Oz 3

 In Sickness There is Wealth:
The Ethics of Oz 
An "overblown, overdone, overly-dramatic" story, Forbes says.
      March 26, 2012: In June 2011, a Forbes article savaged Dr. Mehmet Oz for turning his own colonoscopy into "a shameless play for ratings." In Oz's story for Time magazine, "the doctor recounts his harrowing ‘brush with death,’" even though his experience was absolutely routine, Forbes charges. "Oz...(describes) the extraordinary difficulty of sharing the heartbreaking news with his wife that he had a pre-cancerous polyp removed...it was a life-threatening crisis." 
    "The story is dramatic, heart rendering, poignant… and absolute hogwash," Forbes added. "So can we cut it out with the hysterics, Dr. Oz?

A pre-cancerous polyp is removed in one of every four colonoscopies.
     Oz packaged his dramatic ordeal into six suspenseful video installments that Forbes alleged "could only discourage others from getting this life-saving procedure." 
     All that was required to "fix the problem," Forbes said, was that the polyp was "quickly snipped from the colon."

     "Oz then expresses his angst over the question that filled his psyche, 'How could this happen to me?'"
    Val Jones, MD, of the Smart Health Commentary site writes, "Dr. Oz is behaving in a way that is an embarrassment to the medical profession and scientific community. He has sold out completely for the ratings game – it’s as if truth and integrity have no value for him. I don’t know which is worse – his snake oil, or the fact that it’s popular enough to potentially win him an Emmy." 
    In fact, he's now won two Emmys in a row, but he's also received the James Randi Foundation's "Pigasus" award  -- for promoting "nonsense" -- during the same two-year period. 
    The foundation lambasted Oz for his support of energy medicine, faith healing and psychic mediums. 
    " Oz has done such a disservice to his TV viewers by promoting quack medical practices that he is the first person to win two years in a row," the citation said. "Dr. Oz has promoted quack theories that have no scientific basis."
     Oz has dismayed many others in the medical community as well. Last April, Science Based Medicine's Dr. Steven Novella, a neurologist, was invited onto the TV show.
     "Dr. Oz controlled the framing of the discussion and made many fallacious points at the end that I was given no opportunity to respond to," Novella says.
    Novella had hoped to address what he regards as Oz's uncritical praise for homeopathy. Oz told his audience that homeopathy works, even though the mechanism may seem mysterious.
    "He stated this as a non-controversial fact, which was very misleading. Every objective review of the clinical evidence shows it to be ineffective for any ailment."
    Novella is probably exaggerating to say that there is "no" evidence supporting homeopathy. Most of the evidence does suggest a placebo effect at best, but that is the case with many pharmaceutical agents as well. And there may be actual homeopathic benefit for some conditions, according to sources that I regard as credible -- but Novella is probably right to say that Oz oversold it.
    John Rennie, who is associated with the prestigious PLOS organization and is former editor-in-chief of Scientific American, criticized an Oz segment entitled, “Why Is Your Doctor Afraid of Alternative Medicine?”
    "That title is all too typical of the framing that Oz uses throughout the show to flatter viewers into thinking that embracing unproven remedies makes them brave, independent thinkers."   

    Science Based Medicine's Dr. David Gorsky, a surgical oncologist, claims, "It’s a blatant appeal to the vanity of Dr. Oz’s audience, whose members are encouraged to feel not just like a maverick, bucking the system, but to feel superior to everyone else." 
     Gorsky continues: "Of late Dr. Oz has been getting worse, too, promoting pseudoscience and what can only be described, in my opinion, as quackery. The snake oil that Dr. Oz has promoted over the last several months includes an Ayurvedic yogi named Cameron Alborzian, who promoted highly dubious medicine, including 'tongue diagnosis,' to be followed a few days later by something I would never, even in my most cynical assessment of Dr. Oz, have expected, namely the appearance of faith healer Issam Nemeh on his show. Next, Dr. Oz advocated a regimen that he once dismissed as quackery, and then, to top it all off, invited psychic John Edward onto his show, asking, 'Is talking to the dead a new kind of therapy?"
Much-maligned "psychic" John Edward "changed my life," Oz said.
    Oz's promos promised to share "How to communicate with your loved ones on 'the other side,'" and offered "a 3-step program to reach the dead."
    "Could psychic mediums become the new therapists?" Oz asked. "There's a lot to think about here."
    Char Margolis, another psychic, said she could feel the presence of countless guardian angels in the studio. When Oz asked if he and his wife would be together for eternity in Heaven -- which is his wife's belief -- Margolis smiled inscrutably and said, "I'm sure lots of women here in this room would like to meet you in Heaven" (yet another "spontaneous" interchange that was most likely scripted by Oz's staff).
    Oz solemnly accepted Margolis's revelation that she could see his deceased grandfather, also named Mehmet, looming protectively over him. 
    Does Oz truly believe this? Is he walking around saying, like, "How about a few almonds now, buyuk baba? Wanna go for a walk around the block? It's a beautiful day!"
    One Oz guest was a doctor who advocates the theory that cancer can be cured with baking soda. 
    Another "out there" expert, Kathi McKnight, explained how you can diagnose your physical ailments by examining your handwriting. Your cursive, lower-case "f," specifically, represents your body, from head to toe. If one part of the upper right-hand part of the "f" juts inward, "you need to see a cardiologist right away," she said.
    "I'm astonished," Oz said soberly.

    Gorsky criticizes several of Oz's herbal recommendations as dangerous. The "wonderful solution for headaches" that Oz advocates is just one example.
    "Butterbur naturally contains components called pyrrolizidine alkaloids. They are toxic to the liver and may cause cancers," Gorsky writes. "The concentrations are often highest in the rhizomes and stalks, and lowest in the leaves, and may vary depending on where the plants are grown. Butterbur extract should be taken only when prepared by a reputable laboratory. Long-term health effects and interaction with other drugs have not been studied."
    Months later, butterbur was praised again on the Oz show for treating both migraines and allergies.
     Oz has become embroiled in such several controversies, which seem to stem from his need to present new and exciting recommendations every day, to keep his audience hooked. There is a palpable desperation in the show's efforts to dream something up to keep things speeding forth. All that brain-wracking behind the scenes is invisible, of course, but it's obvious.
    Oz has proposed countless herbal remedies without having any credible proof of effectiveness. Moreover, he rarely if ever mentions possible interactions, precautions or contraindications.
    For example, he urged viewers to try Guggul for stress. According to WebMd, this resin is used in Ayurvedic medicine for cholesterol, arthritis, hardening of the arteries, acne and weight loss, although its effectiveness for everything except acne is unproven. There is no mention of guggul having any application for stress. The herb also comes with a red-flag warning against taking it if you are on estrogen, and there are numerous side effects and contraindications.
      The Natural Standard database, which to which Oz links on his web site, gives B and C grades to guggul in treating several conditions, none of them stress-related.

