Respectful Insolence

I almost feel sorry for “America’s Quack,” Dr. Mehmet Oz. Well, not really.

Remember last week when I took note of an upcoming Senate hearing, specifically a hearing on weight loss scams in front of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, which is chaired by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). At the time, I wasn’t pleased, because I assumed that the reason Dr. Oz had been invited to testify was in order to bring some star power to the proceedings and get some television coverage, given that the rest of the witnesses consisted of representatives from government regulatory agencies, from supplement manufacturers, and from Internet advertising agencies. (Talk about self-serving testimony and lies.) Actually, that’s what happened today after the hearing this morning, but not in the way I had predicted. In fact, as I learned a few hours after the hearing over at The Consumerist:

Missouri Senator Clair McCaskill, Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, went straight for Dr. Oz’s jugular in her opening remarks on this morning’s hearing about the false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products.

“When you feature a product on your show, it creates what has become known as ‘Oz Effect,’ dramatically boosting sales and driving scam artists to pop up overnight using false and deceptive ads to sell questionable products,” the Senator explained. “I’m concerned that you are melding medical advice, news and entertainment in a way that harms consumers.”

I couldn’t wait until I got home to see the actual video of Dr. Oz’s testimony, which has been posted on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation website and on C-Span:

Now, I’m not a politician, but I do follow politics, and if there’s one thing I know about Congressional hearings, it’s that they are very much like a Kabuki dance. It’s highly stylized and constrained, reminiscent of the Kabuki style of Japanese stage play. Indeed, there is even a term, Kabuki dance, that is used in politics to describe an event that is designed to create the appearance of conflict or of an uncertain outcome, when in fact the actors have worked together to determine the outcome beforehand. The question I have is what the original outcome was intended to be.

In fact, I rather suspect that Dr. Oz didn’t see this coming. Otherwise he likely wouldn’t have accepted the invitation to testify, which is why I also suspect that skeptics had a bit to do with this. For instance, “Dr. Joe” Schwarcz had some of his writings about Dr. Oz forwarded to McCaskill’s staff. In response to my post last week, I know several people (at least) forwarded some Orac-ian “insolence” to McCaskill and other Senators on the committee, as well as some writings from one of my favorite blogs (for obvious reasons) Science-Based Medicine. The reason I suspect that is because Sen. McCaskill used a term I’ve never heard used by a politician before: “science-based medicine.” Yes, she used the term “science-based medicine,” not the usual term used by most doctors and most people who know a little about medicine, “evidence-based medicine.”

My guess is that originally McCaskill wanted Oz primarily for his star power and didn’t plan on grilling him so harshly. But then the reaction and negative publicity Sen. McCaskill endured after announcing that Dr. Oz was going to testify at this hearing led her to change strategy. At least, I like to think that. Quite frankly, at this point, I don’t care that much what her original motivation or plan for the ending of her Kabuki dance was. I just like what the ending ultimately turned out to be, Dr. Oz squirming in front of several Senators and showing up on national TV doing just that. And, of course, every play needs a villain. They often say about such hearings that there has to be at least one villain and one hero. However, usually the hero ends up being either the chair of the committee or one of the committee, with seldom room for more. I bet that Dr. Oz thought he was going to be one of the heros. He found out otherwise, much to his dismay. Every hearing needs someone whom grandstanding politicians can lecture and berate for their offenses and thus use as an example of why a new law or policy is needed. Dr. Oz, being the 800 lb. gorilla in the room, had an enormous target painted on his chest, right from the start. Only he didn’t appear to realize it.

Part of the Kabuki dance of these hearings is that each witness gets to read a prepared statement. Oz’s statement was full of self-serving blather, about how he got to where he was and his commitment to fighting obesity and promoting health. Particularly telling is this passage:

To make the Dr. Oz Show succeed in its mission, we have to overcome certain obstacles I learned in years of conversations with patients. We have to simplify complicated information. We have to make the material seem interesting and focus on the “wow” factor.

All of which is true, as far as it goes. This becomes more important later in the hearing, particularly the bit about the “wow” factor. More revealing is this:

In 2012, we aired a show on a little known supplement called Green Coffee Extract. This is the supplement that is so prevalent in all the ads that are being exhibited today.

In this show I used the word “miracle” when referring to how green coffee could melt fat and I explored a new study on the supplement. I was enthusiastic that it could be a tool to assist people in losing weight and I knew the audience wanted and needed this information. After the show aired an explosion of ads and marketing followed along with criticism that our characterization went to far in describing green coffee. My way of dealing with it was to construct a second show and answer the criticism of our original segment. While we covered Green Coffee in the show, we devoted about half of the hour to me explaining to viewers that they are being duped by unscrupulous people who are illegally using my name in ads. The entire discussion of Green Coffee was prefaced with a warning to the viewer in the interest of protecting them.

Most importantly, in this show I spent an enormous portion of the broadcast demonstrating the false ads and how the various retail scams work – again trying to protect the viewer. I also reexplored green coffee this time using the audience to reveal their anecdotal experience after trying the supplement for two weeks. Some had lost weight, others had not. It seemed to help some people in their weight loss efforts. The internet lit up again, the illicit ads proliferated, and we faced additional criticism.

Yes, indeed. As I’ve pointed out time and time again, however, whenever I saw segments with Oz discussing supplement scams, his concern seemed to be far more focused on protecting his name from being used by supplement hawkers than it was on protecting his audience, culminating in an “investigative” report in which he burst in on nefarious supplement scammers using his name to sell Garcinia gambogia weight loss products like a cut rate Geraldo Rivera opening up Al Capone’s vault. It’s as though he thought he were Morley Safer and Dan Rather in the glory days of 60 Minutes showing up with a camera crew to confront a ne’er do well.

In fact, it was all of that that got Sen. McCaskill started. She started out by showing a clip of Dr. Oz promoting the virtues of green coffee bean extract and then listed some quotes from Dr. Oz during his shows:

  • (On green coffee extract) — “You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they found the magic weight-loss for every body type.”
  • (On raspberry ketone) — “I’ve got the number one miracle in a bottle to burn your fat” (raspberry ketone)
  • (On garcinia cambogia) — “It may be the simple solution you’ve been looking for to bust your body fat for good.”

In other words, typical Oz hyperbole, the likes of which we’ve seen dozens of times. Here’s a key part of the exchange between Sen. McCaskill and Dr. Oz:

Just look at Oz’s reaction to the first barrage, in which McCaskill, who was once a prosecutor, shows those old skills as a prosecutor and berates Oz, basically calling him a liar to his face:

I don’t get why you need to say this stuff because you know it’s not true. Why, when you have this amazing megaphone, and this amazing ability to communicate, why would you cheapen your show by saying things like that?

It is a thing of beauty:

Ozgrilled

Oz’s response is, for once, not particularly slick, at least in the beginning. He was clearly taken off guard, and let his body language show it. After all, it’s not every day someone is called a liar to his face on national TV by a Senator. And, make no mistake, that’s exactly what Sen. McCaskill did: Called him a liar. (What else does it mean to accuse someone of saying things he knows to be untrue? By definition, that’s lying.) Dr. Oz starts out by disagreeing that green coffee beans don’t work and trying to cites multiple studies, but McCaskill had done her homework, even pointing out that the study he relied on was small and funded by the company. He then retreats into a highly disingenuous false equivalence by saying that many of the things we recommend with respect to diet are controversial and blathering about how medicine advances by embracing new ideas and challenging old ideas. It’s a huge load of fetid dingo’s kidneys, of course, because the controversies over these sorts of issues tend to be based in far better evidence on both sides than the evidence Oz has used to defend his green coffee bean extract show. Unwittingly, he basically admitted that the “clinical trial” he himself did with green coffee bean extract wasn’t a real clinical trial and admitted that it wasn’t done under “appropriate IRB guidance.”

In other words, Dr. Oz just admitted that he had performed human subjects research without proper ethical approval, as I accused him of lo these many months ago! Thanks, Dr. Oz!

He also points out that he has done shows on the power of prayer and was criticized for it, arguing that he does, contrary to McCaskill’s intimations, believe in the things he features on his show and says his show is all about “hope”:

Oz took great issue with the Senator’s assertion that he doesn’t believe in the treatments he endorses.

“I don’t think this ought to be a referendum on the use of alternative medical therapies,” said the doctor. “I’ve been criticized for having people coming on my show to talk about the power of prayer. As a practitioner, I can’t prove that prayer helps people survive an illness.”

Countered McCaskill, “It’s hard to buy prayer… prayer’s free.”

“I do personally believe in the items that I talk about on the show,” responded Dr. Oz, who acknowledged that statements he’s made in the past have encouraged scam artists and others looking to make a quick buck on people looking for an easy way to lose weight.

And so it went. Oz tried to defend himself. He admits that he uses flowery and over-the-top language to express his enthusiasm for the products he discusses on his show and regards himself as a cheerleader for weight loss and health, although he was forced to admit that none of his recommendations besides diet and exercise have actually been proven to work. He also kept saying that those shows that McCaskill was harping on were two years old and that he “doesn’t use that kind of language any more,” having become a lot more conservative. (Actually, one of them was less than a year and a half old, but let’s not quibble too much.) McCaskill, wily old prosecutor that she onces was, had done her homework, however. She called Dr. Oz out on his lies—and, yes, I do believe that Dr. Oz was lying—by listing examples of language just as “flowery” from a mere three weeks ago and a couple of months ago. Indeed, I went over Oz’s website earlier today and I found many such examples in just the last few months, more than I could list (for example, his show about forskolin).

Oz also kept repeating that he himself doesn’t sell any supplements. That is obviously true, but so what? As I’ve pointed out, he’s had many, many people on his show who do sell supplements, worst among them Joe Mercola and Mike Adams. It’s as though Oz lends his name to certain “approved” supplement sellers. Indeed, Oz went straight into one of the more nonsensical defenses I’ve ever seen, in which he claimed that he did his audience a disservice by not giving his audience a list of “reputable” companies that sell the products he’s featured on his show. Yeah, right. He doesn’t admit that the products he’s been pushing don’t work for weight loss, and the worst things he can find to “confess” about are using too much flowery language and not doing right by his viewers by telling them where to buy these products. Anyone wonder whether Dr. Oz will soon be coming out with a list of “Oz-approved” companies and products? I don’t. He will. He even basically said as much. Never mind that there is no supplement that has been demonstrated to result in reliable long term weight loss.

McCaskill saw right through that as well:

I know you feel that you’re a victim, but sometimes conduct invites being a victim. I think that if you would be more careful, maybe you wouldn’t be victimized quite as frequently.

Or, as I put it, if you promote “miracle weight loss” supplements on your show, like Garcinia gambogia, why are you surprised that companies making Garcinia gambogia think you recommend it and want to take advantage of your recommendation for marketing purposes?

