It’s rather frustrating to see how gullible people can be when it comes to celebrities and some of society’s attraction to following their lives .  After all, who really needs to keep up with the Kardashians?  Literally, no one.  While it’s obvious that tabloids constantly publish false headlines about celebrities’ supposed indiscretions – whether or not they’re pregnant, considering divorce, lying, cheating, presumed dead… or still alive with the help of some plastic surgery – it’s a little less obvious when the words come straight from the horse’s mouth.   It begs the question – does the public really look to celebrities for their opinion and advice?  Apparently – and unfortunately – yes.

Millions of people follow their every waking move, drool over their lifestyle choices, and sometimes make life altering decisions based upon their “expert” opinions.

Let’s look at six unbelievable examples of celebrities and their pseudoscientific ideas…

#6 – TOM CRUISE

One celebrity known to being emotionally and mentally unstable at times, this popular action star still touts the use of Scientology as a substitute for psychiatry. Citing a “profound understanding” of the science, he made several statements on talk shows back in 2005, with baseless remarks about psychiatry being a pseudoscience. Cruise claimed chemical balances in the brain are imaginary and that all forms of mental illness are baseless in fact and their accompanying medications are unnecessary and dangerous. Tom also publicly criticized actress Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants for a very real battle with postpartum depression.

Tom Cruise:  Scientology4Ever

The only reason Mr. Cruise didn’t make the cut to a higher slot on this list is because this happened such a long time ago, most people have forgotten about it completely, let alone care.

However, one can’t help but admire the irony of someone giving mental advice who is well known in the media for questionable behavior and ridiculous outbursts, like his couch bouncing episode on the Oprah Winfrey show. Speaking of the media, there were rumors circulating that ex-wife Katie Holmes may have left him to avoid their daughter following in Daddy’s scary Scientology footsteps.

#5 – SIMON COWELL

Well-known for his harsh criticism of contestants on the highly over rated reality show, “American Idol,” he’s not a very good judge of realistic medical practices. He claims that his “youthful glow” and stellar appearance comes from carting around a small tank of oxygen with him, which he takes shots from regularly.

Simon Says

Simon says this is a good idea, but modern medicine begs to differ. Scientific American tells us that this practice can actually be dangerous or even deadly. While we clearly need O2 in order to survive, these scientists state, “Without it, cells die. With too much, they die even faster.” So it would seem that drawing shots from this tank is risky business, and while it might feel good at the time, you’re likely putting brain cells in danger in the process.

#4 – DEMI MOORE

This gorgeous gem gives us a real whopper when it comes to the medically meaningless process of detoxifying your body, since she’s a fan of using leeches, yes blood-sucking leeches, as a part of this ridiculous regime. Really Demi, we’re not in the Middle Ages anymore and although most of us know you were a super-hottie in the eighties and loved your hair, it wasn’t the eighteen-eighties.

Sorry this image is so large... lots of hair.

Why would anyone think these creatures would not only identify, but relieve someone of unwanted toxins? Sounds a little far-fetched to me.  Just use the tools you already have to remove toxins from your body:  your liver, kidneys, digestive tract, lungs, and skin.  And guess what?  It’s free and happens automatically.

#3 – GWYNETH PALTROW

Anyone who names their first born child after a fruit can’t be trusted, and as we all know, an “Apple” a day won’t keep the doctor away (but I suppose it would contribute to your daily requirement of fruits and vegetables). But for some reason, Ms. Paltrow insists on handing out an enormous volume of unwanted and untrustworthy medical advice. One of the many outlandish recommendations she has made on her website, appropriately entitled “Goop.com,” was the use of “cupping”, where heated cups are used to supposedly draw toxins from the skin and body.  Do a Google Image Search to see what that looks like, I dare you.

Steamin' with Gwyneth Paltrow

Even more ridiculous is her advice for cleansing her lady parts by steaming her uterus and vagina. I don’t even want to know how one goes about doing this, but any gynecologist will tell you this is a terrible idea. Despite the fact that you could potentially burn this sensitive area, doctors will tell you that this organ is self-cleaning and that interfering with this process can be dangerous. Not to mention the fact that it suggests support for a myth that a woman’s genitalia is “dirty” and needs to be cleansed before use, the steam can kill essential bacteria which helps to ward off disease.

Seriously, steaming is something to be used on a pair of pants, not lady parts. Suffice it to say that dry cleaning is for clothes and not the clitoris.

