Migraine Information - Should Dr. Oz Go Back to School?
When Dr. Oz talks, millions of people listen, including those times when he talks about Migraines. Unfortunately, both his television show segments and his web site are awash with incorrect or outdated information. While I don't like "picking on" people, this is just too important to not speak up.
Yesterday, the television was on in my office, and The Dr. Oz Show was on. The word "Migraine" caught my attention, and there he was, showing a diagram of blood vessels in the brain and talking about how the blood vessels are involved in a Migraine attack. I went to his web site and found this article, "Women and Strokes: Unique Risks & Uncommon Symptoms." Under the lesser-know risk factors for stroke, I found Migraines listed. Here's the first sentence of that section:
"Migraine headaches, which are more common in women then in men, are vascular headaches that cause blood vessels to spasm."
First of all, Migraines aren't exactly headaches. They're episodes, flares, or attacks of Migraine, which is a genetic neurological disease. A headache can be one SYMPTOM of a Migraine attack, but quite debilitating Migraine attacks can occur with no headache at all. The second issue is that the "vascular theory" has been disproven. Migraine is not a vascular disease; it's neurological. In fact, in 2010, Dr. Andrew Charles of UCLA presented research at the American Headache Society's Scottsdale Symposium, that showed that vasodilation does not always occur during a Migraine and that:
"Vasodilation may occur as part of the disorder, but is not required for Migraine pain."
So, here we have a celebrity physician who reaches an audience of millions and is giving them incorrect and outdated information. This is a huge disservice, not only to his audience, but to all Migraineurs. Another truly sad fact about this entire issue is that other Migraineurs and I have emailed Dr. Oz through his web site over and over again about the inaccuracies. Never, however, have any of us received a reply.
This is just one example of the outdated or incorrect information on Dr. Oz's show and web site. Unfortunately, we haven't been keeping track of all of them, but one that Ellen and I remember well is an article on the site that listed the muscles into which Botox is injected for migraine prevention. Was it correct? Nope!
We've also been noticing on his television show that he frequently recommends that people take certain dietary supplements, even saying how much should be taken. Wow! Seriously? How can he, a doctor, do that? We should all check with a doctor before trying supplements - OUR OWN DOCTOR! Only our own doctor can review our medical history and knows about all of our health issues and what other medications we take. How can it be safe for someone who has never examined someone, reviewed, their medical records, or even had a conversation with people to recommend that they take dietary supplements without also cautioning them to speak with their own doctors first.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that Dr. Oz is quite the celebrity with quite the following. With that popularity should come a great responsibility to get it right. Certainly, as a doctor, shouldn't "First, do no harm," apply? Having outdated or incorrect information on his show or web site could actually prove to be harmful, and certainly taking supplements without checking with one's own doctor can be risky.
Will you help us reach out to Dr. Oz about these issues? We don't think he's a bad person, but we do feel that he needs to make some changes to his show and site. We do give him credit for having migraine and headache specialist Dr. Audrey Halpern on his show once, but he needs to reach out to the professionals who really know specific topics more often. No doctor can be a specialist in every area of medicine. There's a page on his web site for feedback regarding both his television show and his web site. Perhaps if his staff reads messages from enough of us, they'll actually bring them to his attention, and we can make some progress. Please go to his contact page and reach out to him.
Dr. Oz, if you somehow come across this post, please take it in the spirit in which it was intended, with the desire to let you know that there are problems. Obviously, you have staff members who read the correspondence you receive as well as emails and comments through your web site. I want to believe that this issue has never been brought to your attention, because I want to believe that if it had, you would have responded.
Make a difference... Donate to the 36 Million Migraine Campaign!
© Teri Robert, 2014, • Last updated May 30, 2014.