At the end of the Kabuki play, McCaskill gave Oz the required chance at redemption, saying:

We didn’t call this hearing to beat up on you but we did call this hearing to talk about a real crisis in consumer protection, and you can be part of the problem or you can be part of the police.

At this point, the Great and Powerful Dr. Oz, chastened and chastized, promised to be a good boy from now on and promised that he wanted to be part of the police. After all, there must be a repentance at the end of these proceedings, and Oz delivered. In addition to telling his audience what supplements meet his exacting standards, use less “flowery” language in the future. We’ll see. If he does that, though, his show’s ratings are going to tank, and I bet he knows that. It’s also why I bet that Dr. Oz will clean up his act for a little while—but just a little while. Meanwhile, right on queue, Mike Adams amps up the crazy, accusing Sen. McCaskill in a gut-bustingly funny post of “unleashing an Orwellian thought crimes attack on Doctor Oz for trying to help Americans overcome obesity.” I leave the deconstruction of his rant as an exercise for my readers. (Why should I have all the fun?)

In the meantime, it looks to me as though a bit of skeptical activism had an effect, although I can’t prove it. I hope it did. This is the sort of thing that can make a difference.

ADDENDUM: Apparently Dr. Oz really was blindsided:

A production source close to the 54-year-old cardiologist — full name Mehmet Oz — said he was perplexed.

“We were invited down to Washington to testify at a hearing about scams and instead it became all about how much we hate your show,” the source told the Daily News.

Comments

  1. #1 Lucy
    June 18, 2014

    Love it

  2. #2 Mark Crislip
    June 18, 2014

    At one time he did have approved products although he did not sell them. I blogged about it in 2011,

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/a-seal-of-approval/

    The Live Better Newsletter still has:

    Oz-Approved: Health, Diet and Beauty Essentials!
    Dr. Oz gives his official seal of approval for the remedies, treatments and foods he’s most passionate about. From alternative health care to better beauty, they’ve improved the Oz family’s life and can do the same for you, too. Tune in today!

    Get the complete Oz-approved list! at

    http://www.doctoroz.com/newsletter/live-better-newsletter-november-4-2011

    but it leads to

    Access denied
    You are not authorized to access this page.

    So he took it down. sort of.

    It is not in the way back machine

  3. #3 Scote
    June 18, 2014

    Unexpected and wonderful. And nothing tops it off quite like an Oracian take down commentary. I’ve been waiting all day for that cherry on top of Dr. Oz’ testimony.

  4. #4 Casual Observer
    June 18, 2014

    You know, I’m not so sure that McCaskill didn’t know exactly what she was doing from the start. This is the woman who hand-selected Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin to be her opponent in her last senate race. She seriously bought ads to promote what a hardcore conservative he is to get him through the primary, and then just sat back and let him ruin himself with his own words.

    I can EASILY believe that this was a set-up from a start. Invite him, put out the glowing press release, and let his own ego walk him straight into a trap. She would know that he’s enormously popular and that grilling him would guarantee her headlines for the issue she’s trying to promote.

    What I’m trying to say is that I kind of love Claire McCaskill.

  5. #5 Frosty
    June 18, 2014

    Kudos to Senator McCaskill for keeping her foot on Dr. Oz’s throat. She has a reputation of doggedly going after government programs and other initiatives that she feels strongly about. Perhaps she is a born-again crusader against fake science.

  6. #6 AC
    June 18, 2014

    I cannot handle that Mike Adams guy.

  7. #7 Rogue Medic
    http://roguemedic.com/
    June 18, 2014

    It was a very pleasant surprise to see someone in Congress who understands that the frauds are taking advantage of the vulnerable.

    The victims are not the ‘Great and Powerful Ozs,’ but the people who are duped into buying these supplements that are not as safe as drugs, not as effective as drugs, but are as expensive as drugs.

    We do need to take the same approach to ‘conventional’ medicine.

    There are too many treatments that are the inverse of science-based. They have biological plausibility, but have not been demonstrated to improve outcomes that matter, yet they are FDA approved.

    .

  8. #8 AngryScience
    Germany, land of the homeoquacks
    June 18, 2014

    That naturalnews article made me physically sick. Like, I couldn’t read more than a few paragraphs before I felt like throwing up. And that jab at the top abot McCaskill’s weight – way to stay classy, Mike. Way to stay classy.

  9. #9 lsm
    June 18, 2014

    Oh Mikey.

    This is from one of his *real educated* commenters:

    TOM WHITMIRE for CONGRESS • 6 hours ago

    It Is issues like this that have led me to Run for Congress in MI’s 5th District. The real educated people of this country need a voice in DC and I plan to be heard. That you (sic) natural news for inspiring me to RUN for CONGRESS! NUTRITION, HEALTH, EDUCATION & AGRICULTURE are my main platforms. Thank you for your support!

  10. #10 Maureen Chuck
    Australia
    June 18, 2014

    Wow – science based medicine! Is that really a thing?

  11. #11 lsm
    June 18, 2014

    Regarding the hearing, it was a pleasure to see Oz squirm, in payment for all of the squirming he has caused me when I see his miracle magic pills plastered on magazines in the checkout aisle.

  12. #12 Lawrence
    June 18, 2014

    And I can speak from some experience that the FTC is underfunded and understaffed to go after all of these guys (or even more than a very small fraction)….it really is an uphill battle, especially when morons like Dr. Oz create this atmosphere that these types of things are “okey-dokey.”

    Good takedown by the Senator….

  13. #13 Chris
    June 18, 2014

    Epic win.

  14. #14 Kathy
    June 18, 2014

    I’ve never read anything from Natural News before … is this their usual standard of reporting? Just for starters, even before I opened the article, I’m confronted with a really nasty photo of the Senator, overweight, scruffy-haired and snarling, next to a photo of Dr Oz, clean-cut, well-groomed and with a hurt expression on his face. The article starts and continues for some way with an attack on Big Pharma (what’s new?) and it ends with a lengthy hagiography of the cruelly-persecuted Saint Mehmet..

  15. #15 Anj
    off topic
    June 18, 2014

    Googling across the internet, I found this article on low vaccination rates in Arizona. Specifically which schools report vaccination rates that put them below the herd immunity threshold.

    Considering the rash of outbreaks we’ve seen this year, Arizona could be the location of the next one.

    http://azstarnet.com/news/science/health-med-fit/kids-skipping-shots-increases-threat-of-dangerous-outbreak/article_a9d00658-3365-5ba6-9cd8-0ea5e70d8d2b.html

  16. #16 AngryScience
    June 18, 2014

    Kathy, that’s pretty much NaturalNews’s MO. Mike’s arguments are transparently awful to anyone with a basic understanding of how cranks work, but alas, that doesn’t include everyone.

  17. #17 Beana
    June 18, 2014

    If only the government would do this stuff, all day, every day . . .

  18. #18 Mike
    June 18, 2014

    I saw a clip of that on the NBC nighlty news last night. My wife is a pharmacist and gets lots of questions from Oz viewers who want to purchase some questionable product they saw on his show. They get mad at my wife when she tells them that based on her professional understanding, the products don’t work like Oz claims. She was clapping by the time the news segment ended.

  19. #19 Chris Hickie
    June 18, 2014

    Senator McCaskill has the power to call for testimony and shame publicly, exerted to its fullest yesterday. Now if only state medical boards would exercise their power to sanction MDs who are clearly not practicing within the limitations of their licenses (well, I can dream, can’t I?).

  20. #20 Lurker
    June 18, 2014

    Ha!, just splendid! I saw this in the news elsewhere and figured Orac would swing into action against the Woozard of Oz.

    AngryScience @ 8: Nothing like a good ‘puke challenge’ to get me to go read an article! And lo & behold:

    The opener, a ‘satire parody’ [sic] where Mikey has Senator McCaskill saying ‘promoting green coffee beans for weight loss is unacceeptable,’ and Oz replying ‘is that because you want them all for yourself?’ actually got a chuckle out of me. It’s at least slightly funny in the genre of partisan sniping.

    Mikey’s claim that 750,000 doses of Gardasil were recalled due to having ‘tiny shards of glass’ in them should be actionable as libel.

    He says ‘green coffee bean extract, [is] a supplement that really does help support sensible weight loss efforts.’ Does this stuff have caffeine in it, by any chance? Any other stimulants? In which case it’s an ‘all natural’ analogue of old-fashioned diet pills that contained amphetamines. But even Mikey knows enough to say ‘support’ weight loss, as in, blowing your nose also ‘supports’ weight loss if you have to run up and down stairs to get some bog paper for tooting your hooter.

    Apparently Mikey didn’t just ‘appear’ on Oz’ show, he ‘experienced the honour’ of appearing there. YES, You Too can Experience the Honour, and Prove to Yourself that the Placebo Effect Really Works (excess capitalisation intended).

    ‘He simply wants to share the Good News with his fellow Americans…’ Oh hurrah!, another telly-evangelist, preaching the bloody Good News! I thought we’d all had enough of those nowadays. ‘Are you saved?’ ‘No, I’m wasted, here have a puff of this…’ Right!

    ‘Not only is it a crime in America to sell fresh cow’s milk…’ No it is _not_ a crime to sell ‘fresh’ milk, it’s a crime to sell _un-Pasteurised_ milk, because it can make you sick six ways from hell.

    Lastly, anyone who writes an ‘about the author’ six-paragraph hagiography about himself, is clearly a narcissist of first order.

  21. #21 Dangerous Bacon
    June 18, 2014

    Let’s see – according to Natural News, Sen. McCaskill unleashed an “Orwellian thought crimes attack” on poor Dr. Oz over his endorsement of unproven weight loss products.

    This is the same Natural News that delivered a venomous attack on Oz as a “pharma shill” for belatedly endorsing vaccination:

    http://www.naturalnews.com/036111_Dr_Oz_vaccines_children.html

    Now I’m confused. Just what is a thought crime, anyway?

  22. #22 Chris Hickie
    June 18, 2014

    @ Anj #15– Arizona already *is* having these outbreaks. For 2013 there were ~ 1300 cases of pertussis (http://www.evernote.com/shard/s15/sh/c4bdb8ce-0a94-4034-9f1b-8d17cc1ec469/2927d80d20582904292c7326835595d5 ) with current tracking for about 800 cases this year (however, it is summer and about half of AZ goes to CA beaches rather than melt in 110 degree heat, so I expect counts to increase in AZ as some of AZ’s unvaccinated bring pertussis back from vacation.

