Dr. Oz—millions of people tune in to his show every day. They look to him as a trusted source for health advice. But is that trust misplaced? A new study suggests that it is, finding that medical talk shows, specifically The Dr. Oz Show and The Doctors, lack evidence to support many of the health recommendations they make. Published in The BMJ, the study selected 40 episodes from each show and examined a random sample of 160 health recommendations (80 from each show). A team of experienced reviewers evaluated the evidence for the recommendations, taking into consideration, among other things, the quality, quantity, and type of evidence available. Here’s what the researchers discovered:
Evidence supported only 46% of the recommendations from The Dr. Oz Show. The evidence contradicted 15% of that show’s recommendations, and there was no evidence to support the remaining 39% of its recommendations.
Evidence supported only 63% of the recommendations from The Doctors. The evidence contradicted 14% of that show’s recommendations, and there was no evidence to support the remaining 24% of its recommendations.
The study did have a few limitations: at times it was difficult for the researchers to distinguish between direct and implied recommendations; the benefits attributed to a recommendation were often vague, making it difficult to search for evidence; and the process for evaluating evidence was, in the words of the researchers, “imperfect.” Nevertheless, as the first study to evaluate the health recommendations made on medical talk shows, its findings provide an important warning to consumers to view the advice from such shows with caution.
Source: The BMJ