218 thoughts on “Dr. Oz revisited

  1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

    Weing, coconut water (not coconut milk, which is a suspension made from mashed or grated coconut meat) is actually a sterile (I think!) source of nutrients and electrolytes. It makes sense that it would be a reasonable, low-tech substitute for sterile saline, so not that crazy.

    I look forward to the post on Weston Price, I’ve heard they’re pretty nutty.

    David, we get a lot of idiots with no appreciation of science who think that preliminary studies on rats are adequate to make global recommendations about how the entire world should eat. If you’re not one of them, great – time will tell. Actually, most people don’t even know about the rats – Joe Mercola or Gary Null says coconut oil is great (and you can buy it for just $19.95 per 100ml, virgin oil squeezed from the meat by nubile maidens on exotic tropical islands untouched by toxins or vaccines and the death rates due to infectious diseases are substantial) and they don’t need any other evidence.

    A point I can make here is that skeptics ask for evidence making recommendations. If you think that your own experiences are enough to make recommendations to other people that fly in the face of recommendations made to date to avoid saturated fat, I would suggest that perhaps you might not be as scientific as you might want. I acknowledge that coconut oil might not be as bad for you as beef tallow – but I’m not sure. I am, however, quite sure that virgin coconut oil is recommended by quacks and loons well in excess of the evidence base.

    FDA link –

    As for recommendations about soft margarine, it’s usually made with mono- or poly-unsaturated fatty acids, for which there is an excellent evidence base regarding their health benefits. An obvious exception being those containing trans fats.

    Your changes were to a marker of health, proxy measures are both open to abuse and just that – proxies. They’re a good starting point, but there’s always the chance that the proxy measure has no effect on long-term health or death due to CV disease.

    Chris – both excellent books, good recommendations. I think it was Diamond, or perhaps a book on smallpox that I read, that made the point that smallpox itself was unusually lethal due to the “arms race” between the human immune system and the virus itself. Essentially multiple cycles where the virus would kill off the most vulnerable parts of the population (exerting selection pressure for more resistance to smallpox), then mutate to a version that was more lethal. Lather, rinse, repeat, and by the time it hit an immunologically naive population in North and South America, it was devastating with estimates of up to 95% lethality. Whether Mann is correct in his estimates of the levels of civilization and population in the Americas is questionable, but there’s no question smallpox was a horribly, horribly devastating disease on the continents.

  2. Chris says:

    I believe Mann was quoting William McNeill on the population figures for the Americas. I know I had read about those years ago in McNeill’s Plagues and Peoples. In that book McNeil mentions that the disease did not have to be that lethal, in that it affected many of the adults who provided for the very young (and sometimes very old). What often happen is that when those responsible for growing and hunting food are too sick to do that, many more people starve than die from the disease.

  3. WLU, where can I get this squeezed by virgins coconut oil?

  4. papertrail says:

    “Well I get my bloodwork done every few weeks because I’m obsessed with this topic.”

    Yikes! Sounds too much like you’re doing a lot to yourself for the quality of a homeopathic proving rather than a scientific study. Won’t your results still suffer from all the weaknesses, if not meaninglessness, of n=1, non-blinded experience?

    And noticing better tolerance to cold weather after CNO, that seemed to just come out of the blue. You probably could notice a lot of things after eating CNO that likely have nothing to do with it. Were you hypothesizing that eating CNO should lead to better cold tolerance? I thought the issue was whether or not cardiavascular events could be prevented.

  5. papertrail says:

    …whether or not cardiavascular events could be prevented – or at least not promoted.

  6. DavidRLogan says:

    Thank you everyone for the excellent replies and thoughtful comments/criticism (particularly WLU and Chris).

    I admit there was a point where I got way too weird and did not explain myself fully haha. I think I get so fired up about nutrition I am prone to vagueness/typing without thinking.

    Looking forward to talking with you guys and gals on future threads.

    Thanks again this has been fun. The curcumin study and hearing your perspective has made me temper my opinions a bit/see where they can be explained in better detail.

