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Would You Take Medical Advice From A Celebrity?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We are a society that is fascinated with the lives of celebrities. We like to know what they eat for dinner, where they shop for toothpaste and the details of their medical history. Many celebrities have been very open about their struggles with various diseases, in the hopes that they can inspire and educate others through their experiences. But when does it cross the line from sharing experiences, to giving medical advice that they aren't qualified to be dispensing?

Michael J. Fox has inspired millions through his struggle with Parkinson's Disease. He has raised money to research a cure and made this disease much more high-profile than it would have been otherwise. But you don't see him writing books about how to treat the condition, or giving others who have Parkinson's advice about how they should be handling the disease.

There are other celebrities who seem to cross the line from sharing experiences and bringing attention, to giving advice about treatment. Suzanne Somers is a good example. Her latest book, titled Knockout, discusses alternative cancer treatment therapies and disputes proven research in the area of cancer treatment and cures. Jenny McCarthy has been very vocal about the link between autism and vaccines, even though research has shown vaccines to be safe.

People look to celebrities like these for advice on how to treat their medical conditions. Are these celebrities just speaking out about things the medical community doesn't want you to know? Or are they crossing the line into territory they aren't qualified to discuss?

Should celebrities bear any additional responsibility to be careful about what they say because of who they are? Although many people would say they won't take advice from someone who's not a qualified expert, others put trust in celebrities that may or may not be justified. And honestly, it's much easier for a famous person to spread misinformation than it is for you or I to do it.

What do you think?

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As a retired nurse, NO! These celebrities get PAID big money to endorse a certain product or whatever. They are not in any way qualified to make decisions for the common person! I would listen to the doctor, read up on and research his diagnosis. I would compare doctors and choices. Knowledge is a Godsend! Don't just buy or do anything that "seems" right! Do your research first! Report
Sure - we do it all the time - most every "spokesperson" or advertising face is a celebrity of some level. If not an out and out payed endorser.
NOPE!!! Report
Hell No Report
I could care less what a celebrity think or does. The majority of them are high school drop outs with a pretty face and they lie for a living (Acting). Yeah, I know that's harsh but think about what acting really is. Report
Most likely NO. Report
A celebrity can certainly bring awareness to medical issues. Because of Suzanne Somers, I learned about bio-identical hormones which changed my life for the better and that is something that I will be eternally grateful.

You have to use your common sense and decide whether or not to listen to "high profile" advice. Check with your doctor in regards to questions you may have coming from celebrities, magazines and even blogs and let him/her advise you.

I am not a celebrity gossip mongerer. I don't care what who wears, who they're sleeping with and I certainly don't care what some non-expert thinks about medicine. Leave it to the doctors, folks. Report
It is the Media that has the love affair with celebs, not we people out here!! I don't care what any celeb eats, uses on their teeth, skin, hair, etc. at all. Media needs to keep making money, so will use any tactic to appeal to lesser minds, of which there are many. Part of the problem with our whole society is the Media and it's money counters. Report
I don't listen to celebrities on any subject - especially health care concerns. I'm an RN and perfectly capable of doing my own research. I have much more faith in medical research than I do in celebrity prattle. Much of it is just more political correctness. Report
I know some of the background story of Suzanne Somer's cancer research and YES I believe it definitely. Would I go solely on her advice alone on this subject? NO but that does not mean that she is not right - she is absolutely right in this particular example. She's authored many books and I reserve my opinion on her others since I don't know what's going on with them.

And about Jenny McCarthy: anyone who believes vaccines are safe are simply drastically uninformed, a blind follower - a sheep - who is not paying a lick of attention, or a blind follower refuses to look at the evidence because they are a traditional doc with large ego, or other similar reason for ego investment. I challenge you to look up in favorite search engine two words: Amish autism. Please, get informed people. This is the age of the internet. Report
I listen to SALLY FIELD talking about Boniva for Osteoporosis as I read that she did a ton of research on the disease once she was found by her doctor to have it. She REALLY cares about women NOT getting this disease. Report
You do need to keep things in perspective. Some celebrities tend to jump on any fad while others with their resources are able to get the best advice from their own dietitians, trainers, doctors, etc. For example Suzanne Summers is taking bioidentical hormones and lets face it; she does look great; better than a lot of women half her age. Is it a case where she started an effective treatment option years before it is accepted by mainstream medicine or is it that she just has good genes? No telling but a lot of people want to hear what she has to say. Report
They have their opinions but so does everyone else. I would always take advice from a celebrity with a grain of salt. I believe most times they get paid to sponsor ideas rather than do all the research necessary to make an informed discussion. Big lips and hair don't make up for intellegence. Report
I don't necessarily think people should believe what a celebrity states. But it may make you want to do research of their own. I think people forget that these people usually get paid for what they are sponsoring. Report
Sure I would, five minutes AFTER they take my advice on how to act, do cattle calls, hit their marks, choose an agent, who to schmooze with to get the job and most of all, how to dress!!! Report
I always listen to what people have to say. Whether what they say is relevant or valid is another subject. Report
I was thinking I wouldn't, when I remembered I have. Gene Wilder sponsored PSAs on ovarian cancer after Gilda Radner's death. Since my mother died at 42 of ovarian cancer, I paid close attention to those PSAs, and discussed them with my doctors. This led to my getting yearly CA 125 tests for several years before switching to yearly pelvic ultrasounds now (which were 2 of the suggestions Gene Wilder had made). Since I'm now 41 with kids of my own, it gives me piece of mind to know I'm going everything I can to not go through the same thing.

