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My Doctor May Be A Quack
Posted: 06 June 2012 10:59 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Earlier today I had a doctors appointment, and while in the waiting area, I saw several posters of none other than Dr. Oz on the wall.  Some other patients there were talking about how much
they liked Dr. Oz, and I had to hold back from telling them that Oz is not to be trusted.

I hope my doc and her colleagues don’t feel some type of professional solidarity with Memet Oz;  or do medical practices recieve perks from advertising psuedoscientific crap?

Anyone else ever had experiences like that with your health care practitioners?

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Posted: 07 June 2012 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You might want to talk to your doctor about that, maybe provide her some info. If she really is into the woo, I suggest trying to find another.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yeah, a doctor once tried selling me some magic medicine from Germany made from baby plants (there was supposedly a reason why they were more effective than adult plants). He said he wasn’t sure how or why it should work, but he thought it was worth my $30. I obviously thought otherwise and never went to him again.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Yeah, a doctor once tried selling me some magic medicine from Germany made from baby plants (there was supposedly a reason why they were more effective than adult plants). He said he wasn’t sure how or why it should work, but he thought it was worth my $30. I obviously thought otherwise and never went to him again

A medical doctor actually tried to sell you some “magic” plants George? There’s a dead giveaway! Was this guy into naturopathy? It sure sounds like it. That’s pretty big around here recently. A pharm tech tried to sell my Dad black cherry juice for his gout. Said it would reduce the pain. I checked with my son-in-law (a pharmicist) and he said that it would have no more effect on gout than any other fruit juice other than the placebo effect. But, once again it’s becoming a big business.

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 07 June 2012 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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There are several reasons I can think of that may prompted the doctor to put up those posters.

1) The public is enamored with Dr. Oz and are unaware that much of what he promotes is complete woo. She may not be aware of this either and may simply be trying to tap into his popularity. I can’t think of any way in which she could be receiving direct monetary compensation for displaying the poster.

2) Doctors come in many varieties. I am ashamed to admit that there is a small minority like Oz who have a shaky grasp of the scientific method. Doctors come in two varieties. There are those of us who have always had an enormous respect for science and went into medicine as a way of pursuing a career in science even if we didnt have a desire to do basic research. Then there are those who studied science as a means to an end. They did it because that is how you become a doctor but they have no real appreciation for science. These are the ones who often promote woo because its profitable and they don’t have a real understanding of why its wrong.

I would suggest that you ask your doctor about the posters and then ask her if she has spent much time watching Dr. Oz’s show. Tell her about some of the things he has said that concern you and see how she reacts. If she seems surprised and is honestly ignorant of the nonsense he promotes give her the benefit of the doubt, but if the posters are still there on the next visit or if she defends him then I would recommend you find another doctor.

I have been mulling over the idea of putting a poster in each exam room with Oz in the center of a red circle with an x through it and a heading above that says “Oz not spoken here” but Im a bit concerned that it might cut off necessary discussions with patients who may see it and be intimidated by it so to date I haven’t put it up.

[ Edited: 07 June 2012 09:58 AM by macgyver ]
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Posted: 07 June 2012 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’m not much of a television watcher and hadn’t heard of Dr. Oz. Out of curiosity I cruised the web for a few minutes and came came up with this terrific, article by a physician, Dr. Steven Novella, about taping a show with Dr. Oz, http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/a-skeptic-in-oz/, and link to video of the show, http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/alternative-medicine-controversy-pt-1, . 

I thought Dr. Novella did a very good job at promoting a science based outlook in a very clear manner without resorting to sarcasm, ridicule, or personal attack.  He didn’t change Dr. Oz’s mind, of course, but I thought he made his points very succinctly and well.  An impressive performance.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 11:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Novella is a well known skeptic and a great supporter of the cause of rational thinking in medicine. I watched that episode of Oz’ show a while ago and while Novella did the best he could Oz had the odds stacked against him. He portrayed the show as a balanced discussion of the issue of alternative medicine but he never intended to be balanced. To begin with he created a panel of two physicians, Novella and some cardiologist I never heard of. This presents the public with the false impression that there are two equal sides to this discussion which there are not. Secondly he failed to point out that Oz himself is a supporter of alternative medicine and he controlled the discussion with an iron fist. He often cut Novella off before he could complete his point. Finally he stacked the audience with some obvious shills. There was a woman in the audience who had some sort of nutrition background who stood up to claim there was a lot more science behind alt med than they were given credit for.

I give Novella a lot of credit for going on the show but it was controlled and contrived from beginning to end by Oz. You can never change Oz’s mind because alt med is dogma to him. Reason cant change the mind of someone like that.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 11:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I agree with the gist of your statement, macgyver.  I guess I should have said that Dr. Novella did a very good job in an impossible situation.  I suppose this sort of situation is why Dawkins won’t do debates with fundamentalists.  Still, as a skeptic, I was impressed by how Dr. Novella stuck to his positions and aquitted himself well in an impossible situation, the kind of place a lot of us here seem to find ourselves in far too often.  I wish I had that kind of presence of mind.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I agree and in the podcast that Novella did shortly after the show he made that comment that he did his best but his hands were often tied by Oz’s tight control of everything. He commented that Oz did not even speak to him after the show which as a fellow physician much less a human being should have been a common courtesy but I guess he s to much in demand to spend time mingling for even a moment with his guests.

