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Oprah signs off and doctors everywhere rejoice

Oprah is gone.

Although she still has her magazine and her very OWN cable channel, so she’s not really gone. She’s more gone in the way you see a really rich kid a little less often because her family sold the mansion that was closest to your neighborhood. However, that rich kid still has two other mansions, they’re just across town. So you’re still going to bump into her now and then.

But for the purposes of this blog, we will say she is gone. And doctors everywhere are rejoicing. Why? Because Oprah is the Supreme Empress of medical woo, disseminating the greatest combination of medical mumbo jumbo and snake oil the world has ever seen.

Well, you might think, Oprah is entitled to her opinions. True. She is selling ratings, and apparently she knows that woo makes for better TV than, say evidence based medicine (a.k.a. the truth). I have no idea if her non-medical stuff is as far off base as a lot of her medicine; however, if you buy the wrong bra or Nate Berkus gets you to hang the wrong wall paper, no one is going to die.

So here are my top 4 medical reasons why I am not going to miss Oprah:

1) Talking about The Secret. That’s a nifty little book that says good stuff happens to you if you only believe that it will. I guess that means that everyone with cancer, well, you just didn’t wish enough to be healthy. The Secret is insulting. Yes, thinking positive does have an impact on health, but The Secret implies that if your life sucks or that you are sick, well, ultimately it’s all your fault for not wishing it all away. Apparently, if you have cancer or heart disease, well, you just didn’t wish hard enough to be well.

2) Giving anti-vaccine nut job Jenny McCarthy air time (two shows!), never mind that there is not one journal article to support McCarthy’s beliefs that vaccines cause autism. I guess the staff at Oprah’s show don’t bother with a little thing called fact checking. After McCarthy appeared on Oprah she was launched into the daily newspaper headlines and pediatricians everywhere still haven’t recovered. And measles, well, that’s on the rise. And pertussis.

3) Giving Suzanne Somers a platform to spout off about her bizarre bioindentical hormone obsession. Hormone replacement therapy has real risks, even more so for women like Somers who are breast cancer survivors. Somers is apparently far more of an expert than, say, a reproductive endocrinologist.

4) Promoting Dr. Christine Northrup. Northrup tells women not to get the HPV vaccine because in her opinion HPV isn’t the cause of cervical cancer, a weak immune system is the culprit! Never mind that Northrup hasn’t published one research article and that the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to the researcher who made the connection between HPV and cervical cancer. Another biologically implausible idea of Northrup’s is that dyspareunia is due to male circumcision. Yup. I have seen many partners of women with dyspareunia, wracked with guilt that they caused their partner’s condition.

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Discussion

86 thoughts on “Oprah signs off and doctors everywhere rejoice

  1. You are misrepresenting “The Secret” – if you have cancer or heart disease, it is your secret desire / a manifestation of your unconscious to have this illness.

    After all, you must have really, really wanted it …

    (You may vomit now)

    Posted by mariawolters | May 26, 2011, 2:44 pm
    • The Secret very much reminds me of EST. See http://www.rickross.com/reference/est/estpt1.html for a great rebuke of that terrible idea.

      Posted by dwees | May 27, 2011, 4:46 pm
      • I’ve never read the secret, and doubt I ever will, but based on some belief systems that this book borrowed from, the ‘story of your life’ – its successes, horrors and suffering, all of it – are ‘brought into’ your existence to purge ego identification, kill the personality, and allow source to show itself, in a bid for that soul to NEVER return to this corrupt, dark, material world again in any form. With this line of thinking/observation/belief, kids starving in Africa and elsewhere are effigies of mortal horror so that we might ‘wake up’. One assumes these souls will never ‘come back'; their suffering is done. Not that I necessarily believe this, just wanted to throw this in.
        ‘The Secret’ tackily borrows the ancient concept of ‘tulpas’ aka feedback loops – thoughts that become alive with the thinker’s fertilization. From these thoughts can come positive or negative manifestation, dependent on the thinker’s investment and actual brain chemistry.
        Loathe Oprah’s maniacal materialism me-me-me madness in the midst of her phony heterosexuality and Cult of Hollywood ass-kissing.

        Posted by hmmm | May 28, 2011, 7:43 pm
    • I hate the Secret. It was everywhere and it’s just inane B.S. Thank goodness its promoter is done.

