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Dr. Michaels' Blog

Can We Trust TV Medical Advice?

According to the Nielsen’s Report The Dr Oz Show is consistently ranked in the top five talk shows in America with an average of 2.9 million viewers per day, while The Doctors has a high of 2.3 million viewers. In the 2012 Greatest 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.Can we trust the advice given on these shows? Last month The British Medical Journal published a study investigating just that question.

The authors of the study looked at 79 episodes of the The Dr Oz Show and 78 of The Doctors from January to May in 2013. They then collected all the recommendations made on these shows and compared them to published medical science. Their findings were disturbing.

They found that between one-third and half of the recommendations made on these TV shows had reasonable published evidence. That means that about half of the recommendations had no good evidence or had contradicted medical science.  How does this compare to what we get from our own physicians? Not well.

Evidence based medicine is major concern in health care. It turns out that about 78% of the care we get from our own doctors is based on published medical science. That’s about twice more reliable than TV.