Since we have been highlighting various vaccine advocates this week in honor of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM), I couldn’t think of anyone better to honor today in our new Laughter is the Best Medicine segment than ZDoggMD.
Laughter is something I try to get a healthy dose of whenever possible. That is why this past March I wrote a blog post entitled “When You Want it So Bad It’s Good” which featured a ZDoggMD classic video entitled “Immunize!”. In this hysterical musical parody, based on the popular song “Millionare”, ZDoggMD managed to produce a video that combined side-splitting entertainment with sceince-based immunization education.
But ZDoggMD has produced numerous medical raps and deserves recognition for yet another immunization related video entitled “ImmuLies!”. This more recent video below references vaccine denialism and pseudoscientific conspiracy theories, all while encouraging people to ”Get yo’ vax on, folks!”
In an interview with TechCrunch TV, ZDoggMD commments that “he doesn’t think it’s unprofessional to put a human face on medicine, to have a good time and to laugh, and to do something musical which is also educational”, and I have to whole-heartedly agree. I love that he is not only a committed medical professional, but that he is able to infuse his unique creative comedy into musical medical messages.
Check out the complete interview for more insight into the rap-rattled mind of ZDoggMD, and take a moment to visit his blog to enjoy more medical humor, including his smashing bash of Dr. Oz in the video “Sucker MDs”.
And be sure to subscribe to Shot of Prevention at the top right of this page so you won’t miss out on any of our future Friday funnies in this new segment, Laughter is the Best Medicine.
The following post has been contributed by Dr. Ari Brown. The post appeared on Dr. Oz’s blog in response to her experience as a panelist on his show entitled “What Causes Autism?”.
I am thankful, Dr Oz, for the opportunity to participate in your autism show. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and I hoped the show would help educate the public and move the conversation forward.
As a pediatrician who talks with families everyday in my office, I know parents want to know more about both vaccine safety and about autism. I’m also a mom. Like you, I need accurate information to protect my kids as best as I can.
I am concerned that viewers took away a very inaccurate view of vaccines. The most vocal audience members represent a small minority. Most parents of children with autism agree with the scientific evidence and do not believe that vaccines cause autism.
And, an overwhelming number of healthcare providers worldwide do not believe vaccines and autism are linked. What viewers witnessed on the show was far from the norm.
Also, most parents in this country support vaccinations. In fact, 99.4% of American children under 3 years of age are vaccinated.
I base vaccination decisions for my patients and my own children on science, not anecdotes or conspiracy theories. I’m passionate about vaccinations because I watched a child die from chickenpox—a vaccine-preventable illness. I refuse to let another child become a statistic because of hearsay. I’m compassionate towards families whose children have autism, because I have personally walked that road with several patients.
These are the messages that resonate with me, as a parent and a doctor. I hope they will resonate with you. Read more…
One of the most notable of these is Dr. Oz, whose popularity soared after he appeared in over 55 episodes of Oprah. Now, let’s give credit where credit is due. Dr. Oz, who ranked third in the 2010 Forbes magazine list of Most Influential Celebrities, is a brilliant opportunist. Yes, he is very well educated. Yes, he is a bona fide heart surgeon. But he is also an skillful entertainer and today’s episode, entitled What Causes Autism? clearly illustrated that.
What I find most intriguing about this particular show was how Dr. Oz carefully crafted his message, and I quote, “We already know what we think we want to believe.”
Perhaps I was expecting too much. When I tune in to hear a doctor discuss autism, I hope to hear an informed discussion regarding medical research and scientific advancements that can offer intelligent insight into the causes of autism. While Alison Singer, of the Autism Science Foundation, was cleverly able to inject specific information regarding current research on autism, Dr. Oz made a deliberate choice to focus on emotions and fear rather than science and data.
For example, on several occasions, Dr. Oz stated that autism was “a parent’s number one fear” and their “number one nightmare”. Forgive me, but I wholeheartedly disagree. My biggest fear as a parent is losing my child. (Which tragically could happen if I were to refrain from immunizing them against vaccine preventable diseases). With all due respect to the many people I know with autistic children, I believe the death of a child is worse than a diagnosis of autism. However, I do recognize that there are many parents who are overwhelmed with the challenges, pressures and worries of raising an autistic child, which is why I had hoped Dr. Oz could offer more hope and less fear.
Unfortunately, this program did not present much hope. And with the exception of the studio audience – who were mostly in agreement with one another, but not necessarily in agreement with the majority of medical experts – the show didn’t offer much support either. Read more…
By Christine Vara
I have just read a very insightful article from the Chicago Tribune regarding Dr. Oz and his proliferation of medical information on both his current television show and the website that supports it. The article leads with the header, “Celebrity surgeon’s goal is to offer ‘as much information as possible’ on health issues. But critics say that inclusive approach does the public a disservice.”
As a brief overview, Dr. Oz is a cardiac surgeon who was a regular guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” before becoming a celebrity himself. The Chicago Tribune article brings to light several instances where claims made through the site are not supported by medical science. Dr. Oz’s spokespeople explain that to offer a fair discussion, they must include various voices and even controversial opinions.
While I can certainly appreciate an open dialogue, it seems that in the interest of “entertainment” this celebrity doctor walks a fine line between the opinions of a few with the evidence of scientific research. By the simple nature of him being a doctor himself, people will listen, which accounts for the 3.7 million viewers to his show daily. However, the concerns I have are not with the sharing or discussing of information, or even the questioning of current medical beliefs. It remains important to medical advancement that we use this kind of dialogue to direct us in further research to prove various hypotheses. My concerns are that when mass media starts involving the lay people in this medical conversation, it is easy for many of us to confuse suggestion of evidence with proven research.
Dr. Oz’s website includes small print that clarifies that his website is for “information and entertainment purposes only”. However, I feel that it can be misleading to have information that is not substantiated by scientific evidence used for entertainment purposes. The disservice comes when the medical profession puts celebrity status and sensational media tactics above their duty to serve the public well being. Please read the Chicago Tribune article and let me know your thoughts.