      Posted by Jason | May 29, 2011, 2:29 am
  2. Yes. YES! I’m not a doctor, but I trust mine, and GOD YES. In fact, just yesterday, as all of these nutbars were thanking Oprah and making this big scene about it, I thought, well, perhaps the reason I’m battling infertility is because I didn’t WANT A BABY ENOUGH. Could … could that be it, Secret people? I’ll try bringing that up to my RE at our next meeting. “Skip the Heparin, doc! I’ve got The Secret!”

    I also have many feelings on her dangerous brand of self-absorbed consumerism, but we can certainly leave it at the medical stuff for the sake of this particular discussion.

    Posted by jonniker | May 26, 2011, 2:47 pm
  3. At last Orac’s (Respectful Insolence) blood pressure will be leveling off a bit, but the real problem is, she is never really going to be gone.

    Also, the Dr. Oz show is going to launch in India soon, and that worries me: we are already a woosome people with an intense hatred and disbelief of doctors.

    P.S. Can you please add an email subscription for email nuts like me so that I can keep up with your posts? :)

    Posted by Pranab | May 26, 2011, 3:08 pm
  4. Very well written. Sadly, there are no shortage of nuts in the world and another one shall soon take her place.

    Being in India, there are so many proposed home remedies and quacks practicing questionable Ayurveda and homeopathy, it becomes really difficult to convince parents that their child needs NICU care.

    Posted by thesulkinggynecologist | May 26, 2011, 3:19 pm
  5. I can’t comment n the science, and I’ve never seen Oprah’s show, but apropos citing a researcher’s Nobel Prize doesn’t carry too much weight with me. Remember that President Obama, for whom I voted and for whom I held great hopes, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize just before he escalated our misadventures in Asia.

    Posted by Andy Lyke | May 26, 2011, 4:34 pm
    • Andy,
      I see where you are coming from. But It’s important to note that the science based prizes (medicine, chemistry, biology, physics, etc) are awarded after reviewing actual work usually research done by the winner.
      The peace prize is generally awarded with no rhyme or reason and has been given to so many misguided people that it has become completely devalued (ie Ghandi was denied the peace prize despite being nominated 5 times, but Yasser Arafat – who has been very open about the fact he wishes Israel was destroyed competely has one).

      Posted by Nicole | May 26, 2011, 11:44 pm
    • Hi Andy,

      I understand what you’re saying re: a peace prize going to Obama.

      However, evidence-based medicine is all about looking at what works for a large group (statistically significantly large) of people. A sample size of one — in other words, using Obama’s Nobel as an example — is exactly what the problem is with most of what Oprah was doing … saying — “hey, it worked for this person, it’ll work for you, too!” This kind of “backyard neighbour consultations” is what makes people doubt that their physicians are telling them the truth, when really looking at scientific studies is where folks should be putting their trust.

      Of course, there will now be someone who replies to me who will bring up several scientific studies which have now been shown to have incorrect conclusions …
      :)

      Posted by Linda Smith | May 27, 2011, 3:00 am
    • Slight difference between Nobel Prize for science and the Peace Prize. Takes an entire lifetime of research, years and years of repeated testing, vetting, verfication to even get close. Peace Prize is just a political move.

      Posted by Balarka | May 27, 2011, 3:19 am
    • I don’t see a need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. The Nobel Peace prize is rather subjective and certainly unmeasurable. The Nobel Prize in medicine is awarded to game-changing medical breakthroughs which are the result of years of research, controlled studies, and reproducible findings. You know, science.

      Posted by Rosetta | May 27, 2011, 12:04 pm
  6. Hey Jen, fantastic concise post! Just saw it mentioned on twitter and had to read it. Oddly I wrote one myself on Oprah a while back with essentially the same gripes –

    http://3menmakeatiger.blogspot.com/2011/01/and-worlds-greatest-threat-to.html

    I’d also include Jenny McCarthy up there on that list… *rolls eyes*

    Posted by Dr. David Grimes | May 26, 2011, 4:48 pm
  7. I heard that Oz is getting La O’s time-slot.

    Posted by hj | May 26, 2011, 8:25 pm
  8. “Yes, thinking positive does have an impact on health,”

    No, it doesn’t. This has actually been studied in controlled trials, in peer reviewed journals. Being pessimistic, miserable and grumpy doesn’t make any difference to the progression of cancer. Do a pubmed search and find out for yourself.

    Posted by rech | May 26, 2011, 11:38 pm
    • I have a feeling it depends on what a person’s definition of health is.

      Someone who’s full of hope and tries to focus on the positives in their life likely feels better than someone who’s grumpy, don’t you think?

