As you know (unless you’ve been living under a rock with no access to cable for the past year), Oprah Winfrey has recently retired from her daily talk show after 25 years on the air. I was an off-and-on viewer for decades, like many of you. But her departure may leave some doctors rejoicing. Why? Because, according to physician Dr. Jen Gunter:
“Oprah is the Supreme Empress of medical woo, disseminating the greatest combination of medical mumbo jumbo and snake oil the world has ever seen.”
Former Winnipegger Dr. Jen is an obstetrician/gynecologist, pain specialist and author of The Preemie Primer whose views represent a surprisingly large number of concerned former viewers, including me. I especially liked Dr. Jen’s succinct wrap-up of the four big reasons she will not miss Oprah:
“1. Talking about The Secret. That’s a nifty little book that says good stuff happens to you if you only believe that it will. I guess that means that everyone with cancer, well, you just didn’t wish enough to be healthy. The Secret is insulting. Yes, thinking positive does have an impact on health, but The Secret implies that if your life sucks or that you are sick, well, ultimately it’s all your fault for not wishing it all away. Apparently, if you have cancer or heart disease, well, you just didn’t wish hard enough to be well.
“2. Giving anti-vaccine nut job Jenny McCarthy air time (two shows!) – never mind that there is not any published research to support McCarthy’s beliefs that vaccines cause autism. I guess the staff at Oprah’s show don’t bother with a little thing called fact-checking. After McCarthy appeared on Oprah, she was launched into the daily newspaper headlines – and pediatricians everywhere still haven’t recovered. And measles, well, that’s on the rise. And pertussis.
“3. Giving Suzanne Somers a platform to spout off about her bizarre bio-identical hormone obsession. Hormone replacement therapy has real risks, even more so for women like Somers who are breast cancer survivors. Somers is apparently far more of an expert than, say, a reproductive endocrinologist.
“4. Promoting Dr. Christiane Northrup. Northrup tells women not to get the HPV vaccine because in her opinion HPV isn’t the cause of cervical cancer, but a weak immune system is the culprit. Never mind that Northrup hasn’t published one research article and that the Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to the researcher who made the connection between HPV and cervical cancer. Another biologically implausible idea of Northrup’s is that dyspareunia (that’s painful sexual intercourse) is due to male circumcision. Yup. I have seen many partners of women with dyspareunia, wracked with guilt that they caused their partner’s condition.”
© 2011 Dr. Jen Gunter
Read more from Dr. Jen Gunter at her blog.
See also: Why Oprah Is Not Your Doctor