    Oz's early disdain for the scandalous HCG diet seemed sober and principled. This highly dubious regimen involves getting daily injections of the prescription HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a hormone produced during pregnancy) and subsisting on only 500 calories a day. It became an Internet sensation, as countless marketers made something they claimed was a nonprescription dose of HCG available.
    "Ultimately, it destroys your metabolism, as you are essentially starving yourself. Another negative side effect is the loss of muscle mass, so much that you will no longer be able to effectively burn calories," Oz warned.
    But then he decided to share a "shocking revelation about this little-known weight loss miracle."
    He revealed that his wife had undergone the diet treatment, which seemed odd, since he knows of so many weight-loss "miracles" that are perfectly safe. "It was very effective," he said.
    UPDATE Jan. 8, 2014: (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/08/business/us-charges-4-companies-with-deception-in-weight-loss-products.html?hp) The FTC fines marketers millions for the deceptive marketing of HCG.
    "Dr. Oz spent the bulk of the show obtaining testimonials from HCG sellers and dieters, spent a scant amount of time with HCG detractors, mentioned that the complete and utter lack of medical evidence to support its use was counter-balanced by the four people he had in his audience who had succeeded in losing weight, called for further study, suggested it was worth a try, and wondered if future research into it may in fact lead to a cure for obesity," writes WeightyMatters.com Yoni Freedhoff, an Ottawa physician. "He totally sold himself out."
Lisa Oz is said she found the HCG diet to be effective.
    (Oz did a similar flip-flop on coconut oil. He's promoting it now: "Dr. Oz reveals the 3 most powerful health benefits of this tropical oil. Learn how it can help you lose weight, treat skin conditions and ulcers." 
    But in 2009, he wrote a widely distributed column, "Don't Monkey With Coconut Oil," in which he claimed, "Coconut oil is loaded with artery-clogging saturated fat and oozing with calories... despite the buzz on the street is that it’s a natural miracle food that can melt off unwanted weight, lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, fight heart disease and fend off cancer.")
    (Oz's respected friend, Dr. Andrew Weil, continues to oppose ingesting coconut oil for the same reasons that Oz did initially, and he denies that there is any evidence it aids in weight loss.)
    In December, 2011, The FDA and the Federal Trade Commission said over-the-counter weight loss products containing human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) are fraudulent and illegal, and the agencies ordered seven manufacturers to stop selling them.  
    A meta analysis in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that studies supporting HCG for weight loss were of poor methodological quality and concluded, "There is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity; it does not bring about weight-loss or fat-redistribution, nor does it reduce hunger or induce a feeling of well-being."
    "Critics say Dr. Oz promotes pseudoscience at best and quackery at worst, but despite this -- the man sells," writes eVitamin senior editor Michael Angelino. "Consumers trust his recommendations, retailers must stock his recommended products and manufacturers drool at the opportunity to get their products promoted on his show."  
    For years, long before he became a celebrity, Oz was criticized and ridiculed for incorporating unconventional methods into his conventional cardiac practice.
    He has, for example, employed energy healers to stand at the head of the operating room table during surgery to keep him attuned to any disruptions or imbalances of "Qi," or life force, that are occurring in the patient.   
    His wife is a Reiki master, which Oz's adversaries have used as further proof that he is too "out there" to be credible as a physician.
    Reiki is described by adherents as a holistic, "laying-on-of-hands" therapy that generates healing on physical, spiritual and emotional levels.
    The theory is that "balancing energy" flows through the practitioner's hands when they are placed on or near a patient.
   A 2008 systematic review of randomized clinical trials in the International Journal of Clinical Practice concluded that "the evidence is insufficient to suggest that Reiki is an effective treatment for any condition." 
    The American Cancer Society, and even the very open-minded National Center for  Complementary and Alternative Medicine, have also found that there is no clinical or scientific evidence that Reiki is effective for anything whatsoever. 
     I believe that there is much about Oz's TV show that is vulnerable to criticism, but I personally wouldn't argue with his openness to therapies such as Reiki and other forms of "energy medicine." In my article, "Its Touching," (http://kronstantinople.blogspot.com/2011/04/its-touching_12.html) I describe several incidents in which I was astonished at how effective touch can be in alleviating pain and inducing a feeling of well-being. I agree with Oz that this deserves further study.
    Oz came under early ethical criticism for his affiliation with the RealAge.com website, launched by his writing partner and friend, Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic. Between 1999 and 2009, an estimated 27 million consumers took the hugely hyped "free" real-age quiz. RealAge then sold massive amounts of identifiable personal medical data to drug companies, which began bombarding consumers with emails pertinent to the health problems, or potential problems, that they had revealed to RealAge.
    The test had received widespread publicity because of its affiliation with Oz, who had become famous on "Oprah," and was RealAge's adviser and chief spokesman.

    "His soothing, simple approach to health is reflected in RealAge’s message: You can change," according to a the New York Times. It became a "sensation" in the world of marketing.

    "While few people would fill out a detailed questionnaire about their health and hand it over to a drug company, that is essentially what RealAge is doing," the Times adds. "Yet the site claims to promote 'better living through nonmedical solutions'." 
    Its access to identifiable personal health information made RealAge very valuable. It was acquired by Hearst Magazines in 2007 for an estimated $60 million to $70 million, according to the Times. Though its net  income — and the fees it pays Dr. Oz -- are not public, it was posting about $20 million in annual revenues when Hearst acquired it. 

