by lyle e davis
It starts out with his name.
As in the Wizard of Oz?
No, it’s Mehmet Oz, MD.
It’s a Turkish name. Full name is Mehmet Cengiz Oz, but everyone just calls him Dr. Oz. And they watch him. In San Diego County he’s on in the morning and again in the evening.
Viewers are drawn to him like moths to a flame. Why? Well, he’s a handsome guy. A disarming smile that puts audience members and patients at ease. He’s got a bedside manner that we all wish our own physicians had.
He has audience involvement. During each show he selects “assistants” from the audience, each of whom gets to wear a white laboratory coat. Often, they will be asked to don the purple latex gloves because they will be handling human organs such as an intestine, the heart, a lung, any number of organs.
The tv audience as well as the studio audience knows that with Dr. Oz, there is absolutely nothing off limits.
They discuss flatulence, body odor, sexual problems, you name it, chances are it has, or will be, discussed on the Dr. Oz show.
Dr. Oz is open, honest, and direct. He is also a master diplomat at times. Sometimes, however, he is very blunt as is evident from a series of questions put forth to him by Esquire Magazine:
16 Quick Questions for Dr. Oz
By Mehmet Oz & Joel Harper
1. Is there any truth to the five-second rule about dropped food?
Most food you drop is still perfectly edible. If it was in your eyesight the whole time, you can pick it up and eat it.
2. I get these e-mails about colon cleansing. Is it a good idea?
You'll get rid of more crap by deleting the e-mails. The intestines empty themselves completely if you eat a high-fiber diet.
3. What's the best headache treatment, other than painkillers?
Take two fingers and press firmly on the bridge of your nose, right beneath the brow line, for a few minutes. There's an acupressure point there.
4. Is pizza really so bad?
The only thing that's good about pizza is the sauce: It contains lycopene, an antioxidant. It does help to switch to wheat crust, because at least you get whole grains instead of white flour.
5. I drink one Scotch a night. Good or bad?
In that amount, any alcohol, including Scotch, has a health benefit.
6. Is antibacterial soap bullshit?
It is bullshit.
7. Is there anything wrong with replacing a meal with a PowerBar and Gatorade once in a while?
The rule I use is, If it doesn't come out of the ground looking the way it looks when you eat it, be careful. There's no such thing as a PowerBar tree.
8. How much coffee is too much?
You get the health benefits of coffee up through about the first twenty-four ounces. It's the biggest source of antioxidants for Americans, and we think it helps prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's as well.
9. Are horizontal ridges on my fingernails a bad sign?
No. You probably had an illness or a bad injury when the nail was growing in.
10. What's the healthiest fruit?
11. Is all seafood good for you?
Nope. Some of the crustaceans have cholesterol — shrimp, crab, lobster. And top predators like swordfish and tuna can contain elevated levels of industrial toxins, so you shouldn't eat them more than three times a week.
12. I'm young, healthy, and I haven't been to a doctor for a while. Is that stupid?
The basic things that you need to do with a doctor up to the age of forty are minimal. But there are some standard tests — cholesterol, blood pressure, that sort of thing — that you want to get done at least every five years. Make an appointment.
13. I sweat too much.
Sweating's one of the ways your body copes with extra weight. So weight loss helps. But also get your thyroid function checked. Hyperthyroidism causes excess sweating, but it's treatable.
14. If I exercise for an hour every Saturday, is that as good as twenty minutes three times a week?
Is it better to brush your teeth every day or for a long time on Sundays only?
15. Does mowing the lawn count?
You bet. Be sure not to overarch your back, and pull your stomach in. There's a great Velcro rubber belt at any athletic store. Get one and use it over a T-shirt.
16. I drive forty-five minutes each day commuting. Is there anything I can do while I'm behind the wheel to tone up?
Squeeze your butt cheeks as tight as you can for five thirty-second reps with ten-second breaks. Then go back and forth — squeeze your right butt cheek, then left — twenty times each. Next: Shrug your shoulders up as close as you can to your ears, hold for ten seconds, relax, and repeat five times. And watch where you're going.
Recently, Dr. Oz conducted a program nationwide to assist viewers who might be having a less than ideal sex life.
His program promotion says, . . . The kids. The job. The house. Americans prioritize everything above their romantic partners – and as a result, the country is in the midst of a sexual famine. Dr. Oz wants you to have more sex, so take part now in the National Sex Experiment. Learn how to reconnect with your partner by starting with small moments of intimacy and connectivity, before opening yourself up to the best sex of your life!
Are you game? You can join the Dr. Oz National Sex Experiment by going to his website and clicking where indicated. Your results and the rest of the participants will be tallied and responded to in a summary study.
America first became aware of him thanks to his many appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show. As we watched him I think we all knew that one day he would have his own show, just as Dr. Phil eventually got his own show. Americans love Dr. Phil, Americans love Dr. Oz. Oprah seems to have a real talent at finding and grooming winners.
Dr. Oz is a cardiothoracic surgeon and author . . . and now he is a tv star.
How He Got His TV Show
After five years and 55 episodes, my time as a regular guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show came to an end on Tuesday, May 12th. I embarked on this journey when Oprah and her team saw some promise in a series of shows my wife Lisa and I created for the Discovery Health Channel entitled "Second Opinion" in 2003. In fact, Oprah was my first guest on the program. At the time, I was completely consumed with sharing the medical school experience that converts laymen into doctors. After all, if dunking someone in health information makes him/her an expert in school, why wouldn't it work elsewhere? But something happened along the way that convinced me that I had this all wrong.
