Thought for the Day

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I Blame Oprah and Oz

I thought that I developed type 1 diabetes as a teenager, I was diagnosed at the age of 15. Imagine my surprise to find out I was born with it. Or maybe not. Was I born 35 years ago?
Let me start over. A while back, I was asked, in order to help promote the Phoenix Tour de Cure, to submit a brief bio to Sweat Magazine, which serves the local amateur athletics and fitness community. In a couple of paragraphs, I would explain who I was and why I was riding in the TdC.
So I gave my bio to the TdC coordinator, who made slight changes to a couple of lines to clarify and promote the Tour, then sent it into the magazine.
When it came out in the March issue online, this was in there:
In spite of being born with type-1, Nairn strives to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Combating the life-threatening nuisance for over 35-years, he decided to join the Red Riders for the Phoenix Tour de Cure come March 13.
So you can understand my confusion. I kind of like the description of diabetes as a "life-threatening nuisance," but this other stuff that was not in the original bio isn't right. I am not 35 years old. I have not been a type 1 diabetic since birth.
Where did that come from?
I blame Dr. Oz and Oprah.
Dr. Oz has said at least once on television and twice in print that type 1 diabetics are born with it. This simply is not true. Although it happens sometimes, it is rare for someone to be born a type 1 diabetic.
Another blogger has said that Dr. Oz will never answer a question by saying, "I don't know." Instead, he will just make stuff up.
This is true.
Sadly, he doesn't even have to be asked a question before he will start just making stuff up. If he is pontificating in front of an audience, and he gets into an area where he doesn't know very much, he will just make stuff up.
Sadder still, the things he makes up enter the public consciousness as facts. He's a doctor. He went to Harvard. He's on TV. He's wearing hospital scrubs. It must be true.
I don't care if you're a plumber or a mechanic or a gardener or a software engineer like me, you know people in your field who won't say they don't know. They just make stuff up. Dr. Oz is that kind of physician.
He discredits his profession and the schools he attended and Oprah Winfrey. He spreads ignorance and misinformation. I could speculate on why he does that. I was about to speculate, but I will refrain. I will just reiterate that it is a fact, he just makes stuff up.
So someone writing for Sweat saw in my bio that I was a type 1 diabetic and, knowing that type 1 diabetics are born with it, added that I was born with it.
I wrote to the editor, and she says this story will probably be fixed in the print edition, but it's still wrong on the web site.
Oh, well. I blame Dr. Oz and Oprah.

PS: There is a twisted way of looking at this issue which might permit one to say that "Type 1 diabetics are born with it."
There appears to be a genetic predisposition to type 1 diabetes in many of those who eventually develop it.
However, the same is true for type 2 diabetics, so following that logic, type 2 diabetics are born with it.

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