      Posted by Linda Smith | May 27, 2011, 11:02 pm
  9. I also recall a laughable exchange on Oprah about African Americans having higher rates of hypertension because “only slaves who could retain salt better survived the ocean journey from Africa”. The mind boggles.

    A quick Google search confirms this:
    http://benhr.net/lcT0pN

    Posted by ben_hr | May 27, 2011, 12:03 pm
    • Why is this laughable to you? Do you not agree that the gene pool was narrowed quite a bit by the slave ships bringing blacks to this continent? That DOES have an affect on the expression of the present population’s disease profile.

      Posted by Bob | May 27, 2011, 8:44 pm
  10. Agreed, glad to see at least this particular channel of distribution for Oprah come to a close. Yet, none of your issues are relevant to the premise of your article.

    This truly is an “unfortunate post that doesn’t begin to address the complexities of the issues raised”.

    1.Number one killer, heart disease.
    2.Number two killer, cancer.
    …and…ta..da!
    3.The number three killer in the US……prescription drugs.

    According to CTCA, fully 40% of all cancer deaths are from the treatment! With 60 years of “war on cancer” your numbers are getting worse, not better.

    As such, “Alternate” therapies are no worse than “traditional” numbers.

    I thought you were suppose to be committed to “doing no harm”? Yet you keep drinking your big-pharma financed cool-aid.

    Posted by John Macco | May 27, 2011, 1:18 pm
    • Really, none of the issues raised are relevant to the premise? Doctors rejoice because they don’t have to hear about crap like the Secret, from Jenny McCathy, from Suzanne SOmers, and from Christine Northrup. It’s a simple as that. I didn’t mention Big Pharma at all or even prescription medications. I don’t care if a treatment is alternate or Western, it just has to be evidenced-based.

      BTW you comment had little to do with the content of my post!

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | May 27, 2011, 2:13 pm
    • kool-aid is spelled with a K

      ‘traditional’ methods have raised the world’s life expectancy from 52.5 in 1960 to 62.9 as of 2009. i’d say they’re doing something right.

      Posted by tim | May 27, 2011, 2:59 pm
    • That 40% thing is nonsense. It’s possible that 40% of cancer patients die while being treated with chemo, but that doesn’t mean it’s FROM the treatment. Actual fatal adverse event rates depend on the site, but for breast cancer (for example) it’s something like 0.5%

      Posted by Crommunist | May 27, 2011, 3:11 pm
      • Chemotherapy doesn’t work. I’d take my chances with raw food, oxygenated water and apricot seeds. Truth!

        Posted by hmmm | May 28, 2011, 7:46 pm
    • Excuse me, but you are wrong. The number 3 killer in the us is stroke (cerebrovascular diseass). Prescription drugs aren’t even in the top 10 (unless they have been included in ‘accidental deaths’).

      My source. The CDC (Centre for Disease Control). As reputable as they come, I would think.

      See here:

      http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm

      Posted by Hikaru Jolliffe | May 27, 2011, 6:45 pm
  11. I was just wishing that someone would post a blog entry like this.

    Posted by Brian Tristam Williams | May 27, 2011, 2:50 pm
  12. You forgot Doctor Oz! It’s Oprah’s fault we have Doctor Oz. SHe should be banned from TV for that alone!

    Posted by meg | May 27, 2011, 2:58 pm
  13. WOW! Your comments are more onesided and narrowminded than you claim Oprah’s to be “Medical Mumbo Jumbo”. Medicine isn’t “one size fits all” I didn’t agree with everything the guests you mentioned above but am able to take from these guests what fits in my life and helps me. The Secret? There is real value in being able to visualize what you want to happen. If you can’t see it or know it, it won’t happen. Jenny McCarthy? My family has a history of vaccine allergies but are still harrassed by doctors to take them. My sister was recently hospitalized because of the flu shot. There ARE problems with vaccines and because of the this is so politicized we are further away from knowing what works best for individuals. I can’t speak to the other guests but you mention 4 out of the 4000 plus shows Operah has done. To expect to agree with every single guest and then Blast Operah because you dont agree with 4 is ridiculous. Do the Math! You’ve mentioned .1 percent POINT ONE PERCENT!

    Posted by tbforest | May 27, 2011, 3:49 pm
    • Hi Oprah!

      Posted by tim | May 27, 2011, 4:44 pm
      • Funny!