    Have a nice Sunday.


  7. papertrail says:

    I, for one, appreciate your honesty (weirdness, or whatever you want to call it) and sharing what you’re doing. It was interesting, and your politeness is refreshing.

  8. lizditz says:

    @DavidRL appears to be part of the “personal metrics” (movement? something anyway…) also known as The Quantified Self (QS)

    His bloodwork obsession (why spend on that?) aside, regular readers may be interested in reading an introduction to the subject, an article at Wired called Know Thyself.

    Elite athletes do this sort of measurement regularly. A number of parents of non-verbal autistic children also track (less obsessively) to see if they can suss out things that improve (or impair) their children’s quality of life.

    Other people with mood disorders use some form of QS tracking to help with quality of life. Some people have started QS projects as part of a weight-loss or fitness-improvement effort.

  9. DW says:

    Thanks Liz. I see a value for such “tracking” when it’s for a particular medical purpose, or time-limited, like a food diary when you’re beginning a weight loss program etc. It seems to me that writing down everything you eat for 5 years is something that’s gotten a bit out of control; you’ve maybe solved one problem but created others.

  10. Completely self-serving, but I just finished a post detailing the quack backgrounds of some of the members of the board of the Weston A. Price Foundation:

  11. Quill says:


    I don’t mind your tooting your own horn. Your post about the people at WAP was very interesting. I’d heard about them for a while but didn’t know much about them. Eeep. While the original Dr. Price sounds like an interesting person with an inquisitive mind, the foundation that bears his name seems wacky and the leaders not qualified to be making so many recommendations. Heck, any recommendations!

  12. Wendy Hughes says:

    It is unfortunate that Weight Watchers has adopted Dr. Oz in their promotion. There is nothing inherently unhealthful about the Weight Watchers Points Plus program. I am a stone skeptic, and I’ve lost 45 lbs. since June 2011, and have not had to suffer deprivation nor engage in any woo that I could detect. It is a simple program of classification of foods into points by analysis of fiber, protein, carbs and fats, and budgeting the amounts ingested daily. All fruit and most vegetables are zero points, so as long as you don’t hate fruit and vegetables, and get a little exercise most days of the week, you can lose weight easily without being hungry. I was disappointed that Dr. Oz became their poster boy. Next meeting I go to, I plan to wear a shirt that says “Friends Don’t Let Friends Watch Oprah” ;-)

  13. heirsolo says:

    Your article “Dr Oz revisited”. Section: Eggplant – A “cure” for cancer.

    You state that someone named Dr Bill Elliot Cham who BASICALLY claims
    that eggplants cure skin cancer. In this context your term BASICALLY
    has no scientific meaning.

    Furthermore, nowhere does Dr Cham claim that eggplants cure skin
    cancer, on the contrary, he claims the opposite. Eggplants do not
    cure skin cancer and what Dr Cham claims (and proves by his, and other
    independent scientists medical publications) is that solasodine
    rhamnosyl glycosides (BEC) present in the Devil’s Apple and in the
    Eggplant cure, by medical definition, basal cell carcinoma and
    squamous cell carcinoma in humans and that BEC cures internal cancers
    in animals.

    Since the heading of your organization is “Science – Based Medicine”
    which supposedly explores issues and controversies in the relationship
    between science and medicine I will only address your inadequate
    issues on Curaderm and Dr Bill Cham relating to Science – Based

    Herewith a small sample of several articles recently published by
    various independent scientists on Curaderm and its active ingredients.
    This work has taken over a quarter of a century. I invite you to
    read these articles and also take note of the references in these
    articles to help you broaden your understanding of science in general
    and of the benefits of Curaderm.

    – B. E. Cham, “Intralesion and Curaderm BEC5 topical combination
    therapies of solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides derived from the Eggplant
    or Devil’s Apple result in rapid removal of large skin cancers.
    Methods of treatment compared”. Int. Journal Clinical Medicine, Vol.
    3, 2012. In press.

