I thought I got British “humour.”


But the Smithsonian notes

Forget April Fool’s—the British Medical Journal likes to get silly around Christmas time. Every year, the journal publishes a series of papers that aren’t exactly spoofs—the science in them is real—but they’re on topics that an esteemed journal like the BMJ wouldn’t normally touch. “The essence of the Christmas BMJ is strangeness,” the editors wrote in 2000. “It’s our left brain issue. We want everything to be not as it seems.”

So I guess the BMJ is legit when it published Televised medical talk shows—what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: a prospective observational study

In an act of admirable courage they

Prospectively recorded all episodes of The Doctors from 11 January to 1 May 2013 (79 episodes) and The Dr. Oz Show from 7 January to 1 May 2013 (78 episodes).

watched a random selection, then compared the information given with the evidence. It wasn’t easy as

Being unfamiliar with broadcast health information, we were unaware of the non-specific nature of many statements and recommendations given on medical television talk shows.

Many of the recommendations were not specific or clear, although they were numerous

on average, each episode of The Dr. Oz Show had 12 recommendations, while each episode of The Doctors had 11 recommendations.

and the quality of the information, not a surprise, was not so good:

Overall, we found that 87 of the 160 recommendations (54%, 95% confidence interval 47% to 62%) had some level of published evidence to support them. 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.

It would appear that the information given on the Dr. Oz and The Doctors is often vague, frequently unsupported, and occasionally at odds with the known information.  Not a stellar record for the most influential person in health and fitness.  It is sad and worrisome that he can't give supported information even half the time and is wrong one time in ten. TV doctors are heading into Food Babe territory.


Guess who pioneered chemoprevention through diet?
Points of Interest 12/18/2014

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