        Posted by Linda Smith | May 27, 2011, 11:04 pm
      • Is anyone amused that:
        1) the vaccine-phobic commenter calls him/herself “TB forest” !?
        2) the blog that celebrates the end of MedicalWoo is formatted by “WooThemes”

        Sorry I’ve been studying too long and I needed a dose of some low-yield giggles :)

        Posted by @jinpack | May 31, 2011, 4:54 am
    • If you can’t see it or know it, it won’t happen? Well I guess all comatose patients, mentally handicapped patients, those with severe brain damage and the like, are all doomed to die from their ailment, then.

      Posted by Hikaru Jolliffe | May 27, 2011, 6:48 pm
    • This comment proves your point. Oprah is misleading folks who are easily led and unable to filter out BS. I agree that doctors are cheering her show ending; too bad her offshoots continue. Oz should be censored by his peers.

      Posted by dan | May 27, 2011, 7:31 pm
    • You are correct SOME ppl react to vaccines. In most standard vaccines it is at a rate of 1:100,000 down to 1:10,000,000. So, if YOUR family has a history it makes sense for ALL families to reject vaccines? I don’t think that is logical. If we didn’t vaccinate we would have lost the War of Independence with Britain to SMALL POX! Let’s be realistic: Vaccines have saved and improved millions if not eventually BILLIONS of lives. Big Pharma LOSES money bigtime on vaccines but they keep developing them b/c they improve preventative medicine. Pretty soon we’re going to run out of antibiotics for curing some infections b/c of drug resistance in microbes; therefore, vaccines are our last hope in the battle against certain diseases. Oprah IS an uplifting and inspiring woman; however, she is wreckless and irresponsible at best when it comes to her topics and shows she has done on different medical topics. She does not practice fair journalism by banning the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) from her show to comment on vaccines.

      Posted by Dr. Pete | May 27, 2011, 8:13 pm
      • Dr. Pete, I’m not saying all people should reject vaccines. From my experience those of us who have real issues with them are not listened too. I had a reaction to a tetnus shot. My M.D. at the time knew this and put it in my chart. Later he told me I needed to update my tetnus shot. I mentioned unemotionally my specific reaction (I know he sees many people and can’t remember every mundane detail and in no way expected him too) Even though he admitted this was noted in my chart he huffed, “YOU can’t get Autism from a shot” Now, I KNOW my allergic reaction has nothing to do with Autism. This is not the only time a member of my family has encountered this attitude (Sister and brother are in the same boat). We are treated like idiots by some in the medical profession. NOT FUN.

        Also, if memory serves, on the show with Jenny McCarthy, Oprah stated they had asked the AAP to have a representative on the show and they didn’t. That is not to say they didn’t have valid reasons to not debate this on a talk show with someone who is not a doctor. They did air a statement by the AAP that respectfully stated their position. My thought, and it’s mine from my personal experience, is that my personal problems with vaccines are not acknowledged by many in the medical community that I come in contact with. Right or wrong, it makes me suspect that others with real concerns (different from mine) are met with the same disrespect. I hope my perception is wrong and that further research is conducted to make vaccines safer for everyone.
        Take care

        Posted by tbforest | May 28, 2011, 12:56 am
      • *In reply to TBFOREST*

        Yes, I do sincerely hope your perception is wrong. The fact, like it or not (i.e. reality or not) is that vaccines are for the good of humanity. More people would die without vaccines than with. So, until an alternative is found (which – as far as current human medical knowledge is concerned – there isn’t), vaccines are indispensible.

        I lament you and your family’s bad record with vaccines, but the fact remains that we (humans) as a species are better of with them (in the short term, this says nothing about the natural course of evolution, aka survival of the fittest).

        Posted by Hikaru Jolliffe | May 28, 2011, 1:06 am
      • to tbforest

        I have emailed the previous AAP president personally on appearing on the Oprah show. She forwarded me to their media relations person and he said that the Oprah show’s producers REFUSED to allow an AAP representative on her show. Now, are they lying to me? I doubt it. The current president of the AAP I consider a close personal friend and a mentor; I could ask him the same question. I am sure I will get the same answer. I, as a physician, take ALL vaccine reactions seriously and most are harmless and expected. Allergies to vaccine and vaccine components are rarer still. It is not disrespect that healthcare professionals are posing towards you but rather our trust in the science that says allergic reactions are rare. If you are certain, trust your gut. You have to do what is right for yourself.