    Also (as I live and practice pediatrics in AZ) worth noting is that at least the law in California requires all schools to track and publicly publish vaccination rates–so a parent in California can make sure their child isn’t going to a school with only a 50% vaccination rate. For the last several years, attempts to get such a law passed in Arizona have failed in the state legislature. Here, parents are facing a crapshoot when it come to knowing whether their kid’s school has herd immunity or not. I was practicing there last year when the outbreak hit (http://www.evernote.com/shard/s15/sh/c4bdb8ce-0a94-4034-9f1b-8d17cc1ec469/2927d80d20582904292c7326835595d5) and there was clustering of cases at 2 schools that clearly had below-herd-immunity level vaccination rates. What was deeply frustrating was that the parents who do vaccinate had no way of knowing that their child attended such a school until news of the outbreak was released to parents at that school–as the school district was under no compunction to disclose such information. Caring for children who are especially vulnerable to vaccine-preventable diseases (those who’ve had chemotherapy, those with organ transplants and those with immune deficiencies), I think it is criminal that parents cannot know if their vulnerable child is walking into a death trap.

  23. #23 Chris Hickie
    June 18, 2014

    @ Anj #15 – current pertussis tracking at about 800 cases for the whole year based on http://www.azdhs.gov/phs/oids/pdf/weekly.pdf. It is odd (which is why I had to link to the 2013 end of year data from the file I had downloaded myself from AZDHS) that AZDHS has still not finalized 2013 infectious disease reporting.

  24. #24 Darwy
    Røde grøde...you know the drill
    June 18, 2014

    I have to admit; when seeing the footage I giggled like a schoolgirl.

  25. #25 OneOther
    June 18, 2014

    I thought it was a bit comical how Oz kept retreating to and arguing that he uses “flowery language” to describe his own descriptions of these supplements. To my ear (coming from a law background) it sounded as though he was referring to “puffery” – basically a term for a sales pitch so outrageous that no reasonable person would believe it to be literally true. So does Oz believe that what he is saying is puffery and that his audience should be smart enough to realize that these claims cannot possibly be fulfilled? But to do that, wouldn’t he basically have to admit that he is effectively no longer a physician, but merely a salesman?

  26. #26 Eric Lund
    June 18, 2014

    Now I’m confused. Just what is a thought crime, anyway?

    Mike Adams is one of several woo-pushers whom I suspect know as much as they do about 1984 because they have been using it as an operations manual. We are allied with Eurasia and at war with Eastasia, and have always been allied with Eurasia and at war with Eastasia, notwithstanding your (obviously false, as of this week) memories that just last week we were allied with Eastasia and at war with Eurasia. Likewise, Mike has always been a friend of those who push the right kind of dietary supplements (e.g., Dr. Oz) and a enemy of those who support vaccination of kids (e.g., Dr. Oz). This week, Mike calls Dr. Oz a hero for holding his views on dietary supplements in front of a hostile Senate committee. Are you going to believe Mike, or your lying eyes?

  27. #27 Denice Walter
    June 18, 2014

    @ Lurker:

    If you enjoyed his “6 paragraph hagiography” please read his bio/ history @ healthranger.com. It’s longer. And funnier.

    I was raised in the belief that one shouldn’t ever ‘ toot one’s own horn’, i.e. if you are indeed brilliant, excellent, well-versed, accomplished, superlative etc
    let OTHERS take notice and comment.

    But perhaps that tells us something about people who DO write ( or videotape) long, self-serving bios:
    - they’re trying to market their personae as well as products
    - they may be trying to make up for their apparent lack of real credentials by inventing accolades and awards
    - they may not have the skills that inform them doing so is rather gauche, obvious and un-cool
    - they may be aiming at an audience who doesn’t have the skills to label braggadocio as advertising, i.e. clueless

    Because I hear audience feedback from another woo-meister, I am (almost) surprised that fans fall for his over-padded bio, false accomplishments and self-deifying con artistry:
    they thank him for “all he does”
    they ask advice about family members with serious conditions BEYOND what doctors have advised or prescribed
    and they continue the exultation and praise he began.

    While I support sceptics leading readers to scientific articles on research and theory, as well as more formal study, I think that there is a ground of common sense about the the world and other people to which we can appeal first.
    Reading and studying take effort and time that many may lack or not want to invest at first.

    BUT if we can engage them by showing them the _apparent_ we up our chances of getting through to them.

    That’s why I try to question :
    How likely is it that ONE person can be expert in several un-realted fields ( health, economics, politics) when most professionals need to specialise in ONE part of ONE area?

  28. #28 Denice Walter
    June 18, 2014

    Oh, that’s UN-RELATED.

    -btw- the look on Oz’s face is precious!

  29. #29 Sian Williams
    June 18, 2014

    Good for Senator McCaskill, whatever her initial strategy was, the end result was amazing.

    As for Mikey, does he understand that making a claim that a product does something when all available says it doesn’t isn’t a thought crime, it’s fraud? Then again, he seems to think the manufacturerers of Vioxx, Baycol, and Serzone never appeared before any government body to explain their decisions. This despite referencing Merck’s hearing in an article from 2004:http://www.naturalnews.com/002534.html. So, how deep is the memory hole Mikey? Who are we at war with this week?

  30. #30 Andrey Pavlov
    June 18, 2014

    I noticed the reference to “science based medicine” as well. I agree that it is not proof of anything, but it sure is suspicious(ly awesome).

    Yesterday I “liked” her facebook page, sent her an FB message of congratulations, put her clip on my FB page with congratulations, and tweeted both her and my (very few) followers with solid praise.

    I think it is very important to vigorously praise our politicians when they do the right thing and heartily throw our support behind them while spreading the word. I can only hope that this sort of thing will snowball into the the death knell of Dr. Oz .

  31. #31 Helianthus
    June 18, 2014

    @ Denice

    How likely is it that ONE person can be expert in several un-related fields ( health, economics, politics) when most professionals need to specialise in ONE part of ONE area?

    Careful, here, polymaths do exist. Look in the linked article, “Real Life” section, for a few examples of these Renaissance men, modern examples included.
    For the American reader, I will just drop the names of Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt.

    However, you are right pointing out that due to the massive amount of knowledge to acquire, excelling in more than one field today is difficult.

    You would also be right pointing out that most, if not all of these multiple-fields experts were sought after by political leaders and by mainstream scientists. In other words, recognized for their value by other experts.
    Something which is not happening to Mike Adams.

  32. #32 Helianthus
    June 18, 2014

    @ Denice #27

    How likely is it that ONE person can be expert in several un-related fields ( health, economics, politics) when most professionals need to specialise in ONE part of ONE area?

    Careful, here, polymaths do exist. Look in the linked article, “Real Life” section, for a few examples of these Renaissance men, modern examples included.
    For the American reader, I will just drop the names of Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt.

    However, you are right pointing out that due to the massive amount of knowledge to acquire, excelling in more than one field today is very unlikely.

    You would also be right pointing out that most, if not all of these multiple-fields experts were sought after by political leaders and by mainstream scientists. In other words, recognized for their value by other experts.
    Something which is not happening to Mike Adams.

  33. #33 Helianthus
    June 18, 2014

    Apologies for the double post.

  34. #34 Denice Walter
    June 18, 2014

    @ Helianthus:

    Of course.
    HOWEVER these guys aren’t even accomplished in ONE area. They need to pad the paucity: Mike and Gary have only two standard degrees between them ( a four year one in an unspeciified science at an unspecific locale and a two year business one in West Verginia, respectively).

    Whilst I really shouldn’t admit it, I studied across more than one area myself and have relevant degrees which don’t emanate from distance learning programmes or alternative universities. I won’t bore you with the details.

    And it’s no big deal- I’d guess that it’s not at all uncommon @ RI ( you know who you are). If education is more than window dressing, it usually makes itself known.

    That woo-based window dressing requires constant maintainence because the real deal isn’t there. They have to keep reminding their audiences of how brilliant they are.

    And degrees aren’t entirely the thing either but they do give us a bit of a standard measure of *external* evaluatiion. It’s taken for granted that most experts in a field have at least a graduate level education. The poseurs need to cover-up that simple fact: they don’t have it; they didn’t do it; they weren’t accepted and they need to claim substitute qualiifications to make up for this lack.

    The self-aggrandisement seen here is probably a inherent facet of personality as well as advertising copy.

  35. #35 Denice Walter
    June 18, 2014

    AN inherent. facet.

  36. #36 Eric Lund
    June 18, 2014

    a four year [degree] in an unspeciified science at an unspecific locale

    I’m getting a whiff of the other kind of B.S. here.

  37. #37 lilady
    June 18, 2014

    Poor Dr. Oz. The video of his testimony in Congress has been picked up by every mainstream media outlet and the only one who is defending him is Mike Adams.

    Senator McCaskill really stuck it to him about that Indian study for a weight loss product with 16 participants, paid for by the manufacturer. His smarmy veneer collapses as McCaskill repeatedly questions him about his extraordinary claims for these crappy supplements.

    The bottom line is that Dr. Oz traded his reputation as a competent cardiac surgeon to become just another media whore snake oil salesman.

  38. #38 Michelle
    St. Louis
    June 18, 2014

    @Casual Observer–

    Yeah, Sen. McCaskill is a breath of fresh air in the fetid cesspool that is Missouri politics. Our state legislature is really a piece of work: banning Sharia law, nullifying federal gun laws, attacking science. It’s really depressing. Kansas is worse, but just barely. It really sucks sometimes being a blue person in a very red state.

  39. #39 Chris Hickie
    June 18, 2014

    The bottom line is that Dr. Oz traded his reputation as a competent cardiac surgeon to become just another media whore snake oil salesman.

    Do we know he was a good surgeon?

  40. #40 madder
    June 18, 2014

    Is it worth writing to Columbia’s IRB to point out that he conducted an unauthorized trial? How about to the FDA, since he conducted a trial intended to support marketing for the product?

  41. #41 Orac
    June 18, 2014

    Do we know he was a good surgeon?

    Yes, we do. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s he was considered one of the best.

  42. #42 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 18, 2014

    @madder

    How about to the FDA, since he conducted a trial intended to support marketing for the product?

    Ah, but is it marketing or entertainment? Did he conduct it so he could sell it for that use?

    I doubt that the FDA angle would work. Going to Columbia’s IRB or even to OHRP might. Does the Federal Rule apply?

  43. #43 Orac
    June 18, 2014

    I would argue that it does. Columbia University receives federal funding, and Dr. Oz is faculty at Columbia University. Consequently, the Common Rule should apply. Whether Dr. Oz could weasel out of it would depend on how strict the Columbia faculty code of conduct and ethics is.

  44. #44 Denice Walter
    June 18, 2014

    We get the impression that altho’ he IS rather affluent ( see ‘Dr Oz’s house in Cliffside Park/ Celebrity House Gossip) he ISN’T down the road hanging out with Beyonce and JZ.

  45. #45 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 18, 2014

    @Orac

    Well, I guess I was wondering more, did he conduct the trial using Columbia’s resources or as an employee of the university? If he conducted it outside of employment hours, off-campus as a private individual, then the Federal Rule wouldn’t apply and the IRB would have little it could do to sanction him.

