If there’s someone you don’t want to listen to, it’s these doctors

By: Bel Marra health | General Health | Saturday, January 17, 2015 – 5:01 a.m.


Can you really trust TV doctors? How many millions of us in tune doctors on TV? The real-life drama gripping people struggling with health problems, new scientific discoveries, super and advanced medical information is explained in simple terms by serious MD.

Here they are, bigger than life on your screen plasma the living room, giving you advice, testing and experts in front of a live audience. These personalities are like your own personal health professional, all you have to do is get comfortable and sit with a snack or a drink. It is an attractive way to get all your news and health information form.

After all, these programs are much more interesting than reading a brochure health clinic on measures to be taken for pressing concern – and you never know how fascinating new information is revealed (after appropriate commercial break for cereal or cleaning supplies).

But is it real? Information is accurate? If you really believe what you are told by the TV doc? That is a good question.

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physicians television under the microscope

I admit I got hooked “doctor” Gillian McKeith, a Scottish nutritionist, author and former host of you are what you eat , for a good year. It turned out that his doctorate came from an American university not accredited, but certainly sounded as if she knew what she was talking about.

The program, which would analyze the stool of a person failing, pointing out the deficiencies. Then she renewal poor diet and put through his own regime juices and foods made from scratch so they could break your unhealthy habits, shed a few pounds and get his orderly life in eight weeks. If you are off the track, it would move home itself to adjust them.

all made sense to me, and she was sending a fibrous energy beam. Also, I love a good makeover. She got results! People felt and looked better, healthier and happier! Then critics of its methods and credentials took a toll and has faded from the spotlight.

Could the same true destination for some of our current favorite TV land?

Canadian researchers at the University of Alberta and University of British Columbia decided to make a formal study of popular television talk shows with medical professionals. The study was published in The BMJ in December and the results show that you need to remove the rose-colored glasses when it comes to television medicine.

Concern for the medical advice of TV

There is a reason why television programs popular medical interviews are often criticized by medical professionals. There are doubts about the quality, accuracy and completeness of medical information transmitted. This study is the first to adopt a systematic approach to find out why.

The researchers found that recommendations often lack information about specific benefits, the magnitude of the benefits and harms. In addition, you do not get all the information they need to make informed decisions.

a new treatment or prescription from your doctor without discussing the possible side effects or interactions with your current medication is attempted? No I would not. But we are here listening to well-meaning medical advice television and taking everything on blind faith.

Researchers set out to determine the type of recommendations and claims being made, and then evaluate the evidence behind them. no less than 40 episodes of 2013 of two major programs internationally syndicated to determine the consistency and credibility of the evidence reviewed.

Interestingly, the most common topic was general medical advice, like “make your children vaccinated,” likely to attract a wide audience. The second most frequent issue was not weight loss diet, such as immune-boosting diets with lots of citrus, nuts and seeds, and the consumption of vitamin E for brainpower advice.

Food as medicine is a good message, but …

This makes sense to me. TV shows want to grab as many people as possible, to the issues that attract a broad group is ideal. The shows focus on essential health issues, like how to eat, relax, exercise and sleep, and how to maintain a healthy heart.

People want medical advice, for free, from a credible source, and the bright lights of a TV can make someone look even more attractive and trustworthy. If they are so charming and funny as a comedian Ellen DeGeneres and, even better.

People are also looking for tips that can implement. Everyone needs to eat! So learn about food choices and how they can help or hurt your health is an accessible topic. People can make changes in your diet and eat less dinner Kraft and Coca-Cola.

The researchers found about half of the recommendations in these popular shows with the support of at least one test element. However, for about one in four of the recommendations could not find evidence -. Despite efforts to be fairly liberal in the type and amount of evidence that researchers need

So basically, one out of four recommendations was a kind of litter.

I am an advocate of healthy eating and exercise, so the real lifestyle changes and sticking with them for results and long-term health. Supplements are also a great addition to help with specific problems. But what about the miracle drink?

is the other content on these shows, not solidly rooted in the scientific literature, which becomes problematic: Talk of the “surprising breakthrough, radical or revolutionary” fix, as the drinks miracle, meal plans and ways to stop aging and fight fat, for example.

Perhaps these issues increase the audience. They are controversial, less traditional and less expected, pulling new viewers and stirring the pot!

An episode presented a report on the dangers of genetically modified foods (GMOs), saying they can damage your health and even cause cancer. Almost as soon as that report was published OGM abroad in France, he was discredited by many researchers on both sides of the Atlantic.

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TV is an important source of information on health

No no doubt that television is an important source of health information for the general public. But we can not have blind faith in these doctors TV. They are charlatans selling snake oil, but his advice can not always be balanced by the high-quality medical evidence or provide enough information to give you the whole story.

Perhaps more information will not fit in short time intervals between commercial breaks.

Even for doctors practicing regular, only about three-quarters of what is recommended in patients with supporting evidence, the researchers note. How can it be? New treatments and methods that come to the forefront can take years to become part of conventional medicine, tested and supported by numerous studies and overwhelming evidence in its entirety.

Your doctor may talk to you, to weigh the pros and cons. When a celebrity doctor is telling an audience of millions on treatments in sound fragments of well written, your doctor makes recommendations in context, with their own personal well-being in mind. They know their personal history and their concerns and tailor their treatment accordingly.

I do not say that these programs are bad for us. Anything that draws attention to our health can do much good. When Americans spend an average of more than five hours a day watching television, why not use some of that time to learn about our health?

For informed decision making, look beyond the TV remote

Watch the messages as a starting point to do some research and talk to your own provider healthcare . Similarly we are always criticizing the media for misrepresenting facts or report complaints from unnamed “sources”, we have to be skeptical about taking health recommendations of television programs and their implementation Us same.

As researchers warn: “. The public should be skeptical about the program recommendations of medical interviews”

physicians television, in my opinion, should be criticized and pay accounts. They have an area of ​​incredible influence on something as fundamental as our health. His message is broadcast to millions, researched and written by a team of TV people, and supported by large sums to the ad network. These doctors are paid exorbitant amounts for the doctor to turn in your living room.

Keep this in mind when settling comfortably in his chair to your next appointment.

Karen Hawthorne is editor in Health and eTalk BelMarraHealth.com. Karen has worked for the National Post, Postmedia News, CBC Radio Vancouver, the Edmonton Journal, the Register of Kitchener-Waterloo and the Cobourg Daily Star, reporting on health news and trends in lifestyle for more than 15 years .


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