        Posted by Dr. Pete | June 1, 2011, 9:02 pm
    • YOu are missing the point, TBF. Jenny McCarthy is dangerous. This is not about people with vaccine allergies. Thats a different issue. What JM goes around telling people (and The O was giving her a platform) was not to get your child immunized, that immunizations are causing autism. That is far different from “allergies”. And because Oprah was vested by so many with “universal credibility” it gave JMs dangerous message clout. And the outrage is that educated people are not as prone to believe this as uneducated; so its as if the most vulnerable are being preyed up for ratings. Call me cynnical.

      Posted by Matthew Owers | May 28, 2011, 12:35 am
    • Does your sister now have autism? If not, please step down off the soapbox, since your comment is biased in the opposite direction.

      Truth is that direction –>

      Belief only gets you so far. If believing is starting to fail, get off you lazy rear and start something. I am unbiased, since i haven’t watched an oprah show and rampant consumerism over blatant truth seems to work for oprah but not anyone else.

      TL;DR

      Posted by ICE TROLL | May 29, 2011, 11:52 am
  14. Before I was a student I thought Oprah always promoted unproven modalities for greater health. Now that I am a health care professional, her views and opinions are seldom helpful and malicious if anything. Nothing but an interest in promoting those whom she has invested money in. Further, I continue to be shocked about how many followers she is able conjure through her rhetoric.

    Posted by Marco Bucci | May 27, 2011, 4:10 pm
  15. For unleashing Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil on a superstitious American public, Oprah should be shunned (or worse). That either of those two should be allowed to call themselves doctor is misleading at best, dangerous at worst. it just goes to prove that a medical or psychology degree can be conferred on the idiotic.

    Posted by Devorguila | May 27, 2011, 4:21 pm
  16. Very well put, except you failed to mention the whole narcissism thing…

    Posted by Joe | May 27, 2011, 4:24 pm
  17. A fantastic post. I’ve never been a big Oprah fan – a lot “she’s just trying to hard” to her spin, but I’ve found her medical quackiness downright dangerous. Excellent post and thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Keiko | May 27, 2011, 4:29 pm
  18. I cannot agree with you MORE. “Dr.” Oprah and “Dr.” McCarthy have cost me more time explaining vaccines to parents than any bogus cacamimi study from the Lancet EVER did. I cannot stress enough that NONE of the things on her show are evidence-based. My wife worships Oprah but I knock miss O off her pedistal whenever she dives into the medical arena. The AAP has appealed to the Oprah show’s producers for YEARS to state their position and b/c they know it would be a ratings nose-dive to feature evidence-based medicine, truth, and true medical miracles (aka VACCINES) they would never let them on air. It is DISGUSTING journalism to not allow both sides to be heard. I would like Oprah and jenny McCarthy to be tried in federal criminal court for causing vaccine-preventable illnesses to spread including deaths of innocent infants who contracted pertussis from unvaccinated older kids; not to mention all the morbidities and suffering of children that survive vaccine-preventable illnesses! Unfortunately quacks are like the Hydra: kill one and one hundred appear in that one’s stead.

    Posted by Dr. Pete | May 27, 2011, 4:43 pm
  19. I really lost alot of respect for Oprah as the years went on and she became as stuck up and one way thinking (her) more – However do not be TOO shallow in thinking some of the people she aired on her show were all crackpots! One thing is she did allow sides to speak. (Mr.) Gunter, You sound like someone who almost killed me with a one side – fits all treatment plan and that sir, is more scary than Oprah had made you.

    Posted by Nikki | May 27, 2011, 4:43 pm
  20. opps. Now I’m really scared. I assume sir, but you are a madam with such thoughts. Sad day for many.

    Posted by Nikki | May 27, 2011, 4:51 pm
  21. Add #5 – Thyroid!!

    Dr. Oz told her that most people have an underactive or overactive thyroid. But Oprah is so unique, apparently she doesn’t fit the un-unique categories. No, Oprah has a “frat party in her thyroid.”

    Dr. Northrup told her that thyroid problems develop in women with an inability to speak out. After all, “thyroid disease is related to expressing your feelings.” So how does the one woman on the PLANET with as much speak-out power as Oprah end up with a you-don’t-express-yourself-enough thyroid problem?

    I wonder how many people stopped taking their thyroid medication because she did, or who tried self-love to “cure” their thyroid problems.

    Posted by lynnoliver | May 27, 2011, 5:35 pm
  22. EXACTLY!!

    There’s also Dr. Oz.

    Posted by Eric | May 27, 2011, 5:42 pm
  23. I realized a long time ago that I’m too cynical to watch Oprah. I’ve tried watching her show, but each time I hear something as absurd as “The Secret” or Jenny McCarthy’s tirad on vaccines, I roll my eyes. The constant eye-rolling tends to give me a headache an within 20 mins I have to change the channel.

