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Very Inaccurate Coverage of CFS on Dr. Oz

Posted Oct 23 2009 10:01pm
These last few weeks, we've all been reading and celebrating all the scientific, accurate news stories on CFS that have emerged since the news of XMRV in CFS. Well, I saw today that the battle is far from over. I heard that the Dr. Oz Show would be covering CFS today, so I tuned in, expecting to hear about XMRV on a popular, national medical TV show. Wow, was I disappointed! Even my 11-year old son (who's still home sick) could see immediately that Dr. Oz got it all wrong.

He started by announcing that if you are exhausted and sleep doesn't help, then you have CFS. He didn't mention a single one of the immune dysfunction symptoms or even exercise intolerance. He talked about anemia and thyroid problems. Then he explained how people with CFS could be cured (yes, cured!) with diet changes and supplements. The problem was that his CFS "expert" guest was Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum. I read Dr. Teitelbaum's book, From Fatigued to Fantastic, which focuses on chronic fatigue (the symptom) rather than CFS. He doesn't differentiate and claims to have a high cure rate for CFS based on his program of nutritional supplements (of course, that's because his patients have chronic fatigue, not CFS). His book doesn't address immune dysfunction at all. Even worse, Dr. Oz didn't even mention the XMRV research.

I would point you to a video of the CFS segment, but they chose to post a video of the G-spot story on their website instead! Dr. Oz has a huge impact on the general population because of his connection with Oprah. Please join me in telling him that his story about CFS was inaccurate and he needs to tell the REAL story. You can send a message to the show here.

Here's the text of my message:
"I was extremely disappointed in your very inaccurate coverage of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome on your October 23 show. I have read Jacob Teitelbaum's book and many of his articles. He is an expert on chronic fatigue, the general symptom, but not Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), the defined immune system disorder. CFS is far more than fatigue that is unresponsive to rest. You didn't even mention any of the symptoms of immune dysfunction that are common for CFS: sore throat and swollen glands, flu-like aches, and feeling feverish despite lower-than-normal temperature. In addition, the most unique, defining characteristic of CFS is an intolerance to exercise, where even mild exertion causes a sudden, severe worsening, whereas general fatigue is often improved by mild exercise.

On the show you talked about anemia and thyroid problems, two diagnoses that could exclude a diagnosis of CFS. For someone who actually has CFS, iron supplements, diet changes, and D-ribose would have only a very minor effect on the devastating symptoms, if any at all.

Finally, it is particularly disturbing that you presented such an inaccurate, non-scientific view of CFS at this time, after the momentous CFS research published two weeks ago in Science that connected CFS to a newly identified retrovirus, XMRV. See these websites for more information:

I hope that you will cover CFS again on your show, to provide the real facts and try to un-do some of the damage you have done to those of us suffering from this severe and debilitating disease with your very misleading and erroneous coverage today.

Sue Jackson
CFS for 7 years
Both of my sons also have CFS (yes, it also has a genetic link which has been proven in many scientific studies)"

Tell the Dr. Oz show what CFS REALLY is!
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