So I think if what the celebrity says sounds valid, then start researching to gather corroborating AND contradictory advice, and then talk to your doctor to get their expert advice. Report
There is a difference between listening to the advice of a celebrity and taking that advice. Listening to what they have to say and using that information may give someone the oppportunity to discuss something new with their doctor. When it comes to the health issues of our families and self, I welcome all the information that I can get my hands to work with my doctor to make the most educated decisions possible. The advice a celebrity gives may not be what is the best course of action. Report
Celebrities are professional entertainers NOT doctors with a PhD. Whatever they say are just their OPINIONS. It's up to us to know the difference. Report
They have as much right as anyone else to voice their opinions or argue about the validity of some current treatment. I have very little faith in doctors. They are so worried about law suits that they follow the current protocol even when they KNOW it is wrong. Also they force their opinions on people, concerning their children. Women have been court ordered to have cesareans, people have been forced through chemotherapy, etc. Doctors continue to push drinking milk even though it has been proven to REDUCE calcium, they give kids shots that contain mercury, etc. The medical community is the new church. The last time doctors were given this much power, people were burned at stake. Report
Most times, I am very wary of so called health advice from celebrities. In particular, I always shy away from any diet anyone of them shills. The only celebrity who seemed to have a clue about what she was doing was Jane Fonda. Now, fitness experts may have concluded that her workouts aren't efficient i.e. that you don't need to do a million billion leg lifts to get lean legs. BUT, many people got turned on to fitness because of her workout tapes. So, I do give her credit for doing something positive.

I also give credit to Michael J Fox too for making more people aware of what it is like to live with Parkinson's disease. Is he an expert ? no, but he's lending his voice in hopes of making more and more people aware. that's important.

I've read some of Suzanne Somers books and I do feel she is irresponsible. While she may have a doctor as a co-author for her books, she isn't qualified to be a spokesperson for woman's health especially when discussing hormone replacement. that's a very sensitive subject. There is no one right answer. So, for her to say do X, Y or Z instead of listening to your own doctor is irresponsible. As for the thigh master, it was mostly harmless.

