Health News Review

On his “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” program on HBO, the host tore into Dr. Oz, his Senate testimony last week, and the regulation (or lack thereof) of nutritional supplements.  The segment discusses Senators Harken and Hatch and their roles in the latter.  It includes classic Oz clips, like talking with Cameron Diaz about what your poop should look like. And, at the very end, don’t miss actor Steve Buscemi tap dancing and the marching band.  All with a message for Oz about engaging the audience.

One of my favorite parts:

“Oliver: He says he wasn’t paid to mention any particular products so why say those things on TV at all?”

(clip of Oz in Senate testimony:) “To engage viewers I use flowery language. I used language that was very passionate.”

Oliver: “That make sense because we’re all looking for flowery language from our physicians…. ‘Like the sunlight shines upon the hidden grassy meadow so does chlamydia cast a warm glow up on your private parts.’ “

I often thought that John Stewart and Steven Colbert sometimes produced some of the best health care news criticism.  Now their ex-colleague Oliver joins that list.

Addendum on June 24:

Kat Whitfield responded to one of Dr. Oz’s Senate testimony statements with a visual fact-checker, below:


Follow us on Twitter:

and on Facebook.



Tom Hennessy posted on June 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Why say anything about them at all? Don’t say anything about Green tea? Why not. He is an accredited doctor with an opinion. Whatever he says can be backed up with Science. Just because it isn’t proven to the ‘full extent of what detractors want’, doesn’t mean they are not, in theory, capable of doing what he says. Vitamin E was shown to be efficacious almost sixty years ago and to this day is still not even prescribed for retinopathy in a newborn because of the pharmaceutical influence in medicine. Niacin, touted as a miracle supplement, still not prescribed by doctors because of influential pharmaceutical companies and those in medicine with vested interest. If the interest of the common man were of any value in the debate, an accredited doctor should be the last person to be taking flak. They got Trudeau , Lendon Smith and tried to get the Shute brothers, but they were Canadian, out of reach of the American pharmaceutical companies, but Harvard were able to discredit vitamin E research. Must have taken some doing..

    Gary Schwitzer posted on June 25, 2014 at 7:03 pm


    “An accredited doctor with an opinion” does not equate to scientific evidence.

    One is subjective. The other is objective.

    Niacin, a miracle supplement?

Tom Hennessy posted on June 26, 2014 at 4:22 am

“Niacin, a miracle supplement?”

In Psychosis, parents have used the word.

“Nicotinic mechanisms in the treatment of psychotic disorders: a focus on the α7 nicotinic receptor”

    Gary Schwitzer posted on June 26, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Parents using a word doth not evidence make.

      Tom Hennessy posted on June 26, 2014 at 9:10 am

      Published evidence is all which seems to be accepted, but when publishing is refused does one simply quit on their patients? Lendon Smith refused to quit so they got him on mail fraud. Trudeau got more time than some murderers.

      “psychiatric journals refused to publish Abram Hoffer’s controlled studies showing that niacin cured many forms of mental illness”

      Gary Schwitzer posted on June 26, 2014 at 9:38 am


      Let’s cut this short because we appear to be jumping around and getting off track here.

      You first wrote that a physician’s opinion is valid evidence – that “whatever he says can be backed up with science.” I disagreed.

      You then wrote that it was parents’ opinions that niacin was a miracle. I countered that.

      I’m not saying anything about published evidence here. You brought that up. I didn’t.

      In the hierarchy of evidence, you can’t get much lower than the value of opinion.

      If you want to follow Dr. Oz’s opinions, have at it. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion.

Tazia K. Stagg posted on June 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Mr. Hennessy, you opened with John Oliver’s question “why say those things on TV?” but you dodged it and redirected. Why not answer it? Choose any statement from the infographic and fact-check it. Show us how you can prove to yourself that “Whatever [Dr. Oz] says can be backed up with [science].”