    Now that RealAge has been acquired by Oz's Sharecare -- as of March, 2012 -- it will brings a substantial user base, along with consumer behavioral expertise gleaned from all those tests, drawing on a database containing four billion health facts. 
    I have seen no discussion of whether RealAge's ethical issues have been cleaned up. Its merger into the massive Oz-Sharecare infrastructure certainly poses new challenges in the proper use of patient privacy, if in fact the firms even accept that "privacy" exists on such a site. It doesn't sound like it:
    "What's exciting about it is, because Sharecare's already a recommendation engine, we're going to be able to match people who've taken the test to doctors, or programs like Transformation Nation, or hospitals, or weight loss programs and other things – marry their data with our recommendation engine and not just deliver tips but introduce consumers to the appropriate providers and programs," Oz's partner in the Sharecare venture, Jeff Arnold, told Medical Marketing Media. 
    They're going to be "marrying" our data with their advertisers. Cozy. A match made in their profit-oriented concept of Heaven.
    In reading through the revised privacy policy, it appears that RealAge has tweaked the process such that it, not third-party firms such as drug companies, will send you targeted, personalized information about its commercial sponsors' products. The RealAge site thus becomes a buffer between the user and RealAge's "paying customers" in the healthcare industry. So it makes money off of your personal information while theoretically refraining from actually selling it. The site will also target the ads you see to take advantage of the information you have provided.     
     Sharecare also bought The Little Blue Book, a doctor directory, in January 2012, and will use it to match users to local physicians.

    During the years that Hearst owned RealAge, neither Oz nor Roizen was pictured on the site's home page, but the headline was, "Millions have taken Dr. Oz's and Dr. Roizen's RealAge test." And on every subsequent page (the site is huge), both doctors were pictured at the top.  
    RealAge helped make Oz famous, and he helped it to become famous. And they helped make each other rich. And now it seems destined to make him even richer, as the tentacles of his empire extend into ever more people's lives.

    "The Dr. Oz Show" and its affiliated websites and other ventures have become shamelessly commercial. 
    Dove skincare products remain a mainstay. The firm pays a lot to advertise on his show and on his his Sharecare web site, and it is often mentioned on his program.
     A typical example of "The Dr. Oz Show" approach to commercial sponsors is this: An advertisement from Eggland's Best is followed by a segment  in which Oz stressed that "even having an egg every day is perfectly healthy."
     An ad for Pedigree dog food is followed by an Oz show segment on canine oral health. Oz's guest, a veterinarian, recommended Pedigree's "Dentasticks," and the whole audience got a Pedigree oral health kit to take home.

    A segment on the superiority of the Mega Red brand of krill oil supplements over conventional Omega-3 products was rewarded with a slew of ads on his website.
    Oz himself voices several of the ads that appear regularly between segments of his show. Walgreen's is one of his most faithful backers.
    Oz did a segment on Ubiquinol, followed by an advertisement for Nature's Bounty's new Ubiquinol formulation.
     Just moments after a Metamucil commercial, Oz urged his fans to take the fiber supplement three times a day to "sop up" the cholesterol in their bodies. He used a striking dramatization to illustrate how it works.
    He didn't say "use psyllium husks" -- there are many less-expensive store-brand equivalents of Metamucil -- and he didn't say "soluble fiber," which can be found in many foods. He said METAMUSIL. Then he "awarded" a container of Metamucil to each ecstatic audience member, and said Metamucil is sponsoring a contest for a lucky fan to come to New York and MEET Dr. Oz. 
    (The maker of Metamusil, Procter and Gamble, is ecstatic about the attention its product got, and has sent out press releases touting the ongoing, "priceless" PR that the contest will generate.)
    Months ago, before Metamusil had paid its dues, Oz was promoting another soluble fiber supplement, the pricey PGX, as a "complement" to his "Age-Defying Diet."
    "PGX supplements contain one of the most powerful natural fibers available to help stabilize blood sugar, reduce appetite, and curb food cravings," he said. In fact, PGX is simply the common fiber supplement glucomannan, which Oz had previously promoted using the uncommon, rain-forest name for it, Konjac Root (which sounds more "exotic" -- an Oz priority).
     Oz has voiced Eucerin ads for some time, and in March, a woman wearing a lab coat with the firm's logo on the pocket appeared as a "guest expert" on the TV show. Her solution to the chronic problem of dry, aging skin was Eucerin's Calming Body Wash with Omega-3 (which "provides 24 hours of hydration") and Eucerin's Calming Moisturizing Cream (which is "free of fragrances and dyes"). I wonder how they "calm" you. It sounds so nice, and yet it also sounds like idiotic hype, which seems to be the norm in the self-care and beauty industries.
    The tone of the Eucerin segment was so much like that of an infomercial that the audience seemed palpably uneasy -- until it was announced that each guest would go home with a lovely gift basket of Eucerin products. All was forgiven!
    More and more brand-name products are slipping into the show, so much so that it often seems like one long commercial. His "Anti-Exhaustion Hot List," unveiled in March 2012, contains four items, all of them brand names, from a posture-promoter to a latte machine.
    Then, "Dr. Oz  searched high and low to bring you the most cutting-edge products available" for his "Anti-Aging Hot List," and once again the array of "must haves" consisted of four branded items. One of them, the Opal Sonic "micro massage device gently infuses anti-aging sea serum into the outer layers of the dermis, immediately reducing the appearance of crow’s feet and wrinkles," according to Oz. A clinical study showed that "when applied for just one minute a day, almost 100 percent of users saw a definite improvement," Oz assured his viewers. 
    This is overblown commercial hype from a sponsor -- not medical information from a doctor.

    He went all-out for his overall "2012 Hot List," selecting 18 brand name products, including the plastic Gaiam Balance Ball Chair ($70-$150), the Breville Juicer ($260) and the  $2,500 Dr. Breus Signature Bed (which is getting ripped to shreds on message boards by buyers) (they say they have to pay $400 to return it).  
 A special bed for very special, prosperous people.
    Oz has promoted dozens of products on his show -- brands of packaged foods, beauty products, nutritional products and weight-loss aids. He has also promoted branded cosmetic procedures and health/fitness related books. He has never disclosed the nature of his financial relationship with the companies whose products receive such invaluable exposure from him.
    I not only believe that he should disclose this information -- I believe the Federal Communications Commission should require all media under its purview to make their commercial arrangements transparent.

     A lot of the time, Oz almost seems to be daring someone to stand up and scream: "The Emperor has no clothes!"
    I have screamed some equivalent at the TV, along the lines of "You are so full of.....whatever!"
    One dear woman, who had been persuaded to confess her horrific stinky-feet problem to a nationwide audience, was advised by Oz to simply "soak them in straight vodka."
    There are surely many solutions to this problem, but vodka was more novel and certainly more memorable than most, and Oz loves to boggle our minds. 
    His TV show is broadcast in 214 countries. I wonder if the Russians see it. What must they think about this disrespect for their "national treasure"!
    (One might hope that the vodka could "chill you out" while un-stenching your "dogs," but when Danish researchers soaked their feet in it for three hours, they got no buzz whatsoever. "The alcohol did not penetrate the skin," the British Medical Journal sadly concluded in 2010.)
Your feet will be delicious.
     And when "Mythbusters" did a double-blind study in 2005, using vodka versus a common foot wash for stinky feet, the foot wash was deemed superior in eliminating odor, and much cheaper as well.

