There aren’t always research articles that come out as relatable to the every-day person as this one. Television personalities from the medical profession in America are incredibly popular, and their power is growing with huge audience draws and product endorsements. Have you ever considered that the information they are telling you is correct? Or is it personal opinion based on a tradition, rather than science (what we call “evidence based medicine” or “evidence based practice”)? This was a study that looked at televised medical talk shows, what they recommended compared to the evidence:
“Popular television talk shows such as The Dr Oz Show often engender skepticism and criticism from medical professionals… However, no research has systematically examined the content of the medical information provided on these talk shows. Our objective was to review the most popular medical talk shows on television, to (1) determine the type of recommendations and claims given and the details provided, and (2) search for and evaluate the evidence behind these recommendations.” (para 3)
These shows are also very popular in Australia, where laws about advertising of pharmaceuticals and approved treatments are different to the United States. There has been concern highlighted by the global medical community that these shows provide inaccurate information and promote pseudoscientific treatments. Of concern in particular, were the television shows The Doctors and The Dr. Oz Show, and they have a strong presence in the American home:
“In the 2012-13 season, The Dr Oz Show was consistently ranked in the top five talk shows in America with an average of 2.9 million viewers per day, while The Doctors had a high of 2.3 million viewers... In the 2012 Greatist report, Dr Mehmet Oz and Dr Travis Stork (one of the hosts of The Doctors) were both included in the top 100 health and fitness influencers.” (para 2)
Given the impact these programs have, what is most concerning was the results of the study. that found a lack of sound evidence behind claims, as well as undisclosed benefits for product endorsements:
“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%… Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest accompanied 0.4% of recommendations.” (Abstract)
Listen to the discussion and read more about this study in the link below.