    But, if he used any materials or space from Columbia’s supply, I think it could probably be argued that that is enough to involve the university, so the Federal Rule would apply, and all of the IRB review regulations would come into play.

  46. #46 Orac
    June 18, 2014

    It’s not entirely clear. A certain “friend” of mine quoted the Columbia University Human Research Protection policy, which states that it doesn’t matter where a Columbia faculty member carries out human subjects research. The policy still applies, and the research is subject to a Columbia IRB:

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-great-and-powerful-oz-versus-science-and-research-ethics/

    At the very least, Oz arguably violated Columbia human research subjects protection policies.

  47. #47 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 18, 2014

    @Orac

    Ah, your friend is correct. Even if he doesn’t fall under OHRP jurisdiction, he clearly is covered under Columbia’s IRB regulations. Has anyone contact Columbia’s Human Research Protection Program regarding his antics?

  48. #48 Denice Walter
    June 18, 2014

    Uh oh. Mikey will not be pleased if Orac says that about his new bestie.
    It may mean an investgative report by Natural News: ‘Who is Orac?’

  49. #49 lsm
    June 18, 2014

    Regarding Mikey: it’s curious how he throws all his ire at Senator McCaskill’s treatment of Dr. Oz while completely ignoring the other panel members, including the representatives from the FTC, Council for Responsible Nutrition, and the Natural Products Association. One wonders if Mike watched the whole thing.

    Regarding the hearing: if there really any teeth in it? What’s to prevent Dr. Oz from making a show of complying, and then going right back to his old ways?

  50. #50 Eric Lund
    June 18, 2014

    lsm@49: Do you mean the other Senators, or the other witnesses? The news reports I have seen only mention McCaskill’s questioning, but I also have not watched the video of the full hearing. The people you list would be witnesses before the committee.

    As for your other question: The hearing by itself doesn’t mean anything, but since Dr. Oz was not testifying under a grant of immunity, other federal agencies (as well as Columbia’s medical school, per the comments of Orac’s friend) could use it as evidence in any actions they take against him. If, of course, they choose to take action.

  51. #51 Michelle
    St. Louis
    June 18, 2014

    I love Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. The money quote in her article today on the not-so-great Dr. Oz:

    “If you search on his site for the word “miracle,” you will get 1,890 results, which is considerably more than you’ll find in the entire bible and 1980 US Olympic hockey team combined.”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/06/18/dr_ozs_bad_medicine/

  52. #52 Chris,
    June 18, 2014

    The picture in the Salon article makes Oz look like a deer caught in headlights.

  53. #53 Kiiri
    June 18, 2014

    Dr. Chris, having just left public health in AZ for public health in NC I can tell you that ADHS is underfunded and chronically understaffed suffering from high turnover. I am not at all surprised they have not finalized last years data. It routinely takes them until July to get the final dataset out. Which plays merry hell with everyone else’s report writing, as the final state numbers are used by all the counties. So much fun. AZ is ripe for an outbreak as are many areas in the US. There are a lot of charter schools in AZ and those tend to have much lower vaccination rates than public schools. Add in the shifting population and an international border and it’s a matter of when not if.

  54. #54 James Fell
    Calgary
    June 18, 2014

    Orac:

    You should admit that you screwed up and misunderstood her intentions. I almost let her have it as well, but then went back and reread the release on her site, and my gut was telling me that it was going to go exactly the way it did, because of the careful wording of the release. You jumped the gun and practiced very poor journalism, and now you’re trying to take credit for her lambasting him, saying it put pressure on her? Give me a break. I didn’t see her amazing performance as something pulled out of a posterior orifice at the last minute because people assumed the worst of her. That kind of grilling seems like it has been planned for a while.

    Usually you do good work, but this time, your arrogance is showing. You owe Senator McCaskill an apology and should do a full mea culpa for accusing her of having “fried” the irony meter. You leapt to an improper conclusion based on an assumption.

    And I called you out for it here: http://ca.askmen.com/news/sports/dr-oz-weight-loss-scams.html

    You’re welcome.

    James Fell

  55. #55 Dangerous Bacon
    June 18, 2014

    Something odd (in addition to everything else that’s odd) about NaturalNews – instances of phony quotes and headlines that are labeled (rather inconspicuously) as “satire”.

    In addition to a fake quote in the McCaskill hearing story attributed to Dr. Oz, there’s a current NN story about the Washington Redskins’ denial of trademark protection, using a headline proclaiming that 20 U.S. states are being required by the federal government to change their names (only in the body of the story is the word “satire” mentioned).

    Maybe we should start doing the same thing in reference to NaturalNews. For instance, NN has just posted stories* with the following headlines:

    “Mike Adams’ Lab Is Cited For Numerous Health And Safety Violations”
    “Natural News Store Shut Down Due to Heavy Metal Contamination of All of Its Supplements”
    “Vaccines Proven To Prevent Disease, Save Lives”
    “Mainstream Medicine Was Right All Along About Quackery, Admits Shamefaced Mike Adams”
    “Natural News Subscribers Found To Have Extremely High Rates Of Mental Illness”

    *satire

  56. #56 Denice Walter
    June 18, 2014

    @ Dangerous Bacon:

    Mikey is calling out the senator’s “hidden”** COIs-
    it appears that she received contributions from a pharma retail company and ((shudder)) Monsanto!

    Therefore she is mere;y trying to damage Oz’s- the competition’s- credibility.

    ** so hidden that they’re public

  57. #57 JTa
    June 18, 2014

    @James Fell
    Wow, dude, reeeeaaally needed to get that dig in, didn’t you?

  58. #58 anthrosciguy
    June 18, 2014

    Oz: “I thought it was going to be a hearing about scams — OTHER PEOPLE’S scams.”

  59. #59 Mark Crislip
    June 19, 2014

    Yes, we do. Back in the 1990s and early 2000s he was considered one of the best.

    I have looked for and cannot find any metric that suggests Oz is any better than any other surgeon; mortality rates, infection rates, length of stay, re-op rates are not published anywhere I can find. 30 years of infection control and quality have made me skeptical of surgical reputations;

  60. #60 Narad
    June 19, 2014

    And I called you out for it here

    Well, so long as its enshrined at… “Ask Men,” I guess that takes care of that.

  61. #61 TBruce
    June 19, 2014

    @James Fell:

    Aren’t you clever? And now, don’t we know it?

  62. #62 Rick
    June 19, 2014

    Actually, I do see his recommended list in the wayback machine aka archive.org. Here’s a snapshot from April 2012 of it:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20120419051837/http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/oz-approved-health-diet-and-beauty-essentials?

  63. #63 palindrom
    June 19, 2014

    @ James Fell — You shall be our new god!

  64. #64 Francis Fish
    UK
    June 19, 2014

    Managed to resist the temptation to call Mike Adams for being a snake oil salesman. He might be sincere, but that doesn’t change anything, does it?

  65. #65 James Fell
    Calgary
    June 19, 2014

    @TBruce

    That just happened to be the vehicle which I used, a place I’ve had a column for over 3 years. I chose them for this piece because timing was important I knew they could get it posted immediately, and they let me write precisely what I want with zero agenda. They never change my message and I have an amazing editor.

    If you bothered to Google me you’d learn that I have a syndicated column with the Chicago Tribune that runs in dozens of respected newspapers as well as another column for TIME Magazine. Not only that, but Michael Shermer endorsed my book published by Random House.

    But no, all you can see is “AskMen,” and you leapt to an erroneous conclusion the same way that Orac did, blasting away without actually understanding the full story. If Orac wants us to trust him, he needs to be more careful. He’s not doing medical and health skepticism any favours by making the assumptions that he did, and the way to recover from such a thing is to apologize and promise to do better in the future, not be arrogant and act like it was all because of his writing that put McCaskill on this path in the first place.

    We should all be holding people like Orac to an exceptionally high standard, not acting like a bunch of starstruck fan boys.

  66. #66 James Fell
    June 19, 2014

    Oops. The above comment was actually primarily targeted towards @Narad. I made a mistake by commenting too quickly, and now I’m going to apologize for having done so.

    See how that works?

  67. #67 lilady
    June 19, 2014

    @ James Fell: Did you actually read this post by Orac and his prior post and actually read the comments? I doubt it.

    If you had read the comments, you would find that a number of people actually contacted Senator McCaskill and provided her with information directly from Respectful Insolence and from the Science Based Medicine bloggers about the products Dr. Oz has promoted on his show. Apparently, those communications had an effect on Senator McCaskill, because she definitely used the material during her opening statement and during her dialogue with Dr. Oz. Do you think her use of the phrase “Science Based Medicine” is her own neologism?

    I’ve read some of your columns about fitness; there is nothing objectionable in them. There is also nothing of substance which could have been sent to Senator McCaskill for her to use in her opening statement or during her questioning of Dr. Oz.

    You’re welcome.

  68. #68 Orac
    June 19, 2014

    One notes that I also acknowledged that it’s quite possible McCaskill had intended this result all along, which is why I said I don’t much care whether this is the original ending planned for the Kabuki play or whether there was a rewrite in response to skeptics contacting McCaskill’s office and only said that I “like to think” skeptics had something to do with it. Certainly her use of the term “science-based medicine” suggests that this is so, because that is not a term commonly used (or even known) by politicians or the general public, which is why its use grabbed my attention so.

    In other words, Mr. Fell’s “disappointment” in me does not particularly resonate. We have no way of knowing whether McCaskill intended this all along (and, no, I don’t think her press release is sufficient “evidence” that she did). Certainly, she’s unlikely ever to say one way or the other, at least not while she’s still in office. (Maybe if she ever writes her memoirs…) However, given the history of politicians and science, there were lots of perfectly valid reasons to doubt McCaskill when she invited someone like Dr. Oz to testify. Sure, she deserves praise for ultimately having done the right thing, regardless of whether she intended it all along or changed course after some prodding by her constituents, but I don’t see any apology necessary. If Mr. Fell is so horribly, horribly “disappointed” in me for that, well, I won’t exactly lose any sleep over it.

  69. #69 Militant Agnostic
    In a country where the Prime MInister despises evidence.
    June 19, 2014

    Given the tendency of politicians to double down on their positions when encountering contradictory evidence, McCaskill is even more praiseworthy if she was influenced by the information she received.

  70. #70 Obstreperous Applesauce
    June 19, 2014

    Tincture of Oprah

    You know you’re on the ropes when you become the butt of nighttime talk show jokes. Letterman:

    Top Ten Products Endorsed by Dr. Oz
    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    10. Fat-burning mayonnaise
    9. Contraceptive grout
    8. Swedish Nyquil balls
    7. Spray-on abs
    6. Tincture of Oprah
    5. Non-stick band-aids
    4. Weight-loss fedora
    3. Self-inflating latex glove
    2. Appendix-be-gone
    1. Self-locking duck gates

  71. #71 Graham
    June 19, 2014

    It will be interesting to see how he spins this meeting on his next show.