   But when Oz poured the a half gallon of that delicious elixir into the big pan, the stinky-feet lady did say it was refreshing. So is cool water!
    Several months earlier, another Oz guest with stinky feet was given a much more sensible solution: a teaspoon of baking soda in a quart of water. 
    And a couple of months later, Oz confided that he uses a stiff brush and lemon juice on his own sweaty feet. I wouldn't be surprised if he finds some way to incorporate meringue into this regimen. Because that would be a SHOCKING SECRET! and an INTIMATE REVELATION! and a MIRACLE REMEDY! 
    I love meringue. Especially with lemon!

    Another brave soul confessed that her body odor is so terrible  she has to shower twice a day, "and even then I can still smell myself."
    Dr. Oz's solution was elegant in its simplicity: Just splash apple cider vinegar into your armpits. "You won't smell like vinegar -- you'll just smell normal," he promised. (Oz confided a couple of months later that he uses aloe vera in his own armpits -- so he's sticky, not stinky -- and that aloe is a good laxative, too. Holy holism!)
     The vinegar that Oz suggested is a time-tested folk remedy for perspiration odor -- along with a whole bunch of others, such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, witch hazel, rosemary and tea-tree oil -- but Oz failed to warn his guest, as he so often does, that her body-odor problem may be a symptom of something more serious.
    Anyone who has such an extreme affliction may very well have an underlying nutritional deficiency or a medical condition -- such as diabetes or liver or kidney disease -- that should be addressed. His negligence in addressing this is surprising. He didn't even ask her about her diet or her menopausal status, which could be contributing factors. A competent doctor, even one who didn't claim to be "holistic," would surely have done more to help her with a problem that was so obviously traumatizing her. 

    In one of his recent "embarrassing questions" segments, a somewhat shy and apparently anxious young woman told Oz that she is drinking too much alcohol and asked for advice on how to stop.
   I thought, "Wow -- that's a big subject." He had dealt recently with the addictive behavior of anorexia in a very sensitive, perceptive way, so I expected something similar this time.
    His response, though, was shockingly dismissive.
    Just mix some sparkling apple juice with a bit of lemon juice and a few drops of lavender extract. "It's delicious and relaxing," he said.
    He had her taste it. 
    "Isn't it good?" he pressed her.  She acknowledged that it was "very good...really delicious."
     But people who are drinking too much liquor aren't doing it for the flavor. If they were, they could readily switch to Pepsi or fruit smoothies. They can't.
     I felt that she had wasted her courage. To me, it was really sad. She probably went home and headed straight for the bottle.

    Another example of a too-glib reply is when a guest asked what could be done about her dry mouth. Oz answered simply, "Suck on lozenges or chew gum." 
    That was it. He didn't enumerate the possible causes -- such as aging, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, anxiety, nerve damage to the head or neck, hundreds of prescription and OTC drugs, or the autoimmune disease Sjogren's syndrome. He didn't inform his audience that substantial oral-health problems -- tooth decay and periodontal disease -- can result from decreased saliva production, nor did he explain how to minimize these effects.

     For the ladies whose hair has lost its youthful luster, Oz has an amazing solution: Simply rinse it in club soda for "flawless, bright, baby-soft hair." This is another one of his magical solutions that one of his jolly interns must have dreamed up just for fun. It's ridiculous.
    Almond oil is "the best kept secret in the world" for stimulating hair growth, he says. Scented oils rubbed into the scalp and left overnight will give you thicker hair as well as an evening of aromatherapy.
     Frankincense  is an ancient remedy from Egypt, he says, to hydrate the skin and erase age spots.
     This stuff really is "junk science" (or not even science, really. It's junk folklore). I can't believe that Oz actually believes it. 
    Dr. Weil says there is some evidence that the essential fatty acid called GLA or evening primrose oil, available in capsules or soft gels at health food stores, taken orally, may be beneficial over time for thinning hair. He urges us to look for the causes of hair loss, such as stress or medications, and see if they can be addressed. Nutrition is also important, especially Omega-3, he says.

    Oz has taken a cue from the very unreliable, often totally fabricated, "ancient remedies" that have always been purveyed and romanticized by women's magazines.  The media have been trying for years to entice us with the supposed "intimate secrets" of such legendary femme fatales as Cleopatra, the Queen of Sheba, Delilah, Helen of Troy, Artemesia, Nefertiti, Bathsheba and Sappho. All sorts of products and homemade concoctions -- which seem so appealing in our chemical-clogged world -- purportedly replicate their natural approaches to becoming fabulously alluring. 
Which is Bathsheba and which the Queen of Sheba? All that matters is their beauty secrets!
    When I was young, my friends and I tried many of these pearls of wisdom, supplied to us by magazine "beauty experts" who, I realize now, had no idea what those women from ancient times looked like or what they did in the privacy of their slave-equipped boudoirs.
    We applied olive oil to our eyelashes overnight, just as Cleopatra supposedly did (Oz says it is "liquid gold" and "miracle in a bottle," which should be used inside and out and from our hair to our toes). We washed our faces with milk, added red wine to the bath, and massaged fragrant oils (or eggs and lemon juice) into our scalps. We pulverized almonds and mixed them with honey into a scrub. We smoothed mashed apricots and/or avocados on our faces and put slices of cucumber over our eyes. We rinsed our hair in flat beer. We searched in vain for snake venom (we even called the zoo) and for lotus tincture, which we had read would tighten our pores -- which we believed were way too huge (and they really were!).
    So we were more than 45 years ahead of Oz, and we could tell it was all a joke even then.

