FOX's Dr. Jennifer Ashton: She's a fox, but no Einstein
I recently saw Dr. Jennifer Ashton on FOX delivering what I thought was an unjustified minimalization of the importance of nutrition. I wondered if she had some financial incentive to say what she did, or if she were too busy staring in the mirror to learn more before she opened her mouth and misled the viewers on FOX who might assume that she really knows what she is talking about because she is a doctor. Dr. Ashton is exceptionally attractive, and she evidently wants potential patients to know that, because her web site currently features a slide show with various large pictures of her. I wondered, “Is she a doctor? Or a model?” She's a doctor, alright, but I doubt that she graduated at the top of her class. If she did, why didn't she know the facts that I mentioned in my message to her? (see below) I don't understand how any doc who knew that info could give the report that she did.
I would be thrilled if Dr. Ashton were ethical enough to send a resignation letter to FOX in which she said the following:
“I am not the smartest doctor in the world, nor am I the most knowledgeable. I am, however, arguably the most attractive female physician on Earth, which is likely why you chose me over other candidates who have better brains but uglier bodies. While I appreciate your confidence in my ability to spellbind viewers, especially men, as a doctor I know that health is too important of a topic to have health presentations on your channel given by anyone except the best and the brightest. I am smart, but not the smartest, so please accept this resignation and, for heaven's sake, please stop pandering to the people who value beauty over brains.”
I discussed the Attractive Expert Syndrome on one of my web sites, explaining why society is almost invariably harmed when the selection criteria for experts includes their appearance.
Here is the message I sent to her:
I saw your report on vitamins this morning on FOX, and I am alarmed by your overall message. Are you aware of the prevalence of genetic mutations producing apoenzymes with decreased coenzyme binding affinity, as evidenced by their increased Michaelis constant (Km)? Are you aware that administering high doses of the vitamin component of the coenzyme can remedy or ameliorate about 50 (and likely far more) human genetic diseases by at least partially restoring enzyme activity? (Incidentally, this therapy is also useful in other cases, including polymorphisms that heighten disease risk, when a mutation affects the coenzyme binding site of the apoenzyme.) Did you know that a substantial percentage of people are affected by polymorphisms? Do you ever take complete dietary histories on patients? I've done this, which has given me remarkable insight into the junk that most people eat. I know that you must be a very busy person (aren't all doctors? :-), so here is a simple way to assess average nutritional intakes without any extra expenditure of time: Just look at what people buy in supermarkets! Many people obtain a substantial percentage of their daily caloric intake from refined sugars and foods that provide little nutritional value.
I've done enough TV and radio interviews myself to know that the need to give a "Cliffs Notes" version of the facts necessitates that the presentation be brief and therefore often lacking in essential information, so I am doing my best to not be overly harsh in judging your presentation today. However, it seemed to me that you had enough time to give a more balanced presentation than what you did.
I attended a medical school that stressed nutrition, yet even though I graduated in the top 1% of my class, I still think that I learned little about that subject — which is really just applied biochemistry and physiology. I've since worked hard to remedy that gap in my knowledge, so I likely know far more about this subject than an average physician, who'd probably say, "Michaelis what?" The more I learn, the more I realize that the average American diet does NOT provide optimal amounts of all vitamins and minerals at all times, nor does it provide optimal amounts of various phytochemicals that are conducive to health. I typically spend an hour every morning studying this subject. After years of doing it, I have acquired thousands of articles which bolster my case that average Americans could benefit greatly from improved nutrition in general — not just the few nutrients you singled out. If you disagree, I'd love to debate you. The loser pays $10,000 to the winner's favorite charity. Deal? :-)
Evidently not. She never responded.
So, FOX, how about replacing that fox with someone who knows more?
- Health News Stories On Local Television News Broadcasts Are Too Short
Comment: Not just local broadcasts.
- Genetic mutations previously thought to affect only specific ethnic groups “are showing up in people whose ancestries have not been linked to that mutation before”: Expect the Unexpected: Rare Mutation Frequencies
Comment: This would not surprise any logical person.
- Just one of many thousands of articles I could cite that demonstrates the importance of nutrition: Adaptive dysfunction of selenoproteins from the perspective of the triage theory: why modest selenium deficiency may increase risk of diseases of aging
- And another one: researchers found “that when mothers are even moderately undernourished while pregnant and breastfeeding, their offspring are consistently found to be prediabetic before adolescence.” (Link to original article)
- 'Rare' Genetic Variants Are Surprisingly Common, Life Scientists Report based on An Abundance of Rare Functional Variants in 202 Drug Target Genes Sequenced in 14,002 People
- Rare Genetic Variants Create 'Synthetic' Genome-Wide Signals of Disease Risk* based on Rare Variants Create Synthetic Genome-Wide Associations and Common Disease, Multiple Rare (and Distant) Variants
*Excerpt: “Scientists at Duke University Medical Center say they are now convinced that rare genetic variants—as opposed to more common ones—lie at the heart of the genetic component of most common diseases.”
- Gene Variant That Raises Risk for Colorectal Cancer from Eating Processed Meat Present in One-In-Three People
- Slew of Rare DNA Changes Following Population Explosion May Hold Clues to Common Diseases* based on Evolution and Functional Impact of Rare Coding Variation from Deep Sequencing of Human Exomes
*Excerpt: “One-letter switches in the DNA code occur much more frequently in human genomes than anticipated …”
- Rare and Common Genetic Variations Responsible for High Triglyceride Levels in Blood based on Excess of rare variants in genes identified by genome-wide association study of hypertriglyceridemia
- Rare Mitochondrial Mutations – Maybe Not So Rare? Comprehensive Analysis of Mitochondrial DNA Will Aid Early Diagnosis
- Large Reservoir Of Mitochondrial DNA Mutations Identified In Humans
- Wide Range of Differences, Mostly Unseen, Among Humans
Excerpt: “The study's findings suggest that, with respect to diversity in protein function, the individual differences between two people are greater than previously assumed.”
- New Testing Strategy Detects Population-Wide Vitamin, Mineral Deficiencies
- Europeans Do Not Consume Enough Vitamins, Minerals
- Surprising Variation Among Genomes of Individual Neurons from Same Brain
- More on somatic genetic variation: Novel Genetic Patterns May Make Us Rethink Biology and Individuality based on Recurrent Tissue-Specific mtDNA Mutations Are Common in Humans
- Personal Antidepressant for Every Genome based on Genome-wide expression profiling of human lymphoblastoid cell lines implicates integrin beta-3 in the mode of action of antidepressants
- Scientists find genetic mechanism linking aging to specific diets
Excerpt: “These studies have revealed that single gene mutations can alter the ability of an organism to utilize a specific diet. In humans, small differences in a person's genetic makeup that change how well these genes function, could explain why certain diets work for some but not others.”
- DNA of peanut-allergic kids changes with immune therapy, study finds based on Peanut oral immunotherapy results in increased antigen-induced regulatory T-cell function and hypomethylation of forkhead box protein 3 (FOXP3)
- Researchers pilot predictive medicine by studying healthy people's DNA
Excerpt: “"We were surprised that this many individuals had positive findings …"”
- People with forms of early-onset Parkinson's disease may benefit from boosting niacin in diet, research suggests