Newsweek Attacks Oprah Winfrey and BioIdentical Hormonesby Jeffrey Dach MD
Why should Newsweek attack Oprah Winfrey?
Oprah's TV show advocates Natural Medicine and Bioidentical Hormones in direct competition to the interests of the Pharmaceutical Industry that makes synthetic hormones. Newsweek is merely an attack dog for the drug industry. A typical issue of Newsweek magazine contains $2 million in pharma ads, That's Why.
Falsely Depicted as Voodoo Witch
Left Image: Cover of Newsweek depicting unflattering image of Oprah as a witch. Courtesy of Newsweek.
Smash and Grab the Loaf of Bread
To make matters worse, all print media is suffering from declining readership, a casualty of the Internet Revolution. According to the LA Times, Newsweek is starving along with the rest of the print media, with decling readership and declining ad revenue. Rather than ponder ethical standards, a starving homeless man will smash and grab the loaf of bread in the bakery window. It's the same for Newsweek, a magazine described as “an infomercial masquerading as medical news” and “an example of corruption in journalism".
Newsweek is a Desperate Mouthpiece for the Pharmaceutical Industry
Five national consumer organizations have complained about Newsweek. They have charged Newsweek magazine with unethical journalism in the promotion of the drug industry's agenda. Specifically, Newsweek ran a special edition, entitled Health for Life, paid for by the drug industry's PhRMA. Newsweek promotes a biased drug agenda, all the while pretending to be impartial and objective. This is truely deceptive.
Above left image: Where's the Bread, Man?
Oprah is Immensely Popular
With a personal fortune of 2.7 billion, and 40 million weekly viewers, Oprah Winfrey is immensely popular. Her O magazine sells 2 million copies a month and her new cable television channel will reach 70 million homes.
Left Image: A more flattering image of Oprah Winfrey courtesy of the Opra web site.
Why is Oprah so popular? I suggest it is because Oprah is a champion of the interests of the people. In this case she has championed Natural Medicine and Bioidentical Hormones, topics which are immensely popular with the public.
Is Oprah hurt or concerned about the photo on the Newsweek Cover? In this new day of viral marketing, any publicity is good publicity, including this Newsweek hatchet job article. I suspect Oprah is laughting all the way to the bank.
Suzanne Somers - Advocate of BioIdentical Hormones
Left Image: Suzanne Somers arch-enemy of the synthetic hormone drug company, Wyeth. Her books on bioidentical hormones have cost the Drug Industry millions of dollars in lost revenue. Image Courtesy of Suzanne Somers Blog.
Just Another Misinformation Campaign in a Medical Information War Between Natural Medicine and Big Pharma.
Newsweek Reaches a New Low in Tabloid Journalism with Smears, Lies and Falsehoods
For those of you interested in the actual details of the Newsweek article lies and deceptions, I have itemized a few of them for you below:
1) Newsweek says: "bioidentical hormones are unregulated".
This is an outright falsehood. Compounded bioidentical hormones are highly regulated at all levels. Just walk into a pharmacy and ask the pharmacist in charge about the regulations. There are literally hundreds of them. They are regulated up the Wazoo from start to finish at county, state and federal levels. And yes, compounded hormones ARE FDA approved, and the same hormones, estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone are found at the corner drugstore (examples are estrace, vivelle, prometrium etc.). Just think about this: all prescription medication in the US must be FDA approved in order to be able to sell to the public.
2) Newsweek says: "Somers is simply repackaging the old, discredited idea that menopause is some kind of hormone-deficiency disease, and that restoring them will bring back youth," says Dr. Nanette Santoro, director of reproductive endocrinology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and head of the Reproductive Medicine Clinic at Montefiore Medical Center."
This is another outright falsehood. Menopause is characterized by hormone deficiency, and this is the absolute truth proven by lab tests I see every day. This idea has not been discredited. Well, maybe Newsweek wants the public to think so.
3) Newsweek says: "Hormone therapy can increase a woman's risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and cancer".