    It's harmless enough when you're sixteen to waste your time pretending to be living the life of historical royalty and eternal femininity, but it seems to me that Oz's viewers have (or should have) other priorities. 
    First, from what they say, they rarely have time even to cook dinner for their families or dash out for a 30-minute walk. Second, these "recipes for exotic beauty," while having some basis in science, are not the magical cure-alls they claim to be (milk and red wine, for example, contain alpha hydroxy acids, which aid in cell turnover, but the concentration is so low that any effect is certain to be undetectable). 
    "Black currant stops the hormonal process that leads to hair breakage and loss," Oz says. 
    How can black currant stop a hormonal process? And if it did, what else might happen to us besides getting better hair?  Hormonal processes are complex and many-faceted.
    Black currant is another source of the essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which influences prostaglandin synthesis and may provide relief for menopausal symptoms. Although Natural Standards database gives it an "inconclusive" rating for six conditions, it has no mention of hair benefits.
    Of course, hair breakage and loss are caused by a number of factors, some of which appear to be unrelated to with prostaglandins. Heredity, normal aging, medications, nutritional deficiencies, medical conditions such as low thyroid and autoimmune disorders, and harsh treatment can cause hair loss, either generalized, in a pattern, or in patches (Alopecia).
     However, Dr. Andrew Weil agrees with Oz that black currant oil is worth a try for six to eight weeks. There is some interesting NIH research that links prostaglandins to hair growth, although is isn't clear what other effects might occur from a substance that influences its synthesis.
Alopecia is a distressing condition.
   There is no one remedy for hair loss. Black currant is probably at least as promising as the other products promoted by Oz -- a $50 supplement, a $35 shampoo and a "revitalizing" conditioner that's $22 per bottle.


     Oz suggests that we "eat toothbrush foods" to save money on dental bills, and that we avoid acidic foods that "erode dental enamel." What's funny (kind of) is that three of his major picks -- apples, strawberries and celery -- consistently top the "Dirty Dozen" list, compiled annually by the USDA, for extreme pesticide residues (Oz recommends celery a lot, and I have never heard him mention this drawback. His famous green-drink recipe features three high-pesticide foods -- celery, spinach and apples -- and there is no reference to 'organic,' even though he characterizes this as "a favorite way to jumpstart my mornings"). 
    Even if we use foods that are not contaminated to help clean our teeth, we still need to brush and floss.
     Oz advises that we brush our teeth with strawberries, which he says are powerful teeth whiteners that contain both an astringent and vitamin C.  The astringent in strawberries "effectively aids in the removal of surface stains while vitamin C whitens teeth by clearing away plaque," he claims. (Oz didn't go so far as to claim that strawberries are his personal tooth-whitening product. How much do you want to bet that they're not? He just uses them to polish his ratings and his "buzz." I bet he doesn't use frankincense either!)
     Aside from the pesticide issue, strawberries are expensive. They are acidic, which is bad for the teeth, although the form of acid they contain, ellagic acid, is otherwise beneficial as an antioxidant
    Oz friend and occasional guest Dr Deepak Chopra recommends an interesting concept in his 2001 book "Perfect Health." Oil Pulling, or OP, is an Ayurvedic approach that involves rinsing the mouth with olive oil (or sesame or sunflower oil), not only to whiten teeth but also "to purify the taste-buds and the entire system." 
This "purification" ritual is widely practiced in India.
    According to this life science, Chopra explains, the tongue is mapped by organ-locations -- that is, each section of the tongue is connected to the kidneys, lungs, spleen, liver, heart, pancreas, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine. Thus, an oil-mouth-massage soothes and stimulates the key meridians where taste meets organ. 
     Yes, it sounds a little crazy, but it's a lot more interesting than the Oz-recommended strawberry mash and his $34 AO ProVantage Mouth Gel.

    "A crunchy apple acts like a toothbrush as you chew it," Oz says. "The process of chewing an apple removes excess food and bacteria from your mouth (isn't all of it 'excess'?) while scrubbing away surface stains. Apples also contain malic acid, a chemical used in teeth whitening products, which helps dissolve stains."
    He tells us to avoid acidic foods, and then he recommends them. My dentist told me years ago that apples -- even those without the pesticides -- are worse for your teeth than candy bars, due to their high acid content (phosphoric, citric and quinic acids, as well as malic). 
     A British study in 2011 determined that people who ate apples were 3.7 times more likely to have dentine damage than those who drank soda. Some apples contain as much as four teaspoons of sugar, which contributes to increased levels of acid in the mouth.
    "Apples must be demoted from their position of eminence as foods 'good for teeth'," a paper in the British Medical Journal, filed in the National Institutes of Health library, concluded.
    Of course, we shouldn't stop eating apples and other wholesome acidic foods, but we shouldn't regard them as tooth cleansers -- quite the opposite: We need to rinse our mouths out thoroughly as soon as possible after consuming them. 

    Oz also tells us that "raisins help to keep your teeth white by inducing saliva production. An increased level of saliva naturally helps to rinse away plaque."
    It seems counterintuitive to recommend a sweet, sticky food for oral health. Raisins are excellent sources of antioxidants, but a quarter cup contains 25 grams of sugar and 125 calories. No amount of saliva is going to wash away those numbers! Raisins are "extremely inflammatory" and carry a high glycemic load, according to the Nutrition Facts database. It seems prudent to eat them in moderation and find other ways to "induce saliva production."
   Instead of carrying around lip balm in your purse, just suck on a tea bag, Oz recommends, in yet another TV segment of dubious value. He urges us to watch out for "the key warning signs of LIP BALM ADDICTION!" 
    I have using lip balm for decades, and I don't consider it an addiction; it is just a sensible component of self-care. I don't want to suck on a tea bag! 
    Our lips lack sebaceous glands and need to be moisturized. Oz doesn't warn us about being facial moisturizer "addicts" -- in fact he's an advocate of daily facial moisturizing -- yet our faces have much more natural moisture than our lips do.

    One day, he introduced "my new iced beverage that does it all." (He has so many beverages that "do it all," you would think he'd be DONE!) This time it was rosemary herbal tea, which "boosts your memory by enlivening the hippocampus, reduces bloating, promotes relaxation and protects you from the carcinogens in grilled meat."   
    According to the Natural Standard database, "Well-conducted human trials investigating rosemary are lacking. Rosemary appears to hold promise in the improvement of mental state when used in aromatherapy and as a treatment for hair loss." Dr. Weil and WebMd concur that rosemary, used in aromatherapy, seems to have benefit in treating some forms of hair loss. None of them -- or any researcher I could locate -- mentioned meat, or the hippocampus. 
Rosemary has a bright, piney flavor.
        Cellulite is another perennial complaint, and Oz has offered several "solutions," some of them requiring an expensive trip to a "medical spa."
Boy, does that look familiar.
      But he promises that a very messy scrub of coffee grounds, olive oil and brown sugar will smooth out your cellulite, a process that he calls "a wonderful part of busting that booty problem." Rub it into your butt and thighs, and wait for the magic to happen (although where and how do you sit in the meantime?)
    May the force be with you.