Like most doctors, the extent of my training in human behavior was somewhat limited. If we felt our patients needed to behave in a particular way - say losing weight - our job was to educate them on the perils of obesity. Our reasoning was simple: once understood, the cold, hard facts would be sufficient incentive for any rational human to change their behavior. And, if that didn't work, we dug our heels in and repackaged the facts to further underscore the urgent need for action. This tactic became affectionately known as a "wake up call."
What most doctors hadn't counted on was that their wake up calls would be blocked by Caller ID. Even when we made a connection, our call was quickly put on a kind of permanent hold. As physicians, our knee-jerk reaction was 'don't they get it?', or 'how can they ignore the facts?'
My wake up call, the one I finally answered, was to realize that information, in the traditional sense, is not the essential prerequisite for action. The processing of information is simply too slow to be useful. A real creature in a real-world environment does not have the luxury of analysis. Instead, we rely on emotion and feelings to guide action. People often form a judgment about something by subconsciously asking "How do I feel about this?"
So, as I turned those Discovery programs into our best-selling "YOU: The Owner's Manual" book series with my writing partner, Cleveland Clinic Foundation's Dr. Michael Roizen, we saw how abstract health information, without an emotional connection, paralyzes many readers. Sour and dire "gloom and doom" information doesn't exactly bring you back begging for more. Rather, actions are only reinforced if they stimulate the dopamine jackpot of the brain. This is what love, drugs and other addictions do so perfectly, so we return for more without urging (and sometimes, despite great risk). So the real question we needed to ask the audience is "How does this information make you feel?" And if 80% of change is emotional, then connecting is more important than informing. Many physicians, including myself, sometimes forget this lesson as we innocently bludgeon doctor-patient relationships.
This is where the Oprah show magic boosted us into the motivational orbit viewers need. We aimed for the transformation trifecta: tell folks what to do for their health (which is what most health advisors and the news does), explain the science so they really understand the advice, and convince them why it should matter to them. For example, we did shows on cigarette addictions and explained that they are bad for you - it's no surprise that didn't turn many heads. Then comes the step where most docs, nurses, and loved ones insult the smoker for not quitting. But this only further diminishes the already low esteem of someone upset with himself for still smoking in the first place. Instead, Oprah offered the insight that we were doing the show because we care about you. And all we want is for you to love yourself as much as we do.
In fact, what I learned most poignantly on the Oprah show was that I did not need to fix everything, especially difficult for a doctor. What many people really crave is to be heard and validated. Then we can disrupt their beliefs as we break their patterns on our way to helping out. Many of the guests knew the path better than me. Their health hardships had cracked them open so they were able to receive inspiration and insights which they kindly shared with us. These wonderful people like Randy Pausch, Michael J. Fox, Montel Williams and hundreds more whose names you would not recognize emphasized that we're judged by how we take care of each other. That's the most important message I carry into "The Dr. Oz Show" which started on Monday, September 14. It's the lesson that would make Professor Winfrey proudest as she graduates another student.
Just Who Is Dr. Oz?
Oz was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Muslim Turkish parents who had immigrated from Konya, Turkey. He was educated at Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Delaware, and in 1982 received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University. In 1986, he obtained a joint MD and MBA degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and The Wharton School.
The man is a brilliant academic as well as an outstanding spokesman on television. He comes across as knowledgable, polite, easy to know, east to talk to.
Oz is Professor of Cardiac Surgery at Columbia University. He previously directed the Heart Assist Device Program and is a founder of the Complementary Medicine Program at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. His research interests include heart replacement surgery, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and healthcare policy. He has authored more than 400 original publications, book chapters, abstracts, and books and has received several patents. Oz serves as a scientific advisor to MDLinx, a leading physician portal.
Oz is the founder and chairman of HealthCorps, a non-profit organization that pays a small stipend to recent college graduates to spend two years in high schools mentoring students about health, nutrition, and fitness.
Oz has been influenced by many people, including the ideas of the Swedish scientist, philosopher, and Christian theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. He recently wrote in Spirituality and Health Magazine that "As I came into contact with Swedenborg's many writings, I began to understand Swedenborg's profound insights and how they applied directly to my life." He mentions Swedenborg's ideas that marriage lasts to eternity, everyone has a purpose in this world, God is love, and Swedenborg's answers to "Why do bad things happen?."
He is an investigator in Energy Medicine (ie. meditative medicine, not to be mistaken with metabolic sciences).
Oz and his wife, a reiki practitioner, are believers in alternative medicine. Conventional medical practitioners allege that Oz may be promoting unproven and potentially harmful alternative medicine practices. Appearing in surgical scrubs on the show's set in Chicago, Oz has promoted self-described energy based practices and acupuncture on the show.
Oz's father is Professor Dr. Mustafa Öz. He is married to author and Reiki master Lisa Oz. He is a Muslim. He has four children, has two younger sisters, he now lives in New Jersey and is 6 ft 1 in. tall.
Oz is fluent in both English and Turkish. He is a holder of both Turkish and American citizenship, having served time in the Turkish Army to retain his Turkish citizenship. Named one of the 500 most influential Muslims 2009.
Dr. Oz has been honored as Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People (2008), a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum (1999-2004), and The Harvard 100 Most Influential Alumni in the 02138 Magazine, as well as receiving the Ellis Island Medal of Honor (2008). He won the prestigious Gross Research Scholarship, and has received an honorary doctorate from Istanbul University. He was voted "The Best and Brightest" by Esquire and was elected a “Doctor of the Year” by Hippocrates magazine, and "Healer of the Millenium" by Healthy Living magazine. He is annually elected as a highest-quality physician in the USA by the Castle Connolly Guide as well as other major ranking groups.