    Great post!

    Posted by Jonelle | May 27, 2011, 6:58 pm
  24. Oprah probably thinks leeches are a good idea.

    Posted by Chris Martin | May 27, 2011, 11:33 pm
    • Leeches ARE a good idea! They’re great for bruises and drain stagnant blood from between tissue layers. Hirudaea have been a real boon for many trauma patients and in re-attaching severed digits.

      Try another, more relevant metaphor please….”Oprah probably thinks butter on gunshot wounds (ie the standard battlefield treatment until the mid 1700s) is a good idea”

      Posted by Paul | May 28, 2011, 11:57 am
      • True, but off the cuff I couldn’t think of a better metaphor for people who prey on the gullible. :)

        Posted by Chris Martin | May 28, 2011, 10:29 pm
  25. Article is OK, but the point #3 is just wrong.

    Hormone replacement didn’t work when doctors tried to use “Big Pharma” synthetics.

    Bio-identical hormones are safe and effective.

    Dr Gunter is just incorrect on this point.

    Posted by Steve | May 28, 2011, 12:57 am
  26. Thank God common sense is still alive and well in my neck of the woods. I read the cover of The Secret in the store and recognized what it was about, so I didn’t buy it. I do have cancer and if I hear think positive one more time, I don’t know what I might do! I never believed Jenny McCarthy nor Suzanne Somers. My advice is to think for yourselves people! think!!!

    Posted by RJ | May 28, 2011, 7:13 pm
  27. I’ve never watched a whole episode of Oprah but after reading this article she sounds alot like a scientoligist. Is she? Or have I missed something obvious?

    Posted by mrmike44@gmail.com | May 29, 2011, 1:43 am
  28. Don’t forget Dr. Phil! The guy does not even have the training or the background to diagnose individuals!

    Posted by Babel | May 29, 2011, 4:42 am
  29. I found many of Oprah’s shows to be uplifting, I have not watched any for a couple of years. So I did not see any of these “medical” shows. I have a close family member who supports the theory that immunization causes autism. We have had many heated arguments on the point for the exact reason that I keep pointing out that there are no clinical trials to prove the point and that the people that claim this are usually quacks. I was not aware that Oprah was giving air time to these quacks and as I know that their getting credence on such large shows makes their supporters believe them even more. I for that point will be happy with you that she is no longer running her show on television.

    Posted by Vivian Pitschlitz | May 29, 2011, 7:01 am
  30. What about Dr Oz and Dr Phil?

    Posted by syner_genetics | May 29, 2011, 11:42 am
  31. A frat party in her thyroid? That is hilarious, but indeed the mass social influence that the “Big O” has had on a large facet of the American public is no laughing matter. She’s become an iconic voice with unreliable vocal chords and volume. I’ve said it again and twice more, “People need to be proactive about their medical life, related research, potions and cures, Shaman and conjure women.” Media can never replace the need for an M.D., nor should a talk show host serve as the barometer of “reliable relevance.” Sadly, Oprah has been highly successful at the latter, even it wasn’t her goal. What’s interesting is that even beyond medical facts, her staff also fell short on researching whether consumers needed to pay taxes if given a free car. Bottom line, Research 0: Ratings 100. Maybe she’ll do better on her OWN.
    pennydickersonwrites.com

    Posted by Penny Dickerson | May 29, 2011, 5:03 pm
  32. Kudos to those wonderful drug reps called doctors who pump you full of substances that do as much harm to you as good so they can live happy wealthy lives. That’s IF you can even afford their vaunted services in this country.

    All of Oprah’s ideas were not iron clad of course but she was about empowerment, taking your life in hand and shaping it. No doctor went yachtless because of Oprah.

    I don’t mean to besmirch the community health centers out there because they’re really in it to help people and they don’t’ make a lot of money but then they also aren’t whining about a show that helped a lot of people with life struggles.

    Posted by spilt_daydreams | May 29, 2011, 5:48 pm
    • You’re missing the point. You seem to think this is about money. This is about spreading lies and deception.

      Regardless of Oprah being about “empowerment”, to promote idiocy like the autism/inoculation link is dangerous to people around the world and has already caused deaths. Diseases that were near eradication have found new life thanks to the idiots who believed Oprah and Jenny McCarthy. If you want to take your life in hand and shape it, fine have at it. But that doesn’t mean one has to ignore logical scientific thought to do so.