    He has a mind-bogglingly simple way to deal with the debilitating chronic pain of herniated discs.
Dr. Oz stabs a herniated disc, creating a fluid-spewing  annular tear.
   By slashing a herniated disc in one of his big-toy models, he showed how the tear allows inflammatory fluid to be released, creating pain, spasms and loss of mobility. "It can be excruciating," he said.
    All you need to do to relieve the pain -- and this is such a cool "secret" -- is to rub the area with castor oil (a laxative), wrap yourself in plastic wrap and lie on a heating pad for 30 minutes. Voila -- pain relief! More magic. 
    I happen to have three herniated discs and at least one annular tear. I gamely tried the castor-oil thing -- I thought, "Maybe it really will work, even though it sounds plain crazy! Laxatives are pretty magical!" -- but it gave me no more relief than my usual 30 minutes on the heating pad, which ends pretty much as soon as I get off the heating pad. 
    Castor oil is a folk remedy for arthritis, but the dynamics of a herniated disc with an annular tear are entirely different. 
    One of Oz's top two alternative therapies is equine therapy. While I feel sure that spending time with a beautiful, gentle horse -- just like spending time with a loving dog or cat -- can be very therapeutic, it seems absurd to recommend it, except for its novelty. How many of us have access to a horse?


     In March, 2012, Oz announced his "must have" new health device of the year: an inversion table. I have been attracted to these for years, since I suffer from back pain, but each time I was poised to buy one, I reviewed the medical literature and was thoroughly dissuaded. 

Yes, it looks totally fun, but you need to read the warnings.

   Many  people can undoubtedly use inversion tables safely, but a high percentage of people in middle age or beyond probably cannot. The devices are not recommended for those with heart disease or high blood pressure, for those who take anticoagulants, and for those who have osteoporosis. They should be avoided by anyone who has had a complete knee or hip replacement, or is obese, or has a flushing disorder, such as rosacea or cutaneous lupus, or intraocular pressure, including glaucoma, and by pregnant women. The caveat that these devices might cause a stroke has persisted. They can worsen some spinal conditions. These contraindications  encompass a lot of people.

    Oz mentioned no precautions whatsoever. This seems grossly irresponsible to me.


    Oz has urged his lady fans to "learn lifesaving lessons from your husbands." What he means is that they should be "slipshod" and "don't make your bed anymore -- that's today's takeaway tip." Leaving the sheets exposed will reduce the number of dust mites in your bed, he explained.

    But a few weeks later, when he took viewers on a rare trip into his home, his magnificent master bedroom included, of course, an expertly made bed, piled with big, satiny decorative pillows. 

    Some of Oz's advice is simply counter to everything that every credible source has been saying, and documenting, for years. For example, he has repeatedly advised us to take calcium on an empty stomach, with two glasses of water. 

Hydrochloric acid is essential to calcium absorption.
    That would work if you were taking calcium citrate, which is a more expensive form of the mineral and accounts for less than 15 percent of calcium sales. Calcium carbonate, which makes up the rest, must be taken with food to be absorbed. The food stimulates the secretion of gastric (hydrochloric) acid, which is necessary for the calcium to dissolve in the stomach and be assimilated. 
    He also advised dabbing Vitamin E on a cold sore or applying a tea bag to it, or eating some yogurt. He didn't mention the most effective natural remedy for cold sores by far, which is L-lysine.  This amino acid doesn't just provide soothing topical relief, although it is available in ointment form. 
    Taken orally, it can stop a cold sore from developing if you take it as soon as symptoms (such as a tingling on the lips) appear, and it dramatically reduces the severity and duration of a cold sore, even if you neglect to begin taking L-lysine soon enough. This remarkably effective remedy has been well-known for years and is accepted even by the conventional medical establishment. Thanks to L-lysine, I have not had a cold sore since the late 1980s. 

    There is no reason to mess around with Vitamin E for this malady.

    Oz advises that you use the Himalayan Salt Inhaler Immunity Booster if you're feeling "run down." This $30 "ancient remedy," a ceramic container filled with Himalayan salt crystals, is used as an inhaler "to calm and cleanse your airways," he says, probably quoting the package. How does it calm? How does it cleanse? (What about the Neti Pot? What about snorting garlic puree and one-nostril beathing? How do we juggle this wonderland of nasal options and still have time for our eyes, ears, noses and throats, not to mention our bellies and butts (and wrinkles!)?
    The whole inhaler premise is confounding to me. How can we tell if our airways aren't "calm"? How does the inhaler moisturize our airways? Where does the moisture come from (there is no water in the inhaler)? How does the salt get into our membranes? Wouldn't salt particulates draw moisture out of our membranes rather than adding moisture?
    I checked several online sites, and everyone of course -- including Amazon.com -- had sold out.
Exotic, ancient, inscrutable -- just what we need! But Himalayan salt is pink.

     The salt (which is "completely pure, since it's from the Himalayas") (get real, Oz, no place is pure anymore. And do you really think the salt is from there? ) "(makes your mucus membranes) better able to clear irritants."  (I wonder if Oz knows that the world-famous pashmina goats are hanging out up there, in the Kashmir region of the Himalayas, undoubtedly peeing and pooping up a storm, as they are certainly entitled to do. So much for "completely pure" salt!)

They mess up the salt, but they give us cashmere. Seems fair.

    Actually, a 2002 investigation by by the international nonprofit Tourist Watch and the Pakistan Holistic Health Society agreed that there are no salt mines in the Himalayas. The salt is actually mined in the Khewra mine in Pakistan, one of the largest, busiest salt mines in the world (and probably not very sanitary -- it's a big, industrial operation). The salt can contain up to 84 trace elements, some of them metals. It is unclear to me how this would benefit -- or damage -- your lungs and nasal passageways.

Himalayan salt: Is it a spiritual wonder, or just pretty? And is it true that some
 of it  is dyed to convey the desired magical and otherworldly radiance?

    "I recently reviewed the mineral content of Himalayan salt sold by several natural products companies and wholesale suppliers. I became alarmed when I saw the fluoride content at whopping 192 mg.," says a 50-year nutrition health researcher and editor of Natural Health News. "I no longer recommend it for anything except as a gourmet conversation-starter. I certainly wouldn't breathe it."

