TV Doctors’ Talk Shows: Can You Trust Their Recommendations?
Most of us have seen an episode or two of a TV medical talk show, like the Dr. Oz Show. Have you wondered if the health recommendations are accurate and fact-based?
A group of general practitioners had the same question. So, they analyzed over 40 episodes of the popular American TV shows, ‘The Dr Oz’s Show’ and ‘The Doctors’, to see if health claims were evidence-based.
Published in The British Medical Journal, the study results were alarming.
Can You Trust the Claims of TV Doctors?
The research doctors were concerned when their patients would say: ‘I was watching TV and I saw a recommendation that I should be taking this medication (or this supplement or have this test).’ Or, ‘I’ve started taking this supplement because it was recommended on this particular medical show.’
Dr. Christine Korownyk, the lead researcher said, as doctors, “we were left scrambling thinking ‘what is the evidence for that? Is this something you should be doing?’ So we thought we should go ahead and systematically look at these shows on television.”
The main goals were to assess the accuracy of the reporting (was it evidence-based), if the recommendations were ‘best practice’ and if the doctors’ claims were unbiased (no conflicts of interest).
Are the Health Claims Evidence-Based?
The findings were somewhat disturbing. One third to one half of what was discussed and recommended on these programs had NO scientific basis.
• For recommendations in The Dr Oz Show, evidence supported 46%, contradicted 15%, and was not found for 39%.
• For recommendations in The Doctors, evidence supported 63%, contradicted 14%, and was not found for 24%.
• On average, The Dr Oz Show had 12 recommendations per episode, and The Doctors had 11 recommendations.
What this Means to Patients
You should be skeptical about claims made on medical talk shows.
The public should be skeptical about claims made on medical talk shows.
For a more in-depth look at this study, read the ConsumerAffairs.com article: Study: Less than half of Dr. Oz’s recommendations are actually supported by evidence.