  72. #72 Orac
    June 19, 2014

    We might have to wait until next season. His season’s almost over, and chances are that all of this season’s remaining episodes have already been taped.

  73. #73 James Fell
    June 19, 2014

    A goole search for “science based medicine” comes up with 2.3 million results. Not exactly proprietary. And “horribly, horribly” is a significant overstatement. I consider myself at most moderately disappointed. I would have thought a man who otherwise shows so much wisdom and critical thinking would be reflective enough to admit to an error. Regardless of you qualifying your statements in a follow up piece (“like to think”), it doesn’t change the fact that in your first piece you nailed her to the wall by making incorrect assumptions. In my world, that at least calls for an “I’m sorry.”

    Are starstruck fanboys all you really want? I would think you’d welcome some critical feedback.

  74. #74 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 19, 2014

    He has a Facebook post up about the hearing:

    I was pleased that the hearing yesterday dealt with some complicated issues and had all the players present whose cooperation will be necessary to move forward in protecting the consumer. For years I felt that because I did not sell any products that I could be enthusiastic in my coverage and I believe the research surrounding the products I cover has value. I took part in the hearing because I am accountable for my role in the proliferation of these scams and I recognize that my enthusiastic language has made the problem worse at times. To not have the conversation about supplements at all, however, would be a disservice to the viewer. In addition to exercising an abundance of caution in discussing promising research and products in the future, I look forward to working with all those present yesterday in finding a way to deal with the problems of weight loss scams.

  75. #75 James Fell
    June 19, 2014

    Oh, and McCaskill’s release does indeed give no indication of grilling Dr. Oz. However, it also gives no indication of the opposite: kissing his ass or bringing him in for his “star power.” That’s your error. You assumed it was her intention without any evidence.

  76. #76 Denice Walter
    June 19, 2014

    @ Todd W,:

    Right. How will he apply that towards selecting his guests?
    Mikey, Mercola, etc.

  77. #77 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 19, 2014

    @James Fell

    It’s very easy to point fingers and be all high-and-mighty in retrospect. How would you have reacted if Orac assumed that it was going to be a slam-dunk for SBM and skepticism, and then it turned out to be nothing but promotion of Dr. Oz? Would you be up in arms at him the way you are now? If he didn’t mention anything about it, would you have thought, “Man, someone should’ve spread the word about this and contacted her office?”

    As a layperson, from my reading of the press release, there was no clear indication which way it would go or why Sen. McCaskill had invited Dr. Oz to testify, especially in light of his recent activities against hucksters using his name to market their products. There was just cause to be cautious and to contact Sen. McCaskill’s office with more information about him.

    Clean up the smug a bit. You admit to having a “gut feeling” which could very well have turned out to be wrong. You didn’t base your opinion on any solid evidence, so to turn around after everything was settled and done and point fingers at those who expressed concern is, to put it mildly, a bit arrogant and uncalled for. The tone of your comments doesn’t help, either, nor does your choice of venue. You just had to get it up quickly, you say? Why? So you could make sure word got out as fast as possible about how mean you thought everyone was to Sen. McCaskill? So you could gloat and crow about how awesome you are? (After all, you’re a syndicated columnist who’s been endorsed by Shermer…oooh, ahhh.) Are we supposed to be impressed?

    I will call out Orac when he’s wrong about something, because I know he will take the criticism as it’s meant, constructively. His post was within reason given the evidence at hand at the time.

  78. #78 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 19, 2014

    @Denice Walter

    The comments are predominantly gushing Oz fans going on about how Big Pharma’s scared, the government’s corrupt, blah, blah, blah. The few who take Oz to task are quickly shouted down.

  79. #79 Narad
    June 19, 2014

    That just happened to be the vehicle which I used, a place I’ve had a column for over 3 years….

    And I’m sure your regular audience will duly appreciate the import of burying the lede (such as it is) in favor of a digression involving carping about their other regularly scheduled reading, RI.

    No comments yet!

    If you bothered to Google me

    *blink*

    you’d learn that I have a syndicated column with the Chicago Tribune that runs in dozens of respected newspapers as well as another column for TIME Magazine. Not only that, but Michael Shermer endorsed my book published by Random House. the new phone book’s here! The new phone book’s here!

    FTFY.

    But no, all you can see is “AskMen,” and you leapt to an erroneous conclusion

    No, I think my conclusion was quite sound.

    the same way that Orac did, blasting away without actually understanding the full story.

    If Orac wants us to trust him, he needs to be more careful.

    “Us”? “Trust”? What leads you to believe that the readership here is prone to just blindly accepting what’s put in front of their faces?

    He’s not doing medical and health skepticism any favours by making the assumptions that he did, and the way to recover from such a thing is to apologize and promise to do better in the future

    I get a really strong sense that what you really mean here is “apologize to me.”

    not be arrogant and act like it was all because of his writing that put McCaskill on this path in the first place.

    Personally, I don’t care about the reason for the outcome. I’m mildly interested in what happened. And your performance here isn’t a particularly convincing demonstration of your having slipped the chains of “arrogance.” After all, your own post at Ask Men is as much about you as this one is “about” Orac.

    We should all be holding people like Orac to an exceptionally high standard, not acting like a bunch of starstruck fan boys.

    TINW. HTH. As you have seen fit to use the “starstruck fan boys” line twice now, perhaps you could get on that “exceptionally high standard” bit and actually demonstrate that it is an accurate assesment of the fine-feathered commentariat rather than a caricature that you pulled out of your needlessly chapped ass.

  80. #80 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 19, 2014

    starstruck fan boys

    Huh. And to think that some of us are girls. Wonder what we will be referred to as.

  81. #81 palindrom
    June 19, 2014

    ScienceMom @80 — I imagine that when Orac appears at TAM, he’s mobbed by a crush of adoring middle-aged women, like Tom Jones.

    Or maybe not.

    I have to say, this little kerfluffle over Fell is pretty entertaining. I thought our host handled it with admirable restraint.

    But then again, I’m just an adoring fanboy,.

  82. #82 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    June 19, 2014

    I must say, though, for such an accomplished journalist as Fell, he made a horrible error. He spelled “fanboi” wrong. Tsk tsk. Amateur mistake.

  83. #83 Narad
    June 19, 2014

    I imagine that when Orac appears at TAM, he’s mobbed by a crush of adoring middle-aged women, like Tom Jones.

    And there you have your answer: it’s the starstruck fanboys (or “fan boys”; must not be in the AP manual) and the panty-throwers.

  84. #84 Jay B. Born
    United States
    June 19, 2014

    Another cheap political trick from the D.C. cesspool.
    Why is that woman wasting taxpayer funds putting on her silly show? There have been no complaints filed against Oz. No illnesses. No deaths. No charges. Nothing will come of this whip-up. Just showhorsemanship at its worst. I trust Oz more than I do some senator.

  85. #85 Chris,
    June 19, 2014

    “There have been no complaints filed against Oz.”

    http://nypost.com/2014/05/12/man-wins-2-3m-after-wife-dies-following-dr-oz-surgeons-lipo/

    http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/man-sues-dr-oz-burned-feet-article-1.1292333

    Dear Mr. Born, there is thing called “google”, all you have to do is use it before saying silly things.

  86. #86 Renee
    June 19, 2014

    I believe Senator McCaskill’s intent all along was to grill Dr. Oz, particularly since she has a track record of supporting consumer protections. However, she needed to ensure that he would show up to the hearing. What better way to accomplish this than to put out a press release that gives the appearance of him being a star witness. She played to his ego, and he took the bait. However, the press release could understandably be read to imply that the senator supports his positions with respect to diet supplements. I can see where persons would have this impression, and then react strongly to it.
    I doubt the senator needed to have her mind changed wrt Oz and his outrageous viewpoints – she most likely was already aware of his antics. It is unlikely that bloggers sending her information would have changed her mind, if initially she had been sympathetic to Oz. Having lived her in Washington for over a decade, I’ve found there are only a few things that will cause a member of Congress to radically change their position on a subject in a short amount of time: they are about to lose an election, or lose a key vote in Congress, or lose the support of key constituents and/or major donors, or lose a budget battle, or they are being pressured by their party leadership to change their position.
    Kudos to Senator McCaskill and her staff for pulling off this hearing. I admire their gamesmanship.

  87. #87 ann
    June 19, 2014

    @James Fell –

    I completely agree that it’s unlikely that McCaskill ever intended anything other than what she did, simply because doing last-minute turn-arounds after the press release has gone out just isn’t how senators roll.

    But get a grip. It’s Orac’s job/responsibility/civic duty to say what he thinks and give his reasons for thinking it. As long as he does that in a duly diligent way and acknowledges error when wrong, he has nothing to apologize for.

    Furthermore, I’m sure that McCaskill’s staff (and probably McCaskill) used (and probably relied on) stuff he wrote when prepping the hearing. So I doubt she’s feeling offended. It’s not like she’s going to lose any votes over anything he said.

    Why create conflict where there is none, in short? Everyone did fine.

  88. #88 ann
    June 19, 2014

    Even if he doesn’t fall under OHRP jurisdiction, he clearly is covered under Columbia’s IRB regulations.

    That’s not so clear to me. In fact, I think it’s unlikely. He did it as a part of the show. That was plainly explicit. And logically, there’s no reason why Columbia would automatically have authority over what its faculty members do on their own time, at their own expense, and/or when in the employ of other institutions or entities.

    I don’t know what the custom is, though.

  89. #89 Orac
    June 19, 2014

    @ann

    I rather suspect that James Fell wanted to assert his superiority over me in this particular episode in such a way that everyone sees what an awesomely prescient dude he is. This is not the first time I’ve had this sort of “I’m soooo disappointed in you” and “I hold you to a much higher standard” nonsense directed at me.

    As for Columbia’s IRB policy, I don’t see where it distinguishes.

  90. #90 Andy
    June 19, 2014

    “We were invited down to Washington to testify at a hearing about scams and instead it became all about…”

    The Doctor Oz Show?

    As a mere layman, I take it from that first piece of video that Oz is saying there’s evidence for stuff and there’s evidence against stuff and you can pick holes in any trials supporting either side and we really can’t ever know anything because “prayer”, and therefore “buy this stuff”.

    As an Aussie, am I right to assume that “prayer” (apart from being “free”) would actually be a very powerful argument in the US Congress? How many congresspersons would be willing to stand up and declare prayer to be as useless as diet supplements?

  91. #91 Andy
    June 20, 2014

    Has Mikey’s post been taken down? I can find it in Google but the link on his site goes to the home page.