   Regular Oz guest Dr. Joe Mercola is peddling Himalayan salt for kitchen use, even though "the suppliers of this salt have no standard infrastructure available and we have to work through people that have no idea of how normal business operates. It has to be hauled through several countries and takes two years to get here." That doesn't sound too pure!

Mercola's 16'' x 8 '' Himalayan salt slab is $40.00.


    "It has vibrational energies," he adds. That doesn't sound too scientific! But it is representative of the wind-chimey, mystical benefits that are attributed to this salt by those who are trying to sell it.

    In fact, none of the claims for this "miracle" substance, which is used in lamps and for bathing, as well as cooking and inhaling, has been substantiated, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

    Himalayan salt, along with olive oil, has been named as one of the top ten global products that is most likely to be deceptively labeled, diluted or tainted. No health claims have been substantiated for the salt, according to a review of the literature by eHow.com, which concludes that it is yet another foodie fad.

    It seems that Oz would have done a bit more homework on this product and the science behind it before causing an online stampede that has yet to end.

      I find that irrigating my sinuses with a $1.00 turkey baster and plain old American salt works pretty well. Clean as a whistle without actually whistling. And much more thorough than a Neti pot.

When he's done, he'll be mining Himalayan salt for your inhaler.

     There is yet another inhaler for when you're stressed, which is so cool, according to Oz. The Escents Stress Relief Aromatherapy Inhaler propels the scents of bergamot, lavender, eucalyptus, petitgrain, and jojoba "straight to the amygdala – the brain’s fear and anxiety center – creating an immediate sense of calm and lowering your blood pressure," the Oz site promises. I believe this is hype that is intended to create a placebo effect.

 (When Oz tells us that rosemary floods the hippocampus and bergamot surges into the amygdala, how can he know that?  I have searched and searched for anything that comes close to corroborating these claims -- such as fMRI studies -- and I can't find them.)

    If you manage to find the Escents product, please let me know how it works for you (although, at the time of this writing, the product had completely sold out). But you've inhaled eucalyptus or lavender, haven't you? Do you feel that it went straight to your amygdala? If so, was that a a good thing? It seems to me that it could go either way.

    All you need for a blissful night's sleep is to eat a banana. "It will put you right out," Oz assures us.
   But his most outlandish claim with respect to sleep is this:  
    Two tablespoons of almond butter before bed "makes four hours of sleep as good as eight." 
    Show me credible proof of this, Dr. Oz, and I'll give you my house. That way, when you come here to ski, you'll have a big, cozy, gorgeous estate where you can relax in privacy. I'll be the one in the frilly chambermaid costume.
   Since 2 T. of almond butter isn't likely to do much besides add more than 200 calories and 19 grams of fat to your diet, "just 60 drops of lemon balm extract before bed will act as a sedative and muscle relaxant," Oz says, and it can be used to get cranky kids to "chill out" as well. (Having to stand there and dispense 60 drops would in itself make me cranky.)
    The Natural Standard database notes that lemon balm has been used in Portuguese folk medicine as a sleep aid, but it only gets a "C" grade from the researchers. 
   Chia seeds and popcorn really do help put you to sleep, Oz says, and a glass of tart cherry juice two hours before bedtime "will give you sweet dreams." 
Keep us posted about how sweet your dreams are.
     Put a warm cloth over your jaw to "relax facial muscles and prevent tooth grinding while you sleep," he urges.
       Or you can take valerian tea to "sleep all night and wake up refreshed," he says. 
    Dr. Weil agrees that valerian is an effective sleep aid, but not in the diluted form of a tea.
    "Take one to two capsules of an extract standardized to 0.8% valerenic acid a half hour before bedtime," he counsels.
    "Lavender tea actually alters the neurotransmitters," Oz claims, without explanation. 
    I think we need an explanation, when we are being assured by a medical doctor that an herb, in a highly diluted tea form (or even a concentrated form) can alter neurotransmitters. What research has been done to corroborate this? I can't find it. 
    Natural Standard research reports give lavender a "C" grade for affecting anxiety, agitation and depression, and warns that it should be avoided by those who have eating disorders or who take sedatives or antidepressants.  
    Dr. Weil said adding a bit of lavender oil to your bath may provide relaxing aromatherapy benefits.

    Anti-aging baths are a relaxing way to remain "calm and beautiful," Oz says. (Who writes this stuff? Baths don't keep you beautiful -- and not calm for very long -- and these aren't anti-aging baths, and anyway Oz has told us to have a quick, lukewarm shower and then GET OUT OF THERE to protect the skin's natural moisture barrier.)
     Try a seaweed bath to  reduce the appearance of cellulite; bathe in beer to ease psoriasis; or have a turmeric bath to sooth arthritic joints, he says, "to be the best that you can be."
    It was wise to refer to these as "Bizarre Baths," since they have no scientific basis. 
    The beer bath is especially bizarre. The only link which beer has to psoriasis is that it can CAUSE psoriasis. In a 2010 study, women who drank more than two beers a week increased their chances of developing psoriasis by 72 percent, according to the Archives of Dermatology.
    As for the seaweed bath to minimize cellulite, Dr. Andrew Weil best sums up the experience of every woman I know: "The fact is that apart from weight loss done the old-fashioned way - via eating less and/or exercising more - there is no effective way to reduce cellulite. Unfortunately, as you get older and connective tissue becomes less taut, some of this dimpled fat is likely to be visible whether you're in good shape or not."
     With respect to the turmeric bath, the Natural Standard database of scholarly research says the spice taken internally might soothe arthritis, but gives it only a "C" grade for that purpose. Turmeric has many claimed benefits in Europe, none pertaining to arthritis. 
    In India, the spice is believed to be helpful in treating several conditions when taken internally. Also, a concentrated poultice is sometimes put on an aching joint and wrapped with gauze. But turmeric in such a diluted form as a bath -- and for such a brief duration -- is not cited in the literature as having any benefit.
    These "Bizarre Baths" are just more gimmicks, dreamed up to fill time on the TV show.


