But, that’s not what Dr. Oz said….

But, that’s not what Dr. Oz said….

But, that’s not what Dr. Oz said….

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There is no denying that media influences the way we think. Most of what we do is influenced by advertising; from the type of clothes we buy to the food we eat. Medical care is not immune to this. Think about how many commercials you see daily for one prescription drug or another. It may surprise you that there are only 2 countries in the WORLD which allow pharmaceutical companies to directly market to consumers. These are the United States and New Zealand. This is a very controversial topic, with the pharmaceutical industry stating that it informs consumers about healthcare options, while opponents claim that it leads to higher healthcare costs and potentially unnecessary treatment. This is an ongoing debate, which has even been discussed in Congress. The issue has yet to be settled.

Most direct to consumer advertising is obvious. You pick up a magazine or watch a commercial and there is the advertisement for the product. But, what about non-traditional advertising? Product placement in movies and television shows is a subtle, but effective, means of influencing the way we think. The next time you watch a movie or television show, pay attention to what the actors are eating, drinking, wearing, driving, etc. Those companies likely paid a lot of money to have their products prominently featured and are hoping to make a return on their investment by influencing your habits. Another way in which we are influenced is through the content of the television programs we watch. Once again, medicine is not immune to this. There are numerous medical shows on television, and even a dedicated medical channel (Discovery Health).

There was an article recently published in the British Medical Journal (The British equivalent to the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine) analyzing the recommendations made by two of the most popular medical talk shows currently airing, The Dr. Oz Show and The Doctors. (BMJ 2014; 349: g 7346). The goal of the authors was to assess the quality and efficacy of the recommendations made by the programs in reference to available scientific evidence, safety/risks, cost, and potential conflict of interest. They did this by randomly sampling 80 episodes from each show and comparing the recommendations made during each show against established medical research and reference databases. The study concluded: “Recommendations made on the medical talk shows often lack adequate information on specific benefits or the magnitude of the effects of these benefits. Approximately half of the recommendations have either no evidence or are contradicted by the best available evidence. Potential conflicts of interest are rarely disclosed. The public should be skeptical about recommendations made on medical talk shows.” In contrast, the authors state that 78% of medical interventions in a ‘real world’ medical practice have evidence supporting their efficacy and/or safety.

So, the take home point is that deliberate marketing and potentially misleading information surrounds us each and every day. This includes information which may skew your thoughts regarding medical care. Although seemingly obvious, the best thing to do is discuss any questions, concerns, or conditions you may have with your physician, rather than deferring to the internet or a popular television program.

Citations

  • Tippett E. Medical Advice from Lawyers: A Content Analysis of Advertising for Drug Injury Lawsuits. Am J Law Med. 2015;41(1):7-48. PubMed PMID: 26237982

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Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

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The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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