  92. #92 Keith Jaeger
    United States
    June 20, 2014

    Your pharmaceutical whore

  93. #93 Keith Jaeger
    United States
    June 20, 2014

    Let’s try that again. You are a pharmaceutical whore. Your disinformation scam is exposed. My guess is you also write the various positive comments. Who’s the paymaster whore boy? I don’t feel sorry for you…

    Don’t forget to delete this post.

  94. #94 herr doktor bimler
    June 20, 2014

    I’ve found there are only a few things that will cause a member of Congress to radically change their position on a subject in a short amount of time

    You missed out “discovering that a family member is personally affected by a previously abstract and irrelevant problem”.

  95. #95 Helianthus
    June 20, 2014

    You missed out “discovering that a family member is personally affected by a previously abstract and irrelevant problem”.

    A French lawyer likes to point out that the rules for due process are often updated after a politician found himself at the receiving end of it…

  96. #96 herr doktor bimler
    June 20, 2014

    Let’s try that again.

    No, no, you were making more sense the first time.

  97. #97 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    June 20, 2014

    @ann 388:

    He did it as a part of the show. That was plainly explicit. And logically, there’s no reason why Columbia would automatically have authority over what its faculty members do on their own time, at their own expense, and/or when in the employ of other institutions or entities.

    There is a principle in employment law that if an employee’s conduct in his or her own time (i.e. outside of work hours) has a detrimental affect on the employer, then the employer is entitled to take action against the employee. In the case of Columbia University, an employee conducting a trial without IRB approval could be viewed as damaging to Columbia, even if that employee didn’t use Columbia facilities and did it outside of working hours.

  98. #98 Dangerous Bacon
    June 20, 2014

    If conduct detrimental to the reputation of one’s employer in academia was a compelling reason for disciplinary action or dismissal, then it’s hard to understand why the University of Kentucky hasn’t revoked Boyd Haley’s status as emeritus professor of chemistry.

    Haley has arguably far outdone Oz when it comes to behavior that’s embarrassing and ethically questionable.

  99. #99 ann
    June 20, 2014

    @Orac, Julian Frost:

    You’re right, as was Todd W.

    The IRB has the responsibility to oversee the conduct of research that it approves. Consistent with this responsibility, the IRB may audit research studies conducted at Columbia University or Columbia University Medical Center as well as research in which faculty and/or staff of Columbia University are engaged outside the institution.

    So I’d say “clearly covered” was and is accurate.

  100. #100 ann
    June 20, 2014

    Another cheap political trick from the D.C. cesspool.
    Why is that woman wasting taxpayer funds putting on her silly show?

    In order to raise awareness of the problem of deceptive advertising for fraudulent weight-loss aids, by which milliones of taxpayers are victimized?

    Just a guess.

    There have been no complaints filed against Oz. No illnesses. No deaths. No charges.

    Yeah. I didn’t notice her accusing him of breaking the law, or of killing or sickening anyone. She just wanted to know why he was calling products that he had no reason to think would work “miracles.”

    Nothing will come of this whip-up.

    Something already has. Awareness was raised.

    Just showhorsemanship at its worst. I trust Oz more than I do some senator.

    Of course. Because when you have to decide which of two strangers — both of whom are in the business of persuading you to trust them for personal gain — to trust, it’s always a good idea to pick the one who’s totally unaccountable.

    Good thinking.

  101. […] been three days since America’s quack, Dr. Mehmet Oz, had his posterior handed to him by a wily old prosecutor who is now a Senator, Claire McCaskill. The beauty of it is that, not only […]

  102. […] The Great and powerful Dr. Oz: humbled by Senator Claire McCaskill […]

  103. #103 novalox
    June 20, 2014

    @keith

    Ah, the old pharma shill gambit, a sure sign that you have no original thoughts and have no coherent arguement.

    Also, Orac rarely delete comments. In your case, it’s a good thing, since it exposes you as an idiot and provides the regulars here with some laughs at your stupidity.

  104. #104 Narad
    June 20, 2014

    Fifty quatloos say it’s the OT III Keith Jaeger.

  105. #105 Jan Johnson
    Wichita KS
    June 20, 2014

    (NaturalNews) The pieces of the puzzle are finally coming together on U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s bizarre attack aimed at Doctor Oz. In a scathing Senate hearing exchange, Sen. McCaskill all but accused Doctor Oz of peddling quack weight loss products — even though Oz actually runs a very meticulous, science-based operation where dietary supplements are heavily researched before being recommended to the public.

    Now Natural News has learned that Sen. McCaskill received over $146,000 in campaign contributions from one of the largest pharmaceutical retailers in North America. According to campaign contribution data published at OpenSecrets.org, prescription drug mega-retailer Express Scripts gave McCaskill over $109,000 in campaign contributions, most of which was routed through lobbyist groups or PACs. (1)

    Sen. McCaskill also accepted over $37,000 from Monsanto, widely regarded to be the most evil corporation in the world and an enemy of sustainable food production, heirloom seeds and traditional American farming methods.

    Strangely, McCaskill also received over $32,000 from Google, Inc., and another $29,000 from Comcast.

    In contrast, Doctor Oz receives no money whatsoever from recommending natural dietary supplements on his show. In fact, he goes out of his way to halt dietary supplement companies from using his name to promote such products.

    Oz is the one operating in integrity here, while McCaskill is hiding her financial conflicts of interest. (Is anyone surprised?)

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/045619_Senator_McCaskill_campaign_contributions_pharma_money.html#ixzz35Cp3a5DX

  106. #106 Lawrence
    June 20, 2014

    @jan – lol….too funny. You’re an idiot.

  107. #107 AdamG
    June 20, 2014

    I love how “McCaskill is hiding her financial conflicts” despite the fact that anyone with the internet and a working brain could’ve found that info in 5 minutes.

  108. #108 Denice Walter
    June 20, 2014

    What does Oz earn per year from his carefully crafted persona delivered via television?

  109. #109 AdamG
    June 20, 2014

    What does Oz earn per year from his carefully crafted persona delivered via television

    A cool $4 mil a year, according to this:
    http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-businessmen/dr-oz-net-worth/

  110. #110 Denice Walter
    June 20, 2014

    What does Mike Adamd earn per year from Natural News and his various other compnaies/

  111. #111 Denice Walter
    June 20, 2014

    Pardonnez les typos, svp.

  112. #112 novalox
    June 20, 2014

    @jan

    Yawn, another pharma shill gambit, a sure sign that you have no actual argument.

    You do know how politics works right? Also, I don’t see you worked up in a tizzy over mikey’s undeclared COIs and money he makes form selling products on his website.

  113. #113 Matthew Cline
    June 20, 2014

    @ann:

    Yeah. I didn’t notice her accusing him of breaking the law, or of killing or sickening anyone. She just wanted to know why he was calling products that he had no reason to think would work “miracles.”

    I think what he means is something along the lines of “there’s much bigger fish to fry than Dr. Oz”. Or, in other words, “why are you spending time on this problem when you should instead be spending time on these other problems”.

  114. #114 ann
    June 20, 2014

    What does Oz earn per year from his carefully crafted persona delivered via television

    A cool $4 mil a year, according to this:
    http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-businessmen/dr-oz-net-worth/

    @#105

    That would also be what he earns from recommending natural dietary supplements on his show, btw.

    The money doesn’t always have to travel directly from point A to point B with no intermediary stops for there to be a profit motive.

  115. #115 ann
    June 20, 2014

    Strangely, McCaskill also received over $32,000 from Google, Inc., and another $29,000 from Comcast.

    Does anyone know what that “strangely” is doing there?

    She’s on the Communications, Technology and the Internet Subcommittee. It doesn’t seem strange to me that Google and Comcast are among her donors.

  116. #116 Dr Jeff
    Canada
    June 20, 2014

    It would be interesting to see what senators got what from which pharma companies. All supplement studies are small, due to lack of funding. It doesn’t make them less valid if the effect is large. If you need 60000 patients to show a 1% difference (like statins), does that make it useful? Where are the pharma guys in front of the Senate justifying the harm they cause to consumers? Prescription drugs as well as the drugs, alcohol and tobacco, kill more people than any supplement ever will! Where’s the protection against that? It’s all about education and Dr Oz does a valuable service and if it encourages people to take their health seriously and educate themselves, then in spite of everything, it is worthwhile.

  117. #117 lilady
    June 20, 2014

    Gee Dr. Jeff, have you got any studies from peer-reviewed journals to back up your statements about statins?

    Do you think the one study that Dr. Oz touts for a weight loss supplement, with 16 subjects, which was financed by the supplement manufacturer, is a valid study?

  118. #118 Narad
    June 20, 2014

    It would be interesting to see what senators got what from which pharma companies. All supplement studies are small, due to lack of funding.

    Because Big pHARMa doesn’t sell supplements. Oh, wait.

    Well, at least Big Suppla isn’t spreading around campaign donations, right? Whoops.

  119. #119 Narad
    June 21, 2014

    Heh. Orrin Hatch got $45,780 when he wasn’t even in an election.

  120. #120 LW
    June 21, 2014

    “Prescription drugs as well as the drugs, alcohol and tobacco, kill more people than any supplement ever will!”

    One of these things is not like the others.

  121. #121 ann
    June 21, 2014

    It would be interesting to see what senators got what from which pharma companies.

    There’s nothing easier:

    http://www.opensecrets.org

    Have at it.

    But it’s not a one-lobby-group show. As the informative article at Narad’s link entitled “Dietary Supplement Industry Bombards Congress with Cash, Gets Its Way” says:

    Lobbying spending by the industry has increased 86% since the 109th Congress. Further, the political action committees (PACs) linked to the supplement industry have increased donations to federal candidates. In addition to Sen. Hatch and Rep. Amash, CREW found major recipients of supplement industry cash during the 2010 election cycle included Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), all of whom either sit on committees considering legislation affecting the industry or have an industry presence in their home states. The supplement industry is the third-largest industry in Utah, with revenues estimated at up to $4 billion a year.

    Pharma does it too, as do many other industries. It’s not hidden. You can go see exactly what they’re all doing.

  122. #122 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    June 21, 2014

    Prescription drugs as well as the drugs, alcohol and tobacco, kill more people than any supplement ever will!

    I agree that alcohol and tobacco kill plenty, and misuse of prescription drugs kill almost as many.

    Citation, please, that proper use of approved drugs kill more than those that use supplements only for the treatment and management of disease.

    If you fail to provide this, you will be considered a total vegetarian.

  123. #123 ann
    June 21, 2014

    Where are the pharma guys in front of the Senate justifying the harm they cause to consumers?

    Could you narrow that down a little? I don’t know which pharma guys who’ve gotten hauled in to be yelled at by subcommittees you might be curious about.

    It does happen from time to time, though.

