Category Archive: Celebrities

Gwyneth Done Gooped

This week on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Gwyneth Paltrow admitted what everyone in the scientific community already knew to be true: She has no idea what she’s talking about. Paltrow built herself a small empire in goop, a “modern lifestyle brand” dedicated to reviving archaic, anti-science health claims. Recently, she found herself in hot water after convincing female followers to leave a golf ball sized “jade egg” in their vagina to promote sexual health. Dr. Jen Gunter and Dr. Leena Nathan, both board certified OB/GYNs, immediately lashed out with a laundry list of reasons why women should not take the celebrity’s advice, including the potential for bacterial vaginosis,...

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Anti-Vaxxer “Doesn’t Feel Responsible” for Measles Outbreak

Andrew Wakefield, father of the anti-vaccine movement, “[doesn’t] feel responsible at all” for the ongoing measles outbreak in Minnesota. We beg to differ. The largest ever measles outbreak in the state’s history is propagating among a tight-knit Somali immigrant community – the same community Wakefield visited at least three times in 2010 and 2011 to warn parents against vaccinating their children. His message clearly took root, because 92 percent of the 50 children affected in the current outbreak were either never vaccinated against measles, or did not finish the vaccine's full course. Wakefield and others who peddle the falsehood that the measles, mumps, and rubella...

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Daytime Emmys Have a Low Bar for “Informative Talk Shows”

Perhaps the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences should drop the final word from its title, after awarding “The Dr. Oz Show” a Daytime Emmy for its role as an “outstanding informative talk show.” Clearly, it doesn’t matter to the Academy that the information Dr. Mehmet Oz so “outstandingly” peddles is pure fiction. A 2014 study in the journal BMJ found that two thirds of Dr. Oz’s recommendations – including cutting salt to avoid cancer, and cutting GMOs to cure autism – were either baseless or completely contradicted by available scientific evidence. In that same year, “America’s Doctor” came under...

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Gwyneth Paltrow: The OB/GYNs Strike Back

Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t known for her rigid adherence to facts. She has previously advocated in favor of severe calorie restricting detoxes, potentially dangerous colon cleanses, and disruptive vaginal steaming. Once again, Paltrow’s lifestyle website goop flexed its anti-science muscle in what seems like an unending saga of peddling pseudoscience to the masses - this time championing women’s health by convincing female followers to put a golf ball sized “jade egg” in their vagina. According to goop’s source, leaving the solid object in one’s vagina for hours at a time while sleeping or going about the day “increases chi, orgasms, vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and feminine energy.” And if your...

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Kardashian Health Tips: Fact or Fiction

Kourtney may be the least irrational Kardashian, but the eldest sister of a family that's somehow famous for being famous has a low bar to clear when it comes to normalcy. The Kardashian family's health advice includes eating your own placenta (in pill form), using manuka honey to "prevent" illness, and staying away from any food that isn't organic. Kourtney's new branding identity as a wellness guru should offend anyone involved with public health. Her latest rant details her aversion to plastic. She admits to using stainless steel cups, bowls, lunchboxes, and even straws because the material is “more durable, more hygienic and...

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What Do Angelina Jolie and Santa Have in Common?

Each year, The BMJ (the journal formerly known as the British Medical Journal) publishes a Christmas issue featuring peer-reviewed studies with a playful twist. This year’s issue included a Harvard University study titled, “Do celebrity endorsements matter? Observational study of BRCA gene testing and mastectomy rates after Angelina Jolie’s New York Times editorial.” While perhaps not the most lighthearted topic, the study piqued our interest. Do celebrity endorsements (à la Dr. Oz’s weight loss pills or Gwyneth Paltrow’s detoxes) really influence people? According to Dr. Sunita Desai and Dr. Anupam Jena, the answer is yes.** The researchers evaluated the rate of BRCA gene testing in the months before...

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Dr. Oz’s Latest Health-spiracy

TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz has brought yet another unwanted spotlight upon himself. The good doctor (we use the term loosely) is being sued by the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) for making false claims against the quality of olive oil sold in the U.S. Dr. Oz recently claimed a “shocking” 80 percent of extra virgin olive oil bought at the local supermarket isn’t real. He alluded to widespread fraud in the olive oil industry as a scam to sell inferior products at a higher price. The irrefutable evidence? Not a laboratory-conducted analysis, but a taste tester. While Dr. Oz relies on the fanciful authority of one...

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Exposing Bad Science with John Oliver

John Oliver’s recent segment on scientific studies echoes what we’ve been saying for years: Learn how to evaluate a study and don’t let sensationalism influence you. If you haven’t seen it yet, we’ve embedded it below. Oliver explains how the media likes scientific studies that sound bizarre, scary, or simply too good to be true, such as drinking coffee makes you live longer. The media makes money by grabbing viewers and website clicks, without really understanding complicated studies. This means they often misunderstand or accidently twist a study to mean something that it doesn’t. Though the show hit the main points, here a few...

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Robert De Niro Backs Away from Anti-Vaccine Film

Andrew Wakefield is a dangerous man. In 1998, he published a study claiming the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine is linked to autism. The paper has been retracted, widely discredited, and volumes of research have been published showing there is absolutely no link between vaccines and autism. Not only was Wakefield’s paper incorrect, but investigators found he committed fraud to profit off an MMR scare and medical tests. As a result, he lost his medical license for conflicts of interest and ethics violations. Though he’s no longer a doctor, Wakefield hasn’t given up his anti-vaccine activism. His new film, “Vaxxed:...

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Once Again, Tests Show Jessica Alba’s Honest Company isn’t so Honest

Jessica Alba has developed a personal care and cleaning product empire based on the premise that her products are “safer” that other brands on the market. But once again, testing reveals that one of her popular products contains ingredients she likes to claim could be harmful to consumers. This week, The Wall Street Journal reports that two independent lab tests of the Honest Company’s liquid laundry detergent contain a chemical called sodium lauryl sulfate, SLS. Alba’s company markets its products as “Honestly free of” SLS and in Alba’s book, “The Honest Life,” she claims SLS is a “toxin.” Both labs found...

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