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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Doctor, You're in Trouble

Goodness gracious me, but are we in trouble with the elevation we have given to Doctors. We all need good doctors from birth until death and we give credence to what they say and do, but the parlous state of many of those who have made their very handsome living in the biz is a worry. Many are directly and deliberately responsible for killing  little people before those little ones are even born and many through their errors kill-off those who could otherwise be saved when they go to those edifices of modern life, the Hospitals.
Her smile just might be the best medicine.
But we were given some low-down today on that most modern of phenomena, the TV doctor.  Medicine has become entertainment and comedy, and some of it is not funny. OK, some is and I would prefer Dr Eliot Reid sitting beside my bed than Dr Phil.

Zac and pals on Scrubs is a scriptwriter's joy but what is almost hysterical is the fact that many medical students see medical dramas as 'trade training'. 
TV drama scrubs up well for students
PATIENTS will be hoping it's not a case of life imitating art when it comes to a new study showing student doctors are addicted to racy medical dramas such as House, Scrubs and Grey's Anatomy.
There are also concerns this appetite for screen drama could be teaching them bad habits, a new Australian study shows.
The University of Western Sydney's study of almost 400 medical students revealed 94 per cent were regular watchers of medical TV shows.
Most wanted to emulate "McDreamy", played by heart-throb Patrick Dempsey, or his no-nonsense sidekick Miranda Bailey in Grey's Anatomy.
TV Doc gets her kit off for the cameras.
"Here is my backbone, er...somewhere".
Blonde bombshell immunologist Dr Allison Cameron and straight talking oncologist Dr James Wilson were the favourites on rival show House.
Most undergraduates thought the shows depicted medical professionals positively, showing they were caring and compassionate, responsible, honest and respectful.
But when it came to relying on the shows as a source of information, most rated TV medical dramas well behind medical school.
"However, this finding is at odds with the students' high consumption of these shows, recall of ethical issues portrayed and beliefs about the professionalism on the shows," the authors said.
"It may be that students do not realise the extent to which they are influenced by medical programs, even in subtle ways."
The study, published in BMC Medical Education, suggested that rather than ignoring the influence of TV shows they could actually be incorporated into medical school.
It is almost as bad as young military troops watching war films with the usual 'celulloid heroes' doing things that no real soldier would even comtemplate.Then we have the 'medical experts' pontificating and 'educating' but we have that 'little knowledge' that can do more harm than good to deal with.
Television medical experts are not all created equal
Every television station has their own physician pundit commenting on medical news.
But with some many different fields of medicine, how can a single physician claim to be an expert on every health topic?
Surgeon Jeffrey Parks takes issue with ABC News’ recent coverage on the tragic death of Senator John Murtha. Richard Bessler, a pediatrician who works at the CDC, was the on camera expert commenting on the surgical complication.
In analyzing the pundit, Dr. Parks noted “you can tell that he looked at a human atlas and saw that the colon seems to be pretty close to the gallbladder,” and, “his hypothesis [was] detached from any semblance of statistical likelihood.”
Being a television medical expert means more than looking good and having a charismatic demeanor. 
Getting facts straight needs to count for something as well.
It gets worse.

We have imported pseudo-medical-science served up by 'good-looking' chaps and earnest young women gabbling sheer garbage with a straight face. Much of it to sell their own products or services.
Experts Say Half The Advice On Dr. Oz And The Doctors Is Wrong Or Lacks Evidence
"The Dr. Oz Show" and "The Doctors" have average daily audiences of 2.9 million and 2.3 million, respectively. This gives the show hosts a huge amount of influence regarding medical information that gets disseminated to the American public. But how much of what these charismatic hosts discuss is actually sound medical advice? 
For the first time, a team of researchers has systematically analyzed the claims made on these popular shows, assessing their credibility. The research was led by Christina Korownyk of the University of Alberta's Department of Family Medicine, and the paper was published in The BMJ. 
Dr. Mehmet Oz came under fire earlier this year after he admitted to the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance that all of his claims might not be all that they are cracked up to be. However, the full extent of exactly which claims were particularly problematic were not assessed.
Korownyk's team recorded over 70 episodes each of "The Dr. Oz Show" and "The Doctors," and randomly selected 40 of each to analyze for accuracy and integrity of claims. 
The shows were recorded in 2013, spanning from January to May. Recording the shows allowed the researchers to create an accurate transcript of the claims that were actually released to the public. On average, each show contained three or four topics, with four or five medical recommendations given for each. If the hosts themselves did not provide the advice, it was most likely given by an approved guest on the show.
The advice given on the shows was discussed and weighed by a team of researchers to reduce any individual bias that might occur in the physicians who co-authored the study. The results weren't fantastic, as only about 54% of the claims on both shows were backed up by peer-reviewed evidence.
When looking at the shows individually, there was evidence to support 46% of the claims made on the "Dr. Oz Show." Approximately 15% of the claims made on the show were contrary to what has been reported in scientific literature. There was no evidence to support or reject 49% of the claims made on the show. "The Doctors" had slightly better results, with 63% of the claims supported by scientific evidence. About 14% of the claims on the show are contradicted by evidence, and there is no evidence for or against 24% of the show's claims.
While there is evidence to support some of the claims made on the show, these statistics indicate that their recommendations should not be taken before consulting a personal physician. A family physician would understand an individual's unique medical history and could identify potential drug interactions associated with the supplement or dietary changes advocated on the TV show.
So we have one lot of experts not at all happy with another lot of experts who get more TV exposure and go direct to your 'apps'. But do not let a cynical old Tavern Keeper persuade you. 