    – B. E. Cham and T. R. Chase, “Solasodine Rhamnosyl Glycosides Cause
    Apoptosis in Cancer Cells. Do They Also Prime the Immune System
    Resulting in Long Term Protection Against Cancer?” Planta Medica, Vol.
    78, 2012, pp. 349-353.

    – T. R. Chase, “Curaderm BEC5 For Skin Cancers, Is It? An Overview,”
    Journal Cancer Therapy, Vol. 2, 2011, pp. 728-745.

    – B. E. Cham, “Topical Solasodine Rhamnosyl Glycosides Derived from
    the Eggplant Treats Large Skin Cancers: Two Case Reports,”
    International Journal Clinical Medicine, Vol. 2, No. 4, 2011, pp.

    – L. H. Goldberg, J. M. Landau, M. N. Moody and I. J.
    Vergilis-Kalner. “Treatment of Bowen’s disease on the penis with low
    concentration of a standard mixture of solasodine glycosides and
    liquid nitrogen”. Dermatologic Surgery, Vol. 37, 2011, pp. 858-861.

    – S. Punjabi, L. J. Cook, P. Kersey, R. Marks and R. Cerio,
    “Solasodine Glycoalkaloids: A Novel Topical Therapy for Basal Cell
    Carcinoma. A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel
    Group, Multicentre Study,” International Journal Dermatology, Vol. 47,
    2008, pp. 78-82. (Zycure is Curaderm).

    I hope after reading these articles and examing their references, you
    will realize that your article on Curaderm and Dr Cham is incorrect.

    You have used other statements regarding Dr Cham to fuel your war
    against Dr Oz and Dr Mercola. It is not my purpose to engage in your
    controversies other than to state that your conclusions of Dr Cham are
    unfounded, uninformed and outrageous.

    This brings into contention your credibility on your other views of
    Science – Based Medicine.

  14. David Gorski says:

    One can’t help but think you’re being disingenuous when you harp on my discussion of Dr. Cham’s claims. First of all, straight from the Curaderm website, we find, “Curaderm BEC5 Eggplant Skin Cancer Cream by Dr. Bill Elliot Cham” and:

    Curaderm BEC5 Skin cancer treatment made from the extract of the eggplant and available (in some countries) for Non-Melanoma skin cancer & Sunspots as a cream in a topical cream.

    In fact, you’re being silly in your level of pedantry when you focus on the word “basically.” I mean, seriously. People sometimes accuse me of having no sense of humor about such things, but if you seem to beat me in humorlessness in that you can’t recognize obvious sarcasm when you see it. When I see someone focus like a laser on a single word in a statement like that, I know they have little substantive to say.

    As for the publications, one notes that the International Journal of Clinical Medicine (where two of the articles are published) is an open source journal that is not indexed in Medline when I checked this morning. Sorry, but if the journal is not indexed in Medline then I don’t bother trying to chase it down (well, with one exception that would take too long to go into here). The reason is that the bar for being indexed in Medline is pretty low; so if a journal is not indexed in Medline it’s generally not worth a busy clinician-researcher’s time. As for the other publications, they’re mostly case reports with one randomized study. You’ll also notice that my links to PubMed searches above turn up Punjabi et al and Goldberg et al, two of the studies you list above; so it’s not as though I ignored them. Did you bother to click on my links? That’s what they’re there for. It’s not as though I was hiding anything. It’s rather that I was unimpressed by the evidence Dr. Cham arrays. To make you happy, perhaps I will add a sentence explaining why this small clinical trial doesn’t justify the claims being made for it.

  15. Harriet Hall says:

    Dr. Gorski said that the eggplant treatment might work but that currently available evidence doesn’t support Cham’s claims. His presentation was openminded and accurate. His point was that the statement from the TV show that “a skin cream made of eggplant extract can cure cancer” was a misleading teaser. It clearly was.

    Now you have presented your evidence and Dr. Gorski has explained why it doesn’t convince him. Your suggestion to an MD/PhD cancer specialist to “broaden your understanding of science in general” is condescending, insulting, and in very poor taste.

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