    A quarter cup of pumpkin seeds (or oatmeal or cottage cheese) will help you sleep (since they contain tryptophan, which is a precursor to 5-HTP, which is a precursor to serotonin, which is a  precursor to melatonin, which helps you sleep) (Oz always forgets to mention the 5-HTP phase). 
    And why take a precursor to a precursor to a PRECURSOR of melatonin (which then has to be processed by the pineal gland before it becomes melatonin -- how long must that take?)  -- one that has more than 300 high-fat calories and will require that you floss all over again -- when you can just take a safe, inexpensive melatonin tablet? 
This shows the conversion of tryptophan to 5-HTP to serotonin. THEN melatonin is produced.
    But that sounds kind of boring compared to the shocking and amazing ideas that Oz prefers. So another insomnia remedy, much flashier than all those other TV doctors dream up, is pulque, which Oz describes as "a thousand-year-old native Mexican milk-colored alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant (a type of agave)" that is high in melatonin. 
Yum -- fermented maguey sap. It's sleepytime in a wine glass.
    "While it is an age-old drink, it is becoming quite trendy these days," his web site says. And trendy says it all. It will become passe as soon as the Oz posse discovers another "ancient remedy."

    Watermelon, Oz exclaims, is "Nature's Viagra," in case you find sex to be a helpful sleep aid. So are pumpkin seeds, so if you're taking them to put you to sleep, be prepared for another reaction.
    (During the summer, I single-handledly eat a 30-pound watermelon a week, and it hasn't given me even the slightest tingle, sparkle, flush or tremble. How about you?). 
   Apparently Oz is referring to a 2008 study, in which scientists found that watermelon contains large amounts of the plant nutrient citrulline, which enhances the cardiovascular and immune systems. The chemical can relax blood vessels and improve blood flow, in much the way that Viagra's active ingredient does. But, unlike Viagra, it doesn't target any one organ, the researchers say. It simply improves overall blood flow in the body. Moreover, most of watermelon's citrulline is found in the inedible rind of the fruit.  
     The tabloid media made a big deal of this research by sensationalizing it shamelessly when it was released. Oz simply followed suit, four years later.
    Oz mentioned cherry juice as a sleep aid some time ago, but in March 2012, guest nutritionist Pina LoGiudice recommended the Montmorency cherry, which she said contains six times as much melatonin as regular cherries. "You can find these special cherries in some fine food stores when they are in season," she says.
    Doesn't sound too promising, but we can drive all over town yet again and see if anyone carries them. (or we can always turn to Oz-approved Chinese formulas like Bu Nao Wan or Suan Zao Ren Tang.)
    The herb Tongat Ali, one of Oz's secret exotic tonics, creates "intense orgasms" and is "one of the most powerful aphrodisiacs on earth." The nitrates in beer "increase sexual arousal by stimulating blood flow." And if you need a little more help, he winks, "saliva works very well."
A rain-forest secret that creates intense orgasms. Is the praying necessary?
    To improve your mood, just eat eggs and broccoli.  
    A study "just out" says if you quit smoking, it will take 13 years off your face in nine months, Oz says. This is yet another example of his show's contempt for the truth in its quest to remain riveting. I assume that most of Oz's viewers simply rolled their eyes and dismissed this "study." It's not valid.
    Moreover, the smoking study is not "just out." It was done in 2009, in Italy, and it was so lacking in scientific merit that the media completely ignored it. Practically everyone I know, including me, smoked for decades (it's really fun). All of us quit, and nothing whatsoever happened to our faces. (Ironically, an Italian study the following year found that the tobacco plant contains anti-aging and antioxidant properties -- a mix of peptides, amino acids and sugars that seem to have an impact at the genetic level. A miracle cosmeceutical can't be far behind.)
    To improve brain function, consume soy isoflavone supplements (50 mg), which slim your thighs, which somehow clears up brain fog. (?) My thighs are already slim, thank you, but my brain is horribly foggy, especially when I watch "The Dr. Oz Show." When I return to reality, I think: What just happened to me?

     On his web site, there is an invitation: "This is your chance to be on the show and tell Dr. Oz all that he has taught you!"
     That strikes me as funny. It's also pretty egotistical. I'd like to teach him a thing or two -- not about medicine, of course, but about reporting the truth. I am a reporter.
     Oz says, "I want you to visit the web site every day and use what's there so you can take control of your life."
    That is an exhausting proposition. I was in much better control before I started watching his show and pondering the pros and cons of his tsunami of MIRACULOUS MIRACLES!!
    His fans who leave comments on the site are hilarious. They are so confused by the TV show, they're positively dizzy. They are overwhelmed. They couldn't take notes fast enough, and he listed so many "essentials," so now they're in a panic (Oz has an app for that). They're madly sending posts back and forth, trying to fill in everyone else's incomplete or incomprehensible take on what the Good Doctor actually said. At least a third of them are positively disgusted and incredulous at all the "junk" he "throws out there."
    Much of the web site is not very professionally written, but more importantly, it induces massive neurological overload. Everywhere you look, there is a list of enticing questions and headlines that are as scary, intriguing, vitally important and sexy as those on his show. You don't know what to click first! You'll never get out of there, it's all so fascinating.
    No wonder Mehmet Oz is in such a good mood. He has us all right where he wants us: In love with him, and on the edge of our chairs, ready and willing to jump through the next hoop he puts out there.
Yes, this really is me, thanks to Dr. Oz's age-defying recommendations.

    My mother, who prides herself on rarely watching TV, and certainly not during the day, recently confided that she tries to arrange her schedule so she'll be busy in the kitchen when "The Dr. Oz" show comes on and she can listen while she's "doing something constructive."
    It's not that she necessarily believes most of it, or learns much that she didn't already know. (She is a bona fide nutrition expert.)
   "I'm just kind of addicted," she laughed. "I'm afraid I'll miss something."
    That's how I feel as well. I'm afraid that one day he might actually live up to his hype, and he really will tell us the "amazing secret to have young skin forever" or the "mysterious elixir that will prevent cognitive decline and even make you get smarter with every passing year." 

    In the meantime, watching his show is a bit like Dumpster diving. You have to wade through the garbage to find anything worth holding onto, but it's an entertaining sport.
   I really like Mehmet Oz, in spite of all the crap. He's kind of like the whore with a heart of gold, only his is real, multimillon-dollar, solid gold. And he really is a whore. But he totally is a doll. But why does he have to be such a whore? 
    When he smiles and says, with that twinkle in his eye, "See you next time," don't you feel like saying, "Don't go -- I don't want to wait that long"?
The heart of gold that fed us so much mockery.
    "The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed," to quote "Oxymandias," by Percy Bysshe Shelley, who should have called it "Ozymandias."
    Like his fellow Republican George W. Bush, he's the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with. Or, to erase a grammatical wrinkle, the kind of guy with whom you'd like to have a beer.