Thursday, January 6, 2011

Deepak Chopra Guests on the Dr. Oz show

I had the opportunity to catch part of The Dr. Oz show today, because I knew that he was planning on having Deepak Chopra on his show.   Mr. Chopra plugged some stress relief methods, which is not particularly bad by itself, but ultimately full of the typical pseudo-science for which Deepak Chopra is known for.   See the video below.

What turned it into the typical pseudo –science  that Mr. Chopra is so well loved for pushing is the way the treatment was sold.  He was selling it as a way to reverse aging.   Yes, that right folks you can become younger by just eliminating stress, isn’t that great?

However, the fact is that his argument is complex enough and based upon just enough science that it will likely convince most of Dr. Oz’s viewers.  It starts out with a discussion of telomeres.  For those who do not know, telomeres are a section of repetitive DNA that appears on the end of chromosomes.  Telomeres act as a kind of buffer that keeps all of the rest of your DNA safe from degradation.  According to current science the breakdown of the telomeres is the main cause of aging.

The argument that Chopra presents is that stress is one of the main caused of telomere break down, and if people reduce stress they can reverse the effects of aging.  Now there are some real studies that have been done showing a correlation between high stress and faster break down of telomeres, but Chopra’s argument fails on several counts.   One, correlation does not necessarily equal causation, and there does not seem to be any direct proof that the stress is actually causing the faster breakdown of telomeres.  Two, telomere break down naturally occurs throughout our life as genes are copied, reducing stress may be able to slow down telomere break down, but it cannot stop it, much less reverse it, so the notion that his program can REVERSE aging is completely made up.  As is often done with pseudo –science claims people take actual science and then exaggerate or distort the nature of the claim.

I was, of course, doubly disturbed that Dr. Oz, seemed to eat up Mr. Chopra’s pseudo-science; in the entire segment I watched I never saw him even once question the efficacy of Chopra’s treatments nor did he question the science behind his claims.  I am in no way a doctor or a scientist and I knew that there is currently no known way to reverse telomere break down, indeed this is one the main focuses of research by scientists who are researching ways to reverse aging.  I am sure they would be ecstatic to hear that instead of spending billions of dollars and years of their life on research we can achieve the same effect with a few simply stress relief exercises.  Dr. Oz should have known this, and should have called him on it.

No comments:

Post a Comment