Here we see a typical switch tactic by Newsweek. Newsweek is attempting to confuse the public about two very different types of hormones. Synthetic hormones are the monster hormones. Bio-identical hormones are the good ones that I recommend.
Yes, Newsweek is correct that synthetic monster hormones (such as Provera) are associated with cancer and heart disease. However, Newsweek has not told the public the truth, that bio-identical hormones are safe and are not associated with increased risk of cancer or heart disease. Obviously that would displease their drug industry masters.
3) Newsweek says: "And despite Somers' claim that her non-FDA-approved bioidenticals are "natural" and safer, they are actually synthetic, just like conventional hormones and FDA-approved bioidenticals from pharmacies—and there are no conclusive clinical studies showing they are less risky. "
This is outright deceitful and misleading. Number one, hormone raw materials are all FDA approved. Otherwise, they could not even be marketed in the US. '
Number two, Newsweek is trying to confuse the public into believing that synthetic chemically altered hormones (provera) are the same as bioidentical hormones. They are not. Synthetic means chemically altered, and this creates a monster hormone causing cancer and heart disease. Bio-identical Hormones are not chemically altered. They are identical to the hormones in the human body. The medical literature is replete with studies showing that bioidentical hormones are safe and effective, while, on the other hand, the chemically altered synthetic hormones are monsters and should never have been approved for human use.
4) Newsweek says:"Unless a woman has significant discomfort from hot flashes—and most women don't—there is little reason to prescribe them."
Newsweek is wrong again. Hot flashes are only one of many symptoms of estrogen deficiency, Other symptoms include vaginal dryness, sweats, difficulty sleeping, cognitive dysfunction, menopausal arthritis etc. These are all valid symptoms and good reasons for prescribing bioidentical hormones.
5) This Newsweek article also provided misinformation about iodine suplementation, an essential mineral added to table salt since 1924. Supplementation with Iodine is safe and beneficial for health, and highly recommended. See my article on Iodine Supplementation and Breast Cancer Prevention. Follow the Money: Jake Crosby, a history student at Brandeis University, has this comment about Newsweek:
"Inside Newsweek Magazine, 10 of the 31 pages of ads are for pharma ads, 5 of them for Wyeth, including an inside-cover triple-page ad. Naturally, a failing magazine is going to want to receive more ad dollars by running more articles pleasing to sponsors. It seems practical and makes sense, though unethical, dishonest, defamatory and morally reprehensible all at the same time."
5000 Lawsuits for Synthetic Hormones
"Perhaps Newsweek can also run an article on the 5000 lawsuits Wyeth is facing for the damages attributed to its own, admittedly unnatural, FDA-approved version (Prempro). If they did, it would help their case of proving Ms. Somers’ alleged belief wrong, that “the media” is “in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry.”
An Infomercial Masquarading as Medical News
"In a magazine filled with pharma ads, accused in 2001 by five consumer groups of breaching journalism ethics by working with the lobby group PhRMA, having a special advertising relationship with pharmaceutical corporations and allowing its publication to be used by pharma lobbyists for public relations purposes, Newsweek’s agenda is no secret. One consumer advocate described Newsweek as “an infomercial masquerading as medical news” and “an example of corruption in journalism. Newsweek has surrendered its professional credentials by shamelessly engaging in disease mongering aimed at increasing profits for the mental health industry.”
Newsweek Writer, Pat Wingert, Also Wrote A Book (?) On Menopause
Pat Wingert, the co-writer of the Oprah-bashing Newsweek Article, also co-authored a book on menopause entitled, "Is it Hot in Here? Or is it me? The Complete Guide to Menopause" available on Amazon. This book advocates synthetic hormones and promotes a drug company agenda.
Left Image Pat Wingert. Right Image Pat's book cover. Courtesy of Newsweek and Pat Wingert.
