Oprah is gone.
Although she still has her magazine and her very OWN cable channel, so she’s not really gone. She’s more gone in the way you see a really rich kid a little less often because her family sold the mansion that was closest to your neighborhood. However, that rich kid still has two other mansions, they’re just across town. So you’re still going to bump into her now and then.
But for the purposes of this blog, we will say she is gone. And doctors everywhere are rejoicing. Why? Because Oprah is the Supreme Empress of medical woo, disseminating the greatest combination of medical mumbo jumbo and snake oil the world has ever seen.
Well, you might think, Oprah is entitled to her opinions. True. She is selling ratings, and apparently she knows that woo makes for better TV than, say evidence based medicine (a.k.a. the truth). I have no idea if her non-medical stuff is as far off base as a lot of her medicine; however, if you buy the wrong bra or Nate Berkus gets you to hang the wrong wall paper, no one is going to die.
So here are my top 4 medical reasons why I am not going to miss Oprah:
1) Talking about The Secret. That’s a nifty little book that says good stuff happens to you if you only believe that it will. I guess that means that everyone with cancer, well, you just didn’t wish enough to be healthy. The Secret is insulting. Yes, thinking positive does have an impact on health, but The Secret implies that if your life sucks or that you are sick, well, ultimately it’s all your fault for not wishing it all away. Apparently, if you have cancer or heart disease, well, you just didn’t wish hard enough to be well.
2) Giving anti-vaccine nut job Jenny McCarthy air time (two shows!), never mind that there is not one journal article to support McCarthy’s beliefs that vaccines cause autism. I guess the staff at Oprah’s show don’t bother with a little thing called fact checking. After McCarthy appeared on Oprah she was launched into the daily newspaper headlines and pediatricians everywhere still haven’t recovered. And measles, well, that’s on the rise. And pertussis.
3) Giving Suzanne Somers a platform to spout off about her bizarre bioindentical hormone obsession. Hormone replacement therapy has real risks, even more so for women like Somers who are breast cancer survivors. Somers is apparently far more of an expert than, say, a reproductive endocrinologist.
4) Promoting Dr. Christine Northrup. Northrup tells women not to get the HPV vaccine because in her opinion HPV isn’t the cause of cervical cancer, a weak immune system is the culprit! Never mind that Northrup hasn’t published one research article and that the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to the researcher who made the connection between HPV and cervical cancer. Another biologically implausible idea of Northrup’s is that dyspareunia is due to male circumcision. Yup. I have seen many partners of women with dyspareunia, wracked with guilt that they caused their partner’s condition.