Oprah May Be Bad for Your Health

Many medical opinions, practices touted on her show aren't considered safe
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2009 11:23 AM CDT
Actress Suzanne Somers has gone on Oprah's show to tout the use of hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women. Studies have shown that such treatment raises cancer risks.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – What's good for Oprah's TV ratings might be pretty bad for your health, writes Dr. Rahul Parikh in Salon. In providing a soapbox for Suzanne Somers to tout hormone replacement therapy (which raises the risk of heart attacks and cancer) from and supporting Jenny McCarthy and her crusade against childhood vaccinations, Oprah "seems to have thrown therapeutic caution to the wind."

"It's not that Winfrey doesn't try to maintain medical credibility in her shows," writes Parikh, but it's a weak attempt. The doctors included in the Somers episode "appeared in taped segments, expressing concern like stern parents." And as an interviewer, "Winfrey didn't pose any tough James Frey-like questions," like asking about a possible connection between Somers' hormone regimen and history of breast cancer. "Add in Winfrey's endorsement of the snake-oil self-help book The Secret," says Parikh, "and you might be tempted to sue her for malpractice."