      Posted by Lookiehereu | May 30, 2011, 2:36 pm
  33. Ward: don’t you think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night?
    At the very least ask yourself one question, Has she done more good than harm for millions and millions of people over 25 years on the Oprah show? Like every one else has made a few mistakes along the way.

    Posted by David Houlihan | May 30, 2011, 2:15 am
  34. Thanks for posting the Oprah-woo-monger failures. With our vulnerable brains, it is easy to become infected with these mind-viruses or memeplexes. Using the “meme-machine”, the tech-enabled media, to promote nonsense is dangerous.

    Posted by murmur55 | May 30, 2011, 7:45 am
  35. Well done! I wrote a piece in 2009 that you might enjoy: http://c-o-i-n-s.blogspot.com/2009/06/chink-in-oprahs-armor.html. We all lost a tremendous opportunity to elevate health literacy when she continued to give a platform to these “quackademics.”

    Posted by Paul Oestreicher | May 30, 2011, 2:11 pm
  36. dr. northrop’s reasoning behind her advice to forgo the hpv vaccine may not be sound, but her advice is. the hpv vaccine is worthless and dangerous…

    Posted by undrgrndgirl | May 30, 2011, 4:22 pm
  37. I’m not a big Oprah fan, but c’mon, don’t be so trusting of the pharmaceutical industry.

    They make money off any vaccination shot, whether it helps you or not (or gives you fucked up neurological side effects!!!!).

    Posted by Joe | May 30, 2011, 8:51 pm
  38. Should all of the people in the world think like you? If everyone shared the same opinion, how interesting would conversation be?

    The Secret is a dressed up version of faith. Did you even read the book or watch the DVD? ‘To wish away cancer?..’ you sound ridiculous. It’s a state of mind, positive thinking. Maybe you don’t believe in a higher power, but there is something bigger than us all that exists. If you believe you can do something, it simply means you aren’t going to let anything stop you. You’re going to be resilient, you’re going to be tenacious, you’re going to keep trying no matter what to make whatever you have faith that you can do happen. It’s your mindset and your effort that things begin to happen. That’s how I choose to interpret The Secret.

    It’s apparent that you don’t operate on the principal of spirituality. That’s unfortunate for you.

    Posted by Janay | May 31, 2011, 4:01 am
  39. Evidence based medicine is not “the truth” rather just part of it. When doctors open their minds to the possibility of truth that has not as yet or cannot be scientifically proven we will all be a lot healthier. Yes, there are quacks out there but that doesn’t mean that everyone without a journal article to support them does not have any credibility. It’s well known that medical doctors and scientists have often ridiculed new discoveries that weren’t yet proven. Open your mind and stop ridiculing others. Stick with talking about what you know and stop disseminating your own vitriol!

    Posted by Monica | May 31, 2011, 11:36 am
    • To Janay and Monica,

      The point of someone writing a blog is to have a forum for their own opinions. This is not a news site and so it is appropriate that Dr. Guntner make her own commentary. Janay, your last snarky comment does not represent you as spiritually enlightened. Dr. Guntner did not attack you personally and you would be wise in the future to refrain from ad hominem attacks yourself.

      Monica, there is a reason that science and medicine relies on the peer review process…to determine the credibility of the claims. Who do you think makes new discoveries and test new theories? Not follower, but innovators and people who use their brains rather than lapping up what some messiah offers them. I would also suggest you look up the definition of the word ‘vitriol’ so that you can use it in the proper context next time.

      Posted by Christine Erickson | June 13, 2011, 8:12 pm
  40. Hi Dr. Jan – I’ve been an Oprah fan for decades, and believe she has done some excellent work. But I too have become dismayed by many of these cringe-worthy celebrity ‘experts’over the years.

    After Newsweek’s cover story on Oprah’s endorsement of questionable medical advice a couple years ago (“Why Health Advice on Oprah Could Make You Sick”) it really reinforced the difference between journalism and show biz.

    Dr. Tom Linden, a professor of Medical and Science Journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, told the Los Angeles Times, for example:

    “Journalists operate under journalistic principles. Showmen operate outside the sphere of journalism and are in the world of informational entertainment.“

    Let’s face it – it’s all about ratings, not science-based consumer education. More on this at: “Why Oprah Is Not Your Doctor” – http://ethicalnag.org/2010/03/26/why-oprah-is-not-your-doctor/

    Posted by Carolyn Thomas | June 1, 2011, 8:05 pm
  41. So happy you mentioned “The Secret”. I feel the same, and wrote about that book’s potential impact on women with postpartum depression here: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/weblog/2009/12/selfhelp-methods-for-postpartum-depression-what-to-watch-out-for.html

    Until she promoted that book, I had been a big fan of Oprah. After that I started thinking that maybe she wasn’t paying attention anymore, and it was the producers coming up with topics for the show.