#2 – JENNY McCARTHY

This actress and former Playboy model was sadly saddled with a child suffering from autism, but she claims it was caused by a vaccination based on discredited information she received from a medical quack named Dr. Andrew Wakefield. The British Journal of Medicine called his research linking childhood vaccines to this brain disorder, “An elaborate fraud.”

Jenny McCarthy, what have you done?

This nonsense was so publicized and widespread, if one inserts this actress’ name into a Google search, the autofill feature will put in the word “autism” at the number two slot. Although we can’t be sure if this is from increasing sympathy and awareness about the ailment or the lies she spread about the cause of this disease, it’s probably a safe bet that it’s the latter. The anti-vaccination movement, for which she shares responsibility, causes needless harm to those who can’t be vaccinated and rely on herd immunity for protection.  Shameful.

#1 – DR. OZ

Every time this doctor opens his mouth, people flock to stores for his newest recommended snake oil or supplement. Honestly, who would trust a man whose last name is a mythical land on the other side of the rainbow? Sadly, millions of his viewers do follow his advice, even though medical research has shown that a whopping 67%, over two thirds of this dribble, shows no evidence of actual results or basis in medical fact.

"Dr." Oz sure loves his miracle cures.

Just because the letters “DR.” precede his name, many people think all the words coming out of his mouth are pure gold, which reminds me of one of my friends who also holds this title. We’ll call him Dr. Smith. When he introduces himself to people, they almost always ask what field of medicine he practices. His standard response to this inquiry is, and I quote, “I’m an O doctor.” When they ask what this means, he informs them that he is a chiropractor, and then the typical response follows … “Oh.”

But I digress.  Back to Dr. Oz.

In 2014, Forbes had this to say about him:

In the five years that Dr. Mehmet Oz has been on the air, he’s shared no less than sixteen weight loss “panaceas,” “game-changers,” and “miracles.” From metabolism boosters, to diet plans, to pills, Oz’s recommendations guarantee to help you shed the pounds fast.

So why is there still an obesity epidemic?

With an arsenal of weight loss miracles at Americans’ disposal courtesy of Dr. Oz, there must be a reason that we’re still languishing in lard. Perhaps most Americans just haven’t heard about them? Maybe those that have can’t afford them? Perhaps we’re using them incorrectly?

Or perhaps, Oz’s purported miracles simply don’t work.

As mentioned before, the big problem is that when celebrities with huge audiences endorse a product, the product’s sales can skyrocket.  Dr. Oz even got his own “effect” named after him – the Dr. Oz Effect.

Green coffee bean extract – one of the products featured on the show and investigated by the Federal Trade Commission –  would be a fringe supplement today if it weren’t for the “Dr. Oz Effect” and a supplement seller that knew exactly how to exploit it. But it’s just par for the course on the Dr. Oz Show: Shoddy science, a bogus product, a shady seller and unrealistic claims of efficacy. Dr. Oz and his show were either oblivious to the facts, or indifferent to them. At no time did Oz appear take his responsibility as a medical doctor seriously. The Dr. Oz show played a big part in this enormous, yet avoidable, weight loss scam.  And that’s just one example.

Therefore…

In short, it appears that people accept claims from celebrities based on their celebrity status and not on the strength of their arguments.  Just because someone is famous or their name starts with the letters “DR.”, it doesn’t necessarily make them a medical expert.  People need to think critically and think twice (or thrice?) before taking advice – especially alternative medical advice – from a celebrity.

As comedian Tim Minchin so eloquently put it…

What do you call alternative medicine that works?
Medicine.

 

  • CH Shannon

    Dr. Oz has been spouting incorrect health advice for years. Back around the year 2000, before he was Oprah-level famous, he came to my high school for an assembly lecture. In it he said unattractive things, like ache, were cries from our body for help. He said something along the lines of, “So if your have a pimple develop tonight, it might have something to do with the fries and soda you had for lunch yesterday.” Nope, nope, nope, acne is not linked with food consumption. If he wanted us to cut back on fried foods because they are bad for our heart, fine, but don’t spout pseudoscience to appeal to our vanity. I had acne and it was pretty annoying to hear a doctor imply that my acne was “my fault” instead of being, you know, hormonal.

  • Simon Clark

    Thank you RI – always awesome!

  • Michael

    Umm… ”Honestly, who would trust a man whose last name is a mythical land on the other side of the rainbow?” do you know that his surname is actually ”Öz” and it’s a common surname outside of America?