Book Reviews on Amazon - Pat Wingert's Menopause Book
Here are a few unflattering book reviews on Amazon from people who do not apreciate a drug company propaganda book that pretends to be medical advice. These reader reviews give you an idea about the level of journalism we are dealing with:
Get This Book Off the Market
"I have been dealing with menopause for several years and this book in no way, shape or form helped me to find a cure for my symptoms. But then again why would I buy a book written by journalists about medical conditions?!?! And as a side, I have found that bio-identical hormones are the ONLY therapy that has saved my life, instead of "possibly" risking my life by taking synthetic hormones. Get this book off the market!
"This book is complete garbage! I agree with another reviewer who said that this book should be taken off the market. "
"Let me save you the price of this book, This book (by Pat Wingert) was a total waste of my time and money."
Where to Go For Medical Advice? Turn to these Medical Heroes.
Rather than get your medical advice from a light-weight tabloid journalist like Pat Wingert, who promotes a biased drug company agenda, I recommend Erika Schwartz MD, Kent Holtorf MD, and David Brownstein MD, three medical heroes with active bioidentical hormone practices. Erika's comments about the Newsweek Oprah bashing article can be found here.
In her article, Dr. Erika reveals that she gave a lecture on bioidentical hormones at Harvard Med School in February 2, 2009, and the first slide of the talk was Oprah with Suzanne Somers. Dr. Erika then asked the chairman of the department of ob-gyn, Isaac Schiff, MD and the rest of the audience, 'How come Suzanne Somers and Oprah are the ones to teach the public about bioidentical hormones? Oprah has stepped up to the plate and has given the public the missing information about bio-identical hormones. And the public has spoken. Oprah is their leader, not the American Medical Association."
Left Above Image: Erika Schwartz MD, medical director of busy bioidentical hormone practice in Manhattan New York.
Erika Schwartz MD and Kent Holtorf MD Say BioIdentical Hormones are Safe and Effective.
Erika Schwartz and Kent Holtorf recently co-authored a chapterin Primary Care Clinics on Bioidentical Hormones. This is their conclusion:
"The current state of evidence demonstrates bioidentical hormones as a safe and effective option. Risks associated with the use of conjugated estrogen and progestins (synthetic monster hormones), including the increased risks of breast cancer and cardiovascular events, have not been reported with the use of bioidentical hormones."
Left Image: Kent Holtorf MD, medical driector of busy bioidentical hormone practice in Califiornia.
The Truth About Hormone Therapy in the Wall Street Journal
"There are 25 years of scientific research with hundreds of studies in the U.S. and Europe that have demonstrated that bioidentical hormones, estradiol and micronized progesterone, are equally or more effective than synthetics -- and safer. Yet mainstream medicine has buried its head in the sand and refused to take these studies seriously."
Above left image: David Brownstein MD, medical director of busy bioidentical hormone practice in Michigan.
"Multiple medical studies have linked synthetic hormone replacement therapies, such Premarin and Prempro, to health risks such as breast and uterine cancers, heart attack, stroke. Meanwhile, recent medical research and multiple clinical studies validate the safety and efficacy of bioidentical hormone replacement therapies."
Left Image: Courtesy of CW Randolph MD.
CW Randolph MD is director of the Natural Hormone Institute of America and runs a busy bioidentical hormone practivce in Jacksonville Florida. How to Find a bioidentical hormone doctor in your area:
Live Your Best Life Ever! Wish Away Cancer! Get A Lunchtime Face-Lift! Eradicate Autism! Turn Back The Clock! Thin Your Thighs! Cure Menopause! Harness Positive Energy! Erase Wrinkles! Banish Obesity! Live Your Best Life Ever! By Weston Kosova and Pat Wingert | NEWSWEEK Published May 30, 2009 From the magazine issue dated Jun 8, 2009
Did Anyone Else Think The Newsweek Photo of Oprah Was Misogynistic? And Just Plain Dumb? by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay
Newsweek decides to go the other way--withholding information seems the point. Reading this Newsweek article, you'd think there was really no difference between the synthetic hormones provided by drug companies and the bio-identical hormones that many doctors prescribe, but which are not produced by major drug companies. "They are actually synthetic, just like conventional hormones." Hardly. Yes, they are both "man-made," but the bioidenticals are created to have the same molecular structure as our own hormones. Synthetic are not, it's a one size fits all approach that leaves many women with uncomfortable side effects. The bioidentical process is quite arduous, and requires lots of testing, but each woman gets a regimen much more suited to her body.
