Chicago Tribune: "The Trouble With Dr. Oz"

Frickly

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"Celebrity surgeons goal is to offer as much information as possible on health issues. But critics say that inclusive approach does the public a disservice."
http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-met-dr-oz-20100408,0,3288031.story

"It's important to get the science right because millions of CFS patients are listening," Racaniello wrote. "I get dozens of e-mails from them wanting to know how they can treat their XMRV infection, and it's not even proven to be the cause. Programs like this need to be much more measured and critical, and less sensationalistic. But measured and critical doesn't make a good TV show, I suppose."
 

Dreambirdie

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Dr Oz came through for us. He was very empathetic towards CFS, and willing to discuss XMRV on his show with Donnica Moore, when no one else in the popular media wasn't. Overall, I think he did an excellent job in that 15 minute segment.

The rest of the story on CFS from that article points more to Racaniello's skepticism than to Oz's sensationalism--whatever THAT means.

In December an episode focused on chronic fatigue syndrome, a mysterious ailment scientists know little about. The journal Science had recently published a study reporting on evidence of a retrovirus called XMRV in about two-thirds of patients diagnosed with the syndrome.

The show started with a dramatic introduction "Today on the Dr. Oz show: Could the secret to your exhaustion be a retrovirus?" and featured a discussion between Oz and Dr. Donnica Moore, a women's health specialist.

"For the first time, we can say with confidence: We know this is not all in your head, we know this is not depression, and we know you don't have a midlife energy crisis," Moore said. "What we do know is that this is a serious, potentially debilitating neuro-immune disease that has an infectious component."

That kind of certainty is rarely justifiable weeks after publication of a paper. Indeed, weeks after the episode aired, other research groups began reporting that they had failed to replicate the study's findings.

"It's premature to conclude that XMRV causes CFS," Columbia University virologist Vincent Racaniello wrote in an e-mail. "It is still very much up in the air."

Moore also told Oz's audience that the virus was not contagious by air but may be by blood, that 10 million people may be infected and that a $400 commercial blood test is available to detect XMRV.

But according to Racaniello and Columbia University retrovirus specialist Stephen Goff, almost nothing is known about how the virus is transmitted, how many people may be infected, how the virus affects people, where it came from or the usefulness of the test.

When contacted, Moore said some of her statements were edited out of the program.

"The positive impact far outweighs any nitpicking about whether we were successful in being able to convey every aspect of the story," said Moore, adding that she posted a lengthy discussion of the topic on Oz's site.

Wagner, the medical producer, said the show was legitimately reporting on news. There were no factual errors, she said. "I hope we are not splitting hairs," Wagner said.
 
Technically, Racaniello is right. The problem is how do you make complicated medical stuff into good TV? You simplify it and sensationalize it. If you watch the audience on the Oz CFS segment, they look horrified. Like Racaniello says - their heads spinning like Linda Blair in the Exorcist - lol.
 

Dreambirdie

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The problem is how do you make complicated medical stuff into good TV?
Unfortunately, you can't present complicated medical stuff to most American tv viewing audiences, because if you do, no one will watch it. Most people will not even bother trying to understand a medical problem that does not affect them personally... unless someone makes their heads spin.

So, technically, that means that Oz did a great job! :victory::Retro smile::Retro smile:
 
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I posted a comment on the Tribune Web site.

I said that Dr. Moore never said XMRV causes CFs. But she and Dr. Oz report the question has been raised and the reason why. That is accurate.

Her statement that we now know CFS is a neuroimmune disease that is debilitating and infectious could have been said five years ago and still be accurate. The evidence for this is from 20 years of published studies and reports clinicians made to the CDC.

As for how it is transmitted, it is premature to say it is not passed through the air. But the Science Journal article presented strong indications it is passed through the blood.

tina