    Posted by Katherine @ Postpartum Progress | June 14, 2011, 7:25 pm
  42. Yo Dr. Oz! It’s on like Donkey Kong! Did a rap dissing the Minions of Oprah: http://zdoggmd.com/2011/06/sucker-mds/

    Posted by ZDoggMD | June 25, 2011, 2:51 am
  43. I didn’t have time to read all these comments but Dr. Oz and most of these others are using junk science, I too go by evidence based medicine. Why are these doctors not being challenged by their medical boards? All you need to do is read of just a few disciplinary actions from say Arizona, to see what little it takes to be chastised for unprofessional conduct for proselytizing unaccepted, anecdotal and trendy medical advise. It’s more than unprofessional it’s a SIN!

    Posted by Dr. Asante | August 7, 2011, 7:28 pm
  44. Could not agree more about Queen O. In case you want to think even LESS of her, go to http://bit.ly/arH6Yp It’s well worth the price of admission.

    Posted by HogsAteMySister | September 6, 2011, 2:03 am
  45. I am a pre-operative trans woman (Meaning my body is male but between my Dr and I we are feminizing me using HRT and another doctor counseling me emotionally).

    My Endocrinologist shows me compassion and excellent physical care. For her its not just about the medical course we are taking (I say we because its a co operative effort) none of the blather show “experts” take into account my diet, my exercise, my emotional well being. None of them have taught me how to do a breast self exam. None of them ask me how I am doing at home, how is my church attendance if I am happy or if I feel blue.

    Doctors do not become Drs to make a million dollars, some do make a lot of money, most make a living and suffer horrible debt from school many many years into their practice. It takes a rather selfless being, one who understands fully the word and application of “Compassion”. The “Dr Phil” and that ilk, dont even have valid licenses. THATS why they are on talk shows spewing garbage and hatred, because there is no medical malpractice suit for a self important unlicensed windbag.

    Dr Jen, your willingness to share your insight and skill free of charge to people shows you are a real subscriber to Hippocrates’ oath. As a woman and fellow human being, I thank you.

    Posted by Kynthia | January 17, 2012, 12:05 am
    • Kynthia, I am a gay man and I respect your views about Dr. Phil and his ilk. I am commenting on your identification as a woman. What I hear you implying is that you believe gender is between the ears, not the legs. Because physically, you are still a human male who is feminizing his body and who believes his mind and brain chemistry to be that of a woman. I would like to RESPECTFULLY disagree with your declaration of womanhood. Some might say that only women can bear children and have a uterus. Well, there are women who have had their uterus’ removed and they are still women, so that test doesn’t work. The ONLY test that I have found that truly satisfies the question is that to call yourself a woman, you must have a vagina. You will not ever have a vagina. You will eventually have your penis reshaped into one (if you chose the surgery), but it will still be a feminized penis. Those cells were already directed years ago to be penile cells. I don’t have a problem with you changing your “gender,” but you make many of us in the LGBT etc. etc. community have to answer for your confusion. Instead of trying to “fit in” as a woman (or man for the oppositely afflicted female-male trans), why don’t people like you lobby for the inclusion of a third gender into our society. Because so many of you walk around with the genitalia of the gender you despise, you are really lying. Think of our intersexed brethren. They walk around with both genders between their legs. People will judge you on who you are, not what’s between your legs. We need socially progressive legislation that takes into account for nature’s “accidents” between the legs so that those afflicted with this dysmorphia can proclaim their rarity and uniqueness without “pretending” to be something they are not and never can be.

      Posted by Bob Knight | January 17, 2012, 5:23 am
  46. I just found your blog and while this post is almost a year old I have to comment and say THANK YOU. I suffer from Hashimoto’s Hypothryroidism and was horrified when Oprah stated publicly that she didn’t need her medication for her thyroid condition. What was she thinking? She says read a book and it is an instant best seller! Did she think that it was a good idea to promote people ignore their doctors and dump medication that keeps their bodies in check.

    Looking forward to reading more from you fellow Canadian.

    Posted by lorifranze | March 30, 2012, 10:51 am

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