The XX Factor

Celebrity Health Advice on Oprah Not Always Sound Science. No Duh.

Newsweek has an article out debunking much of the health advice shilled by celebrities on the Oprah Winfrey Show . Most famously, Jenny McCarthy has been on Oprah several times claiming that vaccines caused her son’s autism (the vaccine/autism link has been scientifically disproven ). But, more entertaining is the anti-aging regime that Suzanne Somers promoted in January:

Each morning, the 62-year-old actress and self-help author rubs a potent estrogen cream into the skin on her arm. She smears progesterone on her other arm two weeks a month. And once a day, she uses a syringe to inject estrogen directly into her vagina … Next come the pills. She swallows 60 vitamins and other preparations every day. ‘I take about 40 supplements in the morning,’ she told Oprah, “and then, before I go to bed, I try to remember … to start taking the last 20.’ She didn’t go into it on the show, but in her books she says that she also starts each day by giving herself injections of human growth hormone, vitamin B12 and vitamin B complex. In addition, she wears ‘nanotechnology patches’ to help her sleep, lose weight and promote ‘overall detoxification.’

The authors of the Newsweek article argue that by allowing Suzanne Somers on her show to spout off about “nanotechnology patches” unchallenged by medical professionals, Oprah is tacitly condoning Somers’ wackadoo advice. Though Oprah is arguably the most powerful woman in America, I find it hard to believe that more than one or two of her millions of audience members would run out and buy syringes to start injecting their hoo-has with estrogen just because someone on the Oprah show recommended it.