Like you, I give Novella a lot of credit. There were times during that show where I would have lost my cool and strangled Oz, but Novella really kept his cool and kept things in perspective. Oz is a showman and a charlatan. The best he could hope for was that some of the viewers who were on the fence about Oz might see him for what he really is.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I won’t see her again until fall, but perhaps I’ll try to surreptitiously start a conversation about Dr. Oz, and see where she stands.

The practice has several MD’s, and she isn’t the lead one, so it may not have been her choice to stick the Oz posters up.  I hope not, because I’ve always had a pretty high opinion of her.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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macgyver - 07 June 2012 09:55 AM

I have been mulling over the idea of putting a poster in each exam room with Oz in the center of a red circle with an x through it and a heading above that says “Oz not spoken here” but Im a bit concerned that it might cut off necessary discussions with patients who may see it and be intimidated by it so to date I haven’t put it up.

Maybe instead of a photo of Dr. Oz with the red circle ‘no’ slash, how about photos of woo-woo products he (or others have endorsed) with the red circle ‘no’ slash? That way it might not be perceived as personal.

Take care,

Derek

[ Edited: 07 June 2012 04:12 PM by harry canyon ]
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Posted: 07 June 2012 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 07 June 2012 06:16 AM

A pharm tech tried to sell my Dad black cherry juice for his gout. Said it would reduce the pain. I checked with my son-in-law (a pharmicist) and he said that it would have no more effect on gout than any other fruit juice other than the placebo effect. But, once again it’s becoming a big business.
Cap’t Jack

One of my cousins will ONLY take black cherry juice for her gout, even though she is in and out of the hospital for it. She refuses to take the medicine the doctor prescribes, and firmly believes in the black cherry juice, even though she has kidney damage from the gout flareups. I’ve given up on her…

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Posted: 07 June 2012 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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As I’ve noted, I haven’t had much exposure to Dr. Oz, but what I saw made me wonder if what his popularity stems from is not so much from selling “woo”, but from pushing the idea that people can have control over their illness.  The appearance of control is a huge part of religion, (praying is really just trying to tell God what to do), and illness is inherently a condition which makes people feel they have no control.  Encouraging people to choose ineffective or untested treatment might be less about the “treatment” than the fact that he’s telling people they can have control.

He’s doing people a huge disservice of course, although like a religious leader, he probably can’t see that, (I hope so, for if he understands what he’s doing he is really evil).  I think it’s easy to resent people who have learned more than you have, or are smarter than you are, I know I can.  Physicians are highly trained, highly educated, and for the most part highly competent people.  If you’re a layman, physicians know more about your body than you do, something that intuitively seems sort of wrong,  and physicians inherently are going to seem to be ineffective because we’re all going to age, get ill and die.  Dr Oz seems to be making a very good living by playing on the resentment this can generate. 

Still, I suppose that the message, “You can affect your health.  You should be involved.” is quite a valid message and perhaps it is that part of his message which appeals to a good, scientific physician and so, ends up on waiting room walls.

[ Edited: 07 June 2012 06:54 PM by Jeciron ]
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Posted: 07 June 2012 08:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Jeciron - 07 June 2012 11:16 AM

I’m not much of a television watcher and hadn’t heard of Dr. Oz. Out of curiosity I cruised the web for a few minutes and came came up with this terrific, article by a physician, Dr. Steven Novella, about taping a show with Dr. Oz, http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/a-skeptic-in-oz/, and link to video of the show, http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/alternative-medicine-controversy-pt-1, . 

I thought Dr. Novella did a very good job at promoting a science based outlook in a very clear manner without resorting to sarcasm, ridicule, or personal attack.  He didn’t change Dr. Oz’s mind, of course, but I thought he made his points very succinctly and well.  An impressive performance.

  Thanks for posting those links, Jeciron.

I just watched the clips, and read the SBM blog post about it; I must say, what a load of crap from Dr Oz - the man is a tool!  His claims that exercise, good nutrition, and reducing stress are “alternative” treatments that science dismisses, and that Dr Novella’s attitude is arrogant, had me smirking to myself.  Oz is even worse than I thought.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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From my doctor’s web page:

Keine Homöopathie-Behandlungen oder andere nicht-schulmedizinisch-anerkannte, alternative Heil-Methoden.

No homoeopathy treatments or other alternative methods that are not acknowledged by academic medicine.

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Posted: 07 June 2012 11:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I can’t watch the good doctor Oz for more than five minutes without wanting to run to the tool box to get the hammer and hit my head to get rid of the ensuing headache.

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