Here in Oz we are far more serious. Aren't we? Hmmmmm. We have our fair share of medical and science programs that have that air of authority. But not all is as it seems.

Dr Maryanne Demasi
We were a little taken aback by one of our talking heads, and a pretty one at that, getting whacked. Shoba Rao told us:

ABC show’s Catalyst presenter Dr Maryanne suspended after review of ‘Wi-Fried’ story on Wi-Fi
A CONTROVERSIAL ABC program about the health effects of Wi-Fi has led to a presenter being suspended, after it breached impartiality standards.
ABC presenter Dr Maryanne Demasi from the popular science program Catalyst has been suspended until September this year, after a review of the episode titled “Wi-Fried” was conducted by the ABC’s independent Audience and Consumer Affairs (A&CA) Unit.

Adelaide-born Dr Demasi completed a doctorate in medical research at the University of Adelaide and worked for a decade as research scientist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
She has also worked as an adviser to the South Australian Government’s Minister for Science and Information Economy.
The “Wi-Fried” episode was broadcast in February this year and contained information about the safety of wireless devices such as mobile phones.
In a statement released by the ABC, the investigation was initiated after the ABC received complaints from viewers about the episode. The ABC informed readers of its findings after the show aired on Tuesday night.

The A&CA found the episode breached the ABC’s editorial policies standards on accuracy and impartiality. “The A&CA Report found several inaccuracies within the program that had favoured the unorthodox view that mobile phones and Wi-Fi caused health impacts including brain tumours,” the ABC’s statement said.
“ABC TV is reviewing the strategy and direction for Catalyst with a view to strengthening this very important and popular program.
“Further, ABC TV is addressing these issues directly with the program makers and has advised the reporter, Dr Maryanne Demasi, that her on-air editorial assignments will be on hold until the review is completed in September 2016.”
ABC Director of Television, Richard Finlayson said the investigation had been thorough.  “Catalyst is a highly successful and respected science program that explores issues of enormous interest to many Australians. There is no doubt the investigation of risks posed by widespread wireless devices is an important story but we believe greater care should have been taken in presenting complex and multiple points of view,” he said.
The finding comes just two years after a separate investigation was launched into a Catalyst program about the use of cholesterol-reducing medications.
“ABC TV takes responsibility for the broader decision-making process that resulted in the program going to air and acknowledges this is the second significant breach for the program in two years,” the ABC stated.
“The ABC accepts the findings and acknowledges that errors were made in the preparation and ultimate approval of the program.”
The “Wi-Fried” program will now be removed from the Catalyst website.
Information about A&CA’s findings will be added to the Catalyst website, and the A&CA’s investigation and findings are on the ABC Corrections page.
What Dr Phil would make of an on-stage interrogation of Dr Demasi I don't know but the 'Prof', JJ, spoke to this: 
The woman should have known better. There must have been some personal reason for the BS.  The effect of electromagnetic radiation on health has been a big boogeyman for many years but the contrary evidence is huge. A scare that a few alarmists are trying to keep alive is that the radiation from your mobile phone will give you brain cancer.  Yet from the early days of mobile phones until now there has been no upsurge in brain cancer.  Now that mobiles are very widely used, we should be swimming in brain cancer cases by now.  But we are not. High or low levels of mobile phone use and the resultant radiation makes no difference. 
It's all just attention-seekers big-noting themselves.
Hmmmm. I can but agree. I can but point to far more too. 

The ABC can, when it tries, provide quite fine programs but seems to be besotted with Doctors. And not just medical ones. There we can always find the 'climate change' Drs. The Flannerys et al, a whole clinic-full of the charlatans all taking a taxpayer-funded fee for crap. Maybe another conversation in the Tavern's bars might occur.

But perhaps they might take Dr Phil's dad's advice being as he didn't.

My professional advice? Don't believe everything someone tells you, especially when they wear a lab coat and talk about 'practicing'.

Pax




2 comments:

  1. Interesting fact: all the CSI shows have massively increased demand by students wanting to study Forensics. Universities were given the go ahead to increase intake by the Hillard government, despite professional advice from the industry. Result: thousands of graduates in Forensics every year and only two or three actual graduate jobs on offer.
    Even worse, many people drop out of the course in the first year after finding that information out.
    Failure to do their homework, or being taken advantage of by big university business?

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    Replies
    1. Inevitable I guess. The TV shows have a lot to answer for. Mind you, so do the lexically challenged who attach 'forensic' to this profession and that, even accountants !! We will have forensic plumbers next. In fact the word itself refers to the 'forens': the court. Forensic is any 'expert' or professional opinion/conclusion put to a court as evidence. Feminists in general have been given carte blanche forensic status. The forensic feminist's evidence is treated as gospel.

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