Was anybody troubled by the glib disclosure that Newsweek correspondent Pat Wingert, who worked on this article, wrote a book on menopause? Excuse me? Talk about a dog in the fight! I imagine she can't be a big fan of bioidentical hormones in her book.
Pat Wingert. Coming to Newsweek after a nine-year journalism career in Chicago, Wingert had worked as a reporter for The Chicago Tribune from 1985 to 1986 and The Chicago Sun-Times from 1977 to 1984. While working at the Sun-Times, she worked as legman to Chicago's legendary Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist, Mike Royko. A Chicago native, Wingert received a B.S. in journalism from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. She resides in Washington D.C. with her husband Brian Kelly, the executive editor of U.S. News magazine, and their three children.
Newsweek’s Newspeak: Pharma’s Weapon Against Oprah By Jake Crosby Jake Crosby is a history student at Brandeis University
"More likely, the explanation is that 10 of the 31 pages of ads are for pharma, 5 of them for Wyeth, including an inside-cover triple-page ad. Naturally, a failing magazine is going to want to receive more ad dollars by running more articles pleasing to sponsors. It seems practical and makes sense, though unethical, dishonest, defamatory and morally reprehensible all at the same time. ... Perhaps Newsweek can also run an article on the 5000 lawsuits Wyeth is facing for the damages attributed to its own, admittedly unnatural, FDA-approved version. If they did, it would help their case of proving Ms. Somers’ alleged belief wrong, that “the media” is “in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry.”...What matters is if Newsweek’s articles fit its agenda. In a magazine filled with pharma ads, accused in 2001 by five consumer groups of breaching journalism ethics by working with the lobby group PhRMA, having a special advertising relationship with pharmaceutical corporations and allowing its publication to be used by pharma lobbyists for public relations purposes, Newsweek’s agenda is no secret. One consumer advocate described Newsweek as “an infomercial masquerading as medical news” and “an example of corruption in journalism. Newsweek has surrendered its professional credentials by shamelessly engaging in disease mongering aimed at increasing profits for the mental health industry.”
Drug Lobby's Exclusive Sponsorship of Newsweek's Special Health Edition and Other Joint Efforts Improperly Aided Drug Lobby's Agenda, Groups Claim Washington D.C. - Five national consumer organizations today charged Newsweek magazine with transgressing ethical bounds by working with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in a way that promotes the drug lobby's public policy agenda. In a joint letter to Newsweek Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Richard M. Smith, the groups contended that, as a result of a "virtually unprecedented" special advertising relationship with the drug lobby, Newsweek allowed the drug lobby to use a supposedly independent media outlet "to promote its public policy agenda."
MARCH 16, 2009 The Truth About Hormone Therapy Wall Street Journal By ERIKA SCHWARTZ , KENT HOLTORF , and DAVID BROWNSTEIN Mainstream medicine has been given a wake-up call on a matter critical to the health of 65 million women in the U.S. At issue are the options for treatment of menopause
http://newsmax.com/insidecover/newsweek_time_circulation/2009/01/17/172579.html Newsweek May Stop Weekly Circulation January 17 2009 Battered by a one-two punch of declining readership and ad pages, Newsweek magazine is getting an extreme makeover this year that will include a large circulation reduction, deep cuts in operating costs, and a new effort to attract advertisers by concentrating on an elite audience.
http://jeannesmusings.typepad.com/notsogrounded/2009/06/my-entry.html You Go, Oprah! by Jeanne Supin , But the real secret is Oprah remains steadfastly relevant, and Newsweek does not. Unfortunately at a time when we most benefit from national dialog, Newsweek chooses to be a gasping periodical in a dying industry, regurgitating the same empty story week-after-week, with writers and editors -- no matter how skilled and well-intentioned -- increasingly talking only to the shrinking pool of people just like themselves. ..There's a whole new world out here, far larger than Newsweek's antiquated universe. Maybe if they took some bioidentical hormones they'd finally feel well enough to find it, join it, and share that story.