While a celebrity endorsement might get my notice. ultimately, I'll wait for a professional medical opinion on the subject before forming any opinions of my own.
Most of them have no clue as to what they are endorsing (that's my opinion). They can talk all they want but it doesn't mean I have to take their advice for gospel. Keep your mind open and investigate for yourself as much as possible! Report
I wouldn't intend on taking medical advise from them any more than I would take political advise........!!! I truly beleive our society is WAY too focused on what the celebs have to say and not enough focused on thinking for ourselves. So many will take their words for just about anything rather than doing their own research. I find it scary and disturbing. Report
No I would not take the advice of any celeb. Not even Chuck Norris though I am a fan. They are not licensed and not credible. Report
I take medical advice from my body and the doctors I trust. others I may listen to and try something, but we are all so unique with unique problems and health concerns that no one can tell you what is best for your body but your own body! Report
No, I would not take health/medical advice from a celebrity any more than I would take it from my dry cleaner. Michael J. Fox is to be lauded for what he has done for Parkinson's Disease--and lauded for what he has not done--set himself up as some kind of dubious guru. Report
I would never take health advice from a celebrity. I think celebrities who disperse medical advice like Suzanne Somers and Jenny McCarthy are irresponsible. I believe ANYONE who shills out advice they are not qualified to give is irresponsible. Report
Listen to a celebrity? Whatever for? If they were trained in the area they are 'spouting' out about maybe, just maybe I would listen. Most of the time, when I look at what they do to their own bodies in the interest of 'beauty' and looking 'ageless', I know they really don't know a lot about anything related to REAL health matters. A celebrity is just a person who has a different job than you or me. It doesn't make them an expert in the important health matters in my life.
It truly does depend. Some celebraties get on a kick about some diet or exercise and suddenly they become the poster child for that cause. Kind of like the Carnie Wilson-gastic bypass thing. It's a valid treatment but not easy and not for everyone. OTOH, some do become experts because of need, for example, gluten free diets, etc. Elisabeth Hasselbeck's book is very useful, and I was skeptical because I can't stand The View. Report
I think it depends on the person, celebrity or no. If they have experience with a particular medical condition then it's okay to give the benefit of the doubt, however, they aren't in a position to give a diagnosis, and that, ultimately needs to be between you and a medical professional because when you're dying because 'it worked for someone else' Hollywood isn't going to come to your rescue. Report
I would not take any advice from a celebrity because when they need to get "in shape" they do it so fast and they work out all day. What they do is not healty nor is it feasible for any normal person. Report
Quite honestly I run in the opposite direction of anything endorsed by a celebrity. It doesn't matter if its medical, political or even a cell phone. Report
I do not listen to "celebrities" about issues of my health or the health of my family. If they want to share what they went through good for them, but they are actors/actresses, not trained medical professionals (either mainstream or alternative!). Report
Well I wouldn't take advice from a celebrity if they cross the line. If they are just saying what worked for them I don't have an issue with that as long as they aren't telling me to do the same. I've tried things that others have told me works for them, if the circumstances are similar. However, if is major I always ask my doctor first. Something that is minor I may give a try. Andi Report
I think it is great celebritys are touting awareness. However, not every aspect of their journey is revealed so most often we are left with holes. For my health and well being, I am inspired by some celebrities and understand why they take the positions they do, however I consult with my doctor and follow her advice. Report
I don't listen to the celebraties at all if they are talking or writing about cures etc. Report
If the celebities are merely giving their stories as to what has happened to them and how they are dealing with the medical condition, what works, what does not. OK. If they are trying to give medical advice without a medical license. No go. Regular people who attempt to give medical advice or advise treatment, go to jail, we should not allow them to do things that others are punished for doing. Report
I think everyone is entitled to their opinion, even celebrities. And they do have the ability to get more done than the average citizen. I would definitely be interested in finding out about alternative methods of healing sicknesses, especially if conventional methods haven't worked, and let's fact it, with the kind of money celebrities typically have, they have access to alternative health therapies most of us wouldn't be able to afford. But that said, I would still do my own research, talk to my own medical advisers, and make my own decisions about any medical treatment I might need. Report
I have no problem with Celebrities writing books about Personal Experience & How They Treated Their Own Condition. If I'm suffering from a medical condition that won't respond to ordinary methods of treatment & I find something that worked for someone else, I may wish to try it myself. I have no problem with that sort of medical information. And, it can be taken to one's own practitioner for opinions. A lot of information simply wouldn't be available if someone hadn't made a discovery & gone public. On the other hand, Celebrities with no training should not be touting "cures" like Snake Oil Salesmen. And again, if it sounds too good to be true . . . . buyer beware! Report
I think celebrities who give medical advice should be eligible to be sued by anyone who takes their advice and has a bad outcome. Might make them think twice about offering it. Report
I think you have to note the source for any advice taken. I would not take medical advice from my mailman either. Report
There is only one "celebrity" from whom I would take advice, and in the minds of many people he's not really a "celebrity.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He went to Haiti as a medical correspondent, but when he arrived and saw the tragic situation, he became a doctor - which is his first commitment. His first patient? A 15 day old baby girl that needed his skills as a neurosurgeon. Until he was satisfied she was doing the best she could do with the severely limited conditions, he did not pick up the microphone.

We should have all of our celebrities with his talent. Report
I don't pay any attention to what celebrities think. They need to stick to their expertise. Report
I think it is most imprtant that we, as individuals, take personal responsibility for our health, wellness, and treatments. We must do our own research, consider doctors' recommendations, and individual experiences (including those of celebrities and friends), and then decide what course is best for us personally. I do not follow the advice of ANYone without doing my own research. There is a lot of information out there. Research the sources and sponsors of medical studies. Things are usually not as cut and dry as they seem. Report
Why people believe stardom adds to the knowledge and brain power of an individual is inconceivable. While the frequently divorced may have suggestions on a good lawyer, I don't see them self-representing. So why would anyone consider their expertise in a medical field of any great use. Oprah has repeatedly leaped into the weight loss field: but doesn't seem to have mastered maintenance. But that never stops her co-authoring or promoting her latest "answer". Your health is too important to be left in the hands of amateurs: no matter how many times the star has played the role of doctor or nurse. Report
Depends on if the books contain information from credible sources. Report
It's terrific when celebs spend their time to bring awareness to an issue and/or spend their money or assist with fundraising for charities. But there's an old saying, 'Consider the source.' that we all should remember when taking anyone's advice. Just because someone is successful in the public arena doesn't make them an expert on whatever comes into their head and out of their mouth. Report
I pay little attention to the LIVES of celebrities, let alone any medical advice from them. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people are just gullible. In short, yes, if they put it in print, they should carry more responsibility, in my humble opinion. Report
I would take advice from a celebrity if it was based on sound scientific research and medical evidence. That's what I like about SparkPeople's articles and advice! Report