“TV Medical Advice: Believe It or Not ? “
According to a Canadian media study published online in the British Medical Journal, patients should be skeptical about claims and recommendations made on mainstream television medical talk shows. I agree. Investigators frequently found that specific details on the magnitude of benefit or harm and the cost and inconvenience of following recommendations were lacking, and evidence supporting them was contradictory or absent. Thus, viewers had little basis for informed decision making. The study, led by Dr. Christina Korownyk, randomly recorded 40 episodes each of the widely watched programs The Dr. Oz Show and The Doctors from early January 2013 to early May 2013 and assessed all recommendations made on both shows. In 2012 to 2013, each attracted 2 to 3 million daily viewers, typically featured a host or hosts and guests discussing one to five health topics per episode and making an average of 11 or 12 recommendations to consumers, some of which were stronger than others.