http://www.suzannesomers.com/Blog/post/Two-Scariest-Women-on-the-Planet.aspx Two Scariest Women on the Planet - Oprah and Suzanne by Suzanne Somers 6/4/2009 Have you seen this week’s Newsweek magazine? Here we go again! They have a new article on how Oprah is giving "dangerous" advice by having uninformed guests give false information to the public. First of all, how dare they alter Oprah’s image for that cover! It’s out of focus, and they have obviously added bags and shadowing under her eyes to make her look crazed and scary.
Disclaimer click here: http://www.drdach.com/wst_page20.html The reader is advised to discuss the comments on these pages with his/her personal physicians and to only act upon the advice of his/her personal physician. Also note that concerning an answer which appears as an electronically posted question, I am NOT creating a physician -- patient relationship. Although identities will remain confidential as much as possible, as I can not control the media, I can not take responsibility for any breaches of confidentiality that may occur.
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The Untold Message of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by Jeffrey Dach MD
Breast Cancer Awareness Month Fails to Disclose Limitations of Mammography
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, devoted to an advertising campaign for national mammography screening. (1) An eminent radiologist, Leonard Berlin MD says this advertising message fails to disclose the limitations of screening mammography, namely that mammography will miss 30-70% of breast cancers, and leads to over diagnosis and over treatment.
Left Image: Giant pink ribbon on the corner of 5th and Market, downtown Louisville, KY (10-5-06) Source Breast Cancer Awareness Jason Meredith from Louisville, KY, US Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Disclosures Should Be Mandated
Dr Berlin says mammography disclosures should be mandated, just like the cigarette and drug warnings that appear on the labels and advertisements.(2)
These advertising campaigns create unrealistic expectations for mammography which cannot be met. The public expects every breast cancer to be detected. They cannot be. When expectations are unfulfilled, the missed cancer potentially translates into a medical malpractice case. The missed cancer on a mammogram is now the most prevalent medical malpractice case against all physicians.(3)(4)(5)(6)
Mammograms are Difficult to Interpret The fact is that mammograms are difficult to interpret, cancers can be hidden, and many are missed. The missed cancer is not caused by a lack of training or competency on the part of the radiologist. The missed cancer is inherent in the mammogram technique itself. The American College of Radiology says that 30-70% of breast cancers are missed on the initial mammogram, and are seen in retrospect a year later by going back to the previous mammogram interpreted as normal. With so many missed cancers and this predatory legal environment, it is a miracle that mammography has survived at all.(7)(8)
Above Image Mammogram at the NIH courtesy of wikimedia commons.
The Untold Message of Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
To summarize, here is the untold message of Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
1) mammography screening is detection, not prevention and has several limitations, namely 30-70% missed cancers, and a tendency towards over diagnosis and over treatment.(7)
2) Many different carcinogenic chemicals cause breast cancer, and removing these chemicals from the workplace or home can reduce breast cancer rates. (26)(27)
3) Iodine deficiency causes fibrocystic disease, and Iodine supplementation prevents breast cancer.(12)
4) Synthetic hormones like Provera increase breast cancer risk. (WHI Study)(29)
5) Bio-Identical Hormone programs are safe, and do not increase risk of breast cancer. (French Cohort Study)(30)
For more on this topic, read my previous articles:
The reader is advised to discuss the comments on these pages with his/her personal physicians and to only act upon the advice of his/her personal physician Also note that concerning an answer which appears as an electronically posted question, I am NOT creating a physician -- patient relationship. Although identities will remain confidential as much as possible, as I can not control the media, I can not take responsibility for any breaches of confidentiality that may occur Finally, the material produced by myself may be reproduced for personal use, provided that appropriate credit is given; but this material may not be reprinted or reproduced in any format for any other purpose.