    Prescription drugs as well as the drugs, alcohol and tobacco, kill more people than any supplement ever will! Where’s the protection against that?

    Maybe try the federal agencies that have words like “drugs,” “alcohol,” and/or “tobacco” in their names.

  124. #124 herr doktor bimler
    June 21, 2014

    It would be interesting to see what senators got what from which pharma companies.

    The kids tell me that there’s this thing called Google, if you are sincerely interested.

  125. #125 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    June 21, 2014

    Maybe try the federal agencies that have words like “drugs,” “alcohol,” and/or “tobacco” in their names.

    Like BATFE? Who’s bringing the chips?

  126. #126 Krebiozen
    June 21, 2014

    Dr Jeff,

    If you need 60000 patients to show a 1% difference (like statins), does that make it useful?

    I’m not sure what you mean. Are referring to the “number needed to treat” to prevent a specific outcome? With statins you need to treat 50 or fewer patients for 5 years to prevent one heart attack, stroke or death:

    For the end point of myocardial infarction, stroke, revascularization, or death, the 5-year NNT within JUPITER was 20 (95% CI, 14 to 34). All subgroups had 5-year NNT values for this end point below 50; as examples, 5-year NNT values were 17 for men and 31 for women, 21 for whites and 19 for nonwhites, 18 for those with body mass index <or=25 kg/m(2) and 21 for those with body mass index greater than 25 kg/m(2), 9 and 26 for those with and without a family history of coronary disease, 19 and 22 for those with and without metabolic syndrome, and 14 and 37 for those with estimated Framingham risks greater or less than 10%.

    Are you seriously suggesting these are not useful drugs?

  127. #127 TBruce
    June 21, 2014

    Prescription drugs as well as the drugs, alcohol and tobacco, kill more people than any supplement ever will!

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/29/us-antioxidants-idUSBREA0S1QV20140129

  128. #128 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    June 21, 2014

    Are you seriously suggesting these are not useful drugs?

    Of course. How much would you like to wager “Dr. Jeff” is a chiroquackter with no prescriptive authority?

  129. #129 ann
    June 21, 2014

    Prescription drugs as well as the drugs, alcohol and tobacco, kill more people than any supplement ever will!

    No doubt lots of things kill more people than any supplement ever will, including but not limited to starvation, war, and motor vehicle accidents,

    But that doesn’t mean that the people who are killed or injured by supplements that nobody has shown to be helpful to a single person other than the one who profits by selling them are any less dead or injured.

    For example (and it is just one; there’s no system for tracking/tabulating the total):

    The Food and Drug Administration can’t protect you. It didn’t protect Sonette Marras, a 48-year-old mother of seven who died in Hawaii last month. It didn’t protect Michael Lee Sparling, a 22-year-old Army private who died at Fort Bliss two years ago. Nor can it protect the more than 2,000 Americans a year who will die or suffer illness after taking over-the-counter dietary supplements.

    Don’t expect the FDA to protect you now. The laws it enforces protect the $30 billion-a-year industry that makes and sells the supplements, not the 53 percent of Americans who take them.

    Not quite medicines, not quite food, dietary supplements fall into a regulatory black hole. A big black hole. And one of the most glaring examples of what can go wrong occurred in Dallas, where a company continued to manufacture dietary supplements with an illegal ingredient, DMAA, one year after this laboratory-made stimulant was deemed unsafe.

    The story begins in 1994, when Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, introduced a federal law, the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act, that opened the door for supplements to be sold without safety testing.

    This means that the pills, powders and potions on sale across the nation are deemed safe — until someone gets sick. “We don’t approve these products for safety or efficacy prior to going to market,” says Dr. Daniel Fabricant, director of the Division of Dietary Supplement Programs at the FDA. “They’re not like drugs. The way the law is, firms don’t have to register their products, so dietary supplements come on to the market freely.”

    It’s a huge market. In 2009, 55,000 supplements were on sale in the U.S., according to the Government Accountability Office. That’s up from 4,000 in 1994, a nearly 1,300 percent increase.

    When a supplement is suspected to have caused deaths or illnesses, it’s up to the FDA to prove that the supplement is unsafe. “The burden is on us,” says Fabricant. “Proving that something caused harm directly is very challenging.”

    Jacob Geissler has taken full advantage of that challenge with his Dallas sports supplement company. The 37-year-old founded USPLabs in 2006 after graduating with a degree in nutrition from Texas A&M in the mid-1990s.

    In between graduating and starting USPLabs, Geissler was indicted in Bexar County in 2003 for possessing thousands of pills containing anabolic steroids. He was ordered to serve 10 years of community supervision; he served five of them before his petition for early termination was granted in 2009.

    By then, USPLabs was well-established. Today, the company is best known for its popular Jack3d and OxyElite Pro supplements. Both are advertised as simultaneous fat-burners and muscle-builders that will take your workout to the next level. Until July, just four months ago, both contained DMAA, which has been illegal in the U.S. since April 2012. USPLabs declined multiple requests for an interview with Geissler or another company representative. However, company officials have defended their actions elsewhere, maintaining that DMAA is safe. A statement sent to marketers stated that the company was phasing out products containing DMAA “for business reasons.”

    Originally developed as a nasal decongestant by Eli Lilly in the 1940s, DMAA was removed from the market in 1983 at the company’s request. Scientific studies of its effects had demonstrated increases in heart rate and blood pressure, alongside nervousness and tremors. But DMAA enjoyed a comeback after 2006. Touted as a natural derivative of geranium, it became an active ingredient of performance-enhancing and weight-loss supplements.

    After six deaths and more than 100 reports of sickness were linked to DMAA, it was banned by the FDA in April 2012.

    But the U.S. Defense Department didn’t wait for an FDA ruling. Military officials had banned DMAA four months earlier after the deaths of three Fort Bliss soldiers, all young and previously healthy. Sparling, the Army private, was one of those soldiers. The 22-year-old Californian collapsed after a 10-minute run with his unit. He had taken the recommended dose of Jack3d before training.

    When a fourth soldier died after taking DMAA, the Defense Department convened a safety review panel and conducted a case control study of nearly 2,000 active-duty military personnel. Among the panel’s findings: 15.4 percent were taking DMAA; 40 soldiers had reported illness to a military doctor after taking the supplement, and two soldiers suffered liver failure. No other cause could be found to explain their illnesses.

    There were warning signs in other countries even earlier than the military ban. New Zealand suspended the sale of DMAA in 2008 after it was associated with strokes in four people. DMAA was also banned in Canada, the UK and at least six other countries.

    In April 2012, four months after the Defense Department’s ban, the FDA sent a warning letter to 11 DMAA manufacturers, including USPLabs, stating that DMAA must be removed from all products. Ten companies complied. USPLabs did not. OxyElite Pro and Jack3d continued to be manufactured with DMAA and put on store shelves.

    Even then, it was the Texas Department of State Health Services, not the FDA, that stepped in first. “We embargoed the product at the USPLabs warehouse in Dallas in May [2013] and handed it over to FDA in June,” spokesperson Chris van Deusen said. “Under state law, we can act a little more quickly than the FDA.” USPLabs had been illegally making OxyElite Pro and Jack3d with DMAA for 13 months.

    In July, after legal action by the FDA, USPLabs voluntarily destroyed $8.5 million worth of OxyElite Pro and Jack3d at its Dallas facility. But bottles that were already on store shelves stayed there. “We didn’t recall product,” says the FDA’s Fabricant. “But at the same time, in terms of our authority, it was a significant step to get it out of the hands of the distributor and have it voluntarily destroyed.”

    The largest retailer of dietary supplements, GNC, continued to sell OxyElite Pro and Jack3d until the FDA obtained seizure orders for warehouses in South Carolina and Pennsylvania in June. GNC declined requests for an interview. But in an email to The New York Times, a GNC spokesperson said, “It is hard to view this action as anything other than a biased agency action against GNC in retaliation for GNC’s stance on DMAA.”

    But not even the GNC seizures marked the end of OxyElite Pro and Jack3d.

    USPLabs, like many dietary supplement manufacturers, presented a moving target. It reformulated OxyElite Pro, under the same name, without DMAA. This time, it added a new ingredient: aegeline. An extract of the Bael tree, which grows in Southeast Asia, aegeline is deemed unsafe by the FDA.

    This new formulation of OxyElite Pro is linked to a fatal outbreak of liver disease that began in Hawaii and has spread to the mainland. More than 60 people have been sickened, including two who needed liver transplants. Sonette Marras, a mother of seven from Hawaii, developed liver failure and died last month. She had been taking the new formula of OxyElite Pro to lose weight she’d gained during pregnancy.

    (more at link: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/sunday-commentary/20131129-the-risky-business-of-dietary-supplements.ece)

    Is there something wrong with making people aware that under the present system supplements pose an unknown, potentially fatal risk from which nobody is protecting them?

    If so, please tell me what it is.

  130. #130 Krebiozen
    June 21, 2014

    Johnny,

    Citation, please, that proper use of approved drugs kill more than those that use supplements only for the treatment and management of disease.

    Not meaning to undermine your point, but I have little doubt that the proper use of approved drugs does kill many, many people. However, since those drugs either save far more lives than they end (anticoagulants for example), or transform lives by reducing pain and inflammation (NSAIDs) or allow (and often hasten) a relatively painless end of life (opiates), I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

    These drugs would be even better without the fatal side effects, of course, but they are far better than anything alternative medicine has to offer. How, I wonder, would a chiropractor treat a clotting disorder? Severe arthritis? Heart attack? Terminal illness? I often wonder if these people rail against conventional medicine because they rarely see any patients that are actually seriously ill.

  131. #131 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 21, 2014

    Dr Jeff – Senator McCaskill expressed her concerns about Dr. Oz saying things that were exaggerated, misleading, or in some other way unsupported by fact. These detract from his credibility and lead people purchase products that, while not necessarily actively harmful (such as, say, ephedra), do not actually provide the benefits claimed.

    So that’s OK?

  132. #132 Krebiozen
    June 21, 2014

    To add to what Ann wrote, as I have mentioned here before there is evidence that calcium supplements (taken alone as I recall) increase cardiovascular risk far more than Vioxx does. It’s curious that those who make a noise about Vioxx, which is indisputably a highly effective anti-inflammatory, are silent about calcium supplements which aren’t much good for anything:

    In sum, there is little substantive evidence of benefit to bone health from the use of calcium supplements. Against this needs to be balanced the likelihood that calcium supplement use increases cardiovascular events, kidney stones, gastrointestinal symptoms, and admissions to hospital with acute gastrointestinal problems. Thus, the balance of risk and benefit seems to be consistently negative.

  133. #133 Krebiozen
    June 21, 2014

    The news about antioxidant supplements continues its march from ‘disappointing’ to ‘worrying’. Now it seems antioxidants may accelerate tumor growth, specifically by turning off p53 defenses:

    For the new study, the Gothenburg scientists gave vitamin E and a generic drug called N-acetylcysteine, both antioxidants, to mice with early lung cancer. The vitamin E doses were comparable to those in supplements; the doses of acetylcysteine, which is prescribed for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to reduce mucus, were relatively low.

    The antioxidants caused a 2.8-fold increase in lung tumors, made the tumors more invasive and aggressive, and caused the mice to die twice as quickly – all compared to mice not given antioxidants.

    When the antioxidants were added to human lung tumor cells in lab dishes, they also accelerated cancer growth.

    These mice clearly needed some attention from Dr. Bengston.

  134. #134 Narad
    June 21, 2014

    NAC of course is also one of the glutathione supplements popular in the biomed swamp.

  135. […] Dr. Oz’s very bad week last week, it’s wonderful to see John Oliver take on Dr. Oz in a very long segment on his show Last […]

  136. #136 Bingo
    June 23, 2014

    A Senator grilling a T.V. host over supplements? Odd at best. Look a little deeper and find out that Senator McCaskill has received plenty of $$$ from big pharma and Monsanto. They have a lot at stake in wanting Americans to use medication to tackle obesity. I’m sorry to see so many Americans being taken in by politicians. Look to the money, as usual, people.

  137. #137 Chris,
    June 24, 2014

    Bingo: “Look to the money, as usual, people.”

    That’s the point. Check out how much cash Senators Hatch and Harkin pulled from supplement lobbyists! Here is an idea, just read about their “protect supplement companies” law on this website: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/tag/dshea/

  138. #138 Chris,
    June 24, 2014

    I should add that you need to see the post on this blog about John Oliver’s piece on his HBO program, and then read this:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/utahs-senator-orrin-hatch-defender-of-the-supplement-industry/

  139. #139 Narad
    June 24, 2014

    Look a little deeper and find out that Senator McCaskill has received plenty of $$$ from big pharma and Monsanto.

    Wow, it’s almost as though you didn’t bother to read the comments. Try starting here, Bingo (clap).

  140. […] and Insurance.  Oz no doubt thought he was there to deliver celebrity testimony, but instead, he got spanked but good by Senator Claire McCaskill, who all but called him a snake oil […]

  141. #141 Michael Weeks
    New Jersey
    June 27, 2014

    WOW! It is very interesting that McCaskill received in excess of $720,000 form the established medical industry for her 2014 campaign. And that the “medical” industry has received in direct payments from big pharma over 2.5 billion dollars from 2009-2012 alone. Do you think that maybe the natural supplement industry is starting to make a dent in big pharma and “traditional” (prescription writers) medicine?

  142. #142 JGC
    June 27, 2014

    The fact that Senator mcCaskill received campaign contributions from the ‘established medical industry’ doesn’t invalidate a single one of the panel’s criticisms of Dr. Oz’s promotion of supplements.

    It doesn’t change the fact that he now admits he’s recomended interventions, other than diet and exercise, he does not know to be effective and alos has made statements he now knows not to be true for the explicit purpose of engaging and building/retaining his viewing audience.

    So what exactly is interesting about the campaign contributions to Senator McCaskill?

  143. #143 JGC
    June 27, 2014

    Bingo, do you have any evidence whatsoever that the supplements Dr. Oz recommended on his show–green coffee extract, etc.,–are effective at promoting weight loss? Dr. Oz admitted to the panel that he didn’t have any.

    And in the absence of evidence that the supplements are safe and effective, it isn’t the politicians we need to worry are taking people in: it’s the supplement manufacturers and those promoting their use (like Dr. Oz).

  144. #144 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 27, 2014

    @Michael Weeks

    Do you think that maybe the natural supplement industry is starting to make a dent in big pharma and “traditional” (prescription writers) medicine?

    If by that you mean are they providing treatments that are shown to be at least as safe and as effective as prescription drugs to treat medical conditions, then no. If you’re asking if they’re significantly cutting into pharmaceutical company revenues, then the answer appears to be no.

    Thanks for asking!

  145. #145 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    June 27, 2014

    Especially since a lot of them *are* Big Pharma and the providers of conventional medicine. There’s a hell of a lot of money in snake oil, especially snake oil that doesn’t do anything at all and offered as a supplement to conventional treatment.

  146. #146 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 27, 2014

    Who wants a squeaky snake, after all? Or a rusty one – I think its likely a good idea to use WD-40 or some equivalent on a closet snake after use to avoid rust.

  147. #147 TBruce
    June 27, 2014

    I was going to say something about trouser snakes but I successfully resisted the temptation.

  148. #148 ann
    June 27, 2014

    WOW! It is very interesting that McCaskill received in excess of $720,000 form the established medical industry for her 2014 campaign. And that the “medical” industry has received in direct payments from big pharma over 2.5 billion dollars from 2009-2012 alone.

    She could have received seven hundred and twenty million from the established medical industry. There still wouldn’t be one whit of proof that those diet aids are anything besides a means to part fools from their money.

  149. #149 Politicalguineapig
    June 27, 2014

    M’OB :Who wants a squeaky snake, after all?

    Well, me. Ours has been on the lam for months, and I hope she’s still alive.

  150. […] is controversial for a variety of reasons. He has claimed, for example, that foods and supplements from green coffee extract to raspberry ketones to garcinia […]

  151. #151 Sarah A
    June 28, 2014

    Freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of what you choose to say.

  152. #152 ann
    June 28, 2014

    Moreover, calling upon someone publicly to explain what he or she said publicly is an exemplary exercise of the right.

    Funny that they call that rag Reason,

  153. […] is controversial for a variety of reasons. He has claimed, for example, that foods and supplements from green coffee extract to raspberry ketones to garcinia […]

  154. […] is controversial for a variety of reasons. He has claimed, for example, that foods and supplements from green coffee extract to raspberry ketones to garcinia […]

  155. #155 Scottynuke
    June 29, 2014

    I know it’s only a pingback and Baylen won’t see this, but “defending” Dr. Oz? Really? Way to miss the point about how “free speech” doesn’t mean “free from criticism.” *SIGH*

  156. #156 ann
    June 29, 2014

    That essay’s really annoying. It’s not just that he’s defending Oz. It’s that he’s promulgating and ignorant, inaccurate and incoherent view of the first amendment:

    Oz has absolutely zero responsibility to hold mainstream views and every right to make money off of those views. His popularity has absolutely no impact on his right to say whatever the hell he wants to say. And being hauled before Congress for saying what he wants places a tremendous burden on his, your, and my First Amendment rights. While Sen. McCaskill’s actions are nowhere near those of Sen. Joseph McCarthy decades earlier, the chilling effect that Congress can have on speech can’t be understated and shouldn’t be forgotten.

    ^^That’s nonsense.His right to his beliefs is absolute. But neither he nor anyone else has an unlimited right to say and/or do whatever he or she wants. For (just one very relevant) example, false statements of fact that can lead to the tortious harm of individuals are not necessarily protected.

    The comparison to McCarthyism is a false equivalency, therefore.

  157. #157 Narad
    June 29, 2014

    The comparison to McCarthyism is a false equivalency, therefore.

    Well, that and the part where Oz was invited.

  158. #158 Narad
    June 29, 2014

    And confusing HUAC with McCarthy.

  159. #159 Narad
    June 29, 2014
  160. #160 Militant Agnostic
    June 29, 2014

    MOB

    Who wants a squeaky snake, after all? Or a rusty one – I think its likely a good idea to use WD-40 or some equivalent on a closet snake after use to avoid rust.

    There is actually a product call Snake Oil that is intended specifically for treating sewer snakes to prevent rust after they have been cleaned.

  161. #161 Shay
    June 30, 2014

    Pesky thing, that Constitution. Everybody cites it, nobody ever reads it.

    Kind of like the Bible.

  162. #162 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    June 30, 2014

    There is actually a product call Snake Oil that is intended specifically for treating sewer snakes to prevent rust after they have been cleaned.

    It was too good an idea not to already exist, I guess. Clearly that idea won’t fund my retirement.

  163. #163 brewandferment
    June 30, 2014

    Who wants a squeaky snake, after all?

    well..how about a Sneaky Snake?

  164. #164 Surprised
    Pittsburgh
    July 11, 2014

    I felt the way Dr. Oz was ask to come to Washington was very underhanded. This was one of our representatives doing this? Dr. Oz would have come even if he know the true subject.
    I felt that Senator Claire McCaskill was grandstanding. Was this a way to wins votes!? I am a democrat, and this alone would make me change my party affiliation. I was actually embarrassed on how this how thing was managed.
    Dr. Oz at the end of each show asks for help in policing the use of his name to sell their products. I think that is the only attachment he has to those companies – they steal his name and use it until they are caught. i also feel bad for the people that are not smart enough to see that fraud.
    I agree with most of the points that have been written about in this blog. I hope everyone has seen the show. . .
    Anyway, my problem is how low the Senator went to do what?
    Has everyone read what Dr. Oz is involved with/in?

  165. #165 Politicalguineapig
    July 11, 2014

    Surprised: Dr. Oz would have come even if he know the true subject.

    Haha, you are either the most naive person on the ‘net, or Dr. Oz himself.

    I am a democrat, and this alone would make me change my party affiliation.

    Good, go join the ‘other science deniers, and don’t forget to go to some unspoiled natural place and litter for the glory of God.

  166. #166 Narad
    July 11, 2014

    Dr. Oz at the end of each show asks for help in policing the use of his name to sell their products.

    And this casts his hyping such products to start with in a better light how?

  167. #167 squirrelelite
    July 11, 2014

    Actually, I’d rather like it to be because she’s from Missouri, which is the “Show Me State”. It’s a very scientific and skeptical slogan. I’m willing to be convinced, but you have to “show me” the evidence. I won’t just take your word for it.

    Dr Oz, on the other hand, is quite willing to give his word that these things are good for you. He has a lot of trouble, however, when it comes time to show me (or anyone else such as Dr Novella) the evidence for his claims.

    Because his word is his brand, but not his bond or he’d be more careful with his statements, he devotes a lot of effort to protecting that brand, including his statement at the end of the show.

  168. #168 Narad
    July 12, 2014

    “Surprised” appears to simply be offering up a poorly assembled casserole involving Mr. Augie, Sr., Baylen Linnekin.

  169. #169 squirrelelite
    July 12, 2014

    Thanks for the link, Narad.

    They do seem to be drinking from the same well.

  170. #170 Antaeus Feldspar
    July 12, 2014

    I am a democrat, and this alone would make me change my party affiliation.

    A great loss, I’m sure.

  171. #171 Nico
    Wyoming
    August 1, 2014

    Thanks to Dr Oz we now have a Forskolin Guru. (https://www.facebook.com/ForskolinGuru)

    What next ?