Life and education
Born in Newark, New Jersey on 26 March 1941 to a Jewish family, Edell studied zoology at Cornell University and earned his M.D. from Cornell University Medical School in 1967. Edell later opened a private ophthalmology practice in San Diego, California and acted as an instructor of Anatomy and a clinical instructor at the University of California, San Diego. Edell soon left private practice. He later said that he "... didn't like medicine originally...I kind of found the thing I love the most, which is really the information and communicating the information".
He spent the next several years experimenting with lifestyles that included buying and selling antiques, acting as a silversmith and goldsmith, organic farming, painting, living in a 1950s-vintage bus and engaging in a self-described hand-to-mouth existence that included scavenging for food thrown out by grocery stores. During this period he describes himself as a hippie.
In the mid-1970s, Edell served as medical director of the County Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center in Sacramento, California. He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1980, and currently lives in rural Mendocino County.
Edell's sister is a Hollywood costume designer.
The Dr. Dean Edell radio program
In 1979, Edell began broadcasting regularly on KGO radio in San Francisco. In the 1990s the program was syndicated to over 300 markets and was the number two most listened to radio talk show in America.  By 2005, the Dr. Dean Edell radio program was syndicated to over 200 markets by Premiere Radio Networks, and aired weekday afternoons on America's Talk on XM Radio. The program was estimated to have 1.5 million unique listeners a week.
The program's format included commentary from Edell, and his conversations with callers on medical-related topics. He reported recent developments in medical science and exposed what he believed to be fraud, particularly in the areas of food supplements, holistic healing, and opposition to vaccinations. He frequently summarized complicated medical material in lay terms, and was fond of tackling controversial concepts from a viewpoint based on the scientific method.
On his program, Edell was critical of drugs such as Ritalin and the increasing number of diagnoses for attention deficit disorder (ADD) among children, based partially on Edell's own experience as someone who, if younger, might have been diagnosed with ADD. He also was outspoken in his criticism of routine circumcision. He was critical of complementary and alternative medicine and those who oppose childhood vaccines.
On December 1, 2010, Edell announced his retirement from radio.
Other radio and television broadcasts
In June of 1992, NBC television network launched Dr.Dean, a half hour daily television show, the first time an M.D. hosted his own daily series. Edell anchored Medical Minutes, a series of ten weekly radio medical reports, until March, 2013. He also hosts a quarterly series of TV specials called "Medical Breakthroughs Presented by HealthCentral", which are syndicated to local stations via the HealthCentral Network. From about 1979 until March 2007, Edell did nightly health reports for KGO-TV (the local ABC station in the San Francisco Bay Area) newscasts. He has now retired from these regular television reports.
Edell was the author of the "Edell Health Letter", published from 1982 until 1994. The editorial staff of Healthcentral.com wrote articles based on his radio show topics on HealthCentral.com from 1999 until 2001 when the site went bankrupt and was sold to new owners.
- The Brush & The Stone, Art Media Resources, 1999
- Eat, Drink, & Be Merry, Harper, 2000
- Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Healthiness, Harper, 2005
In 1999, Edell launched the aforementioned HealthCentral, a website featuring both personally authored content and general health-related information with the mission of "becoming your favorite consumer health information service." Edell lost his ownership position in this company when it filed for bankruptcy in 2001. The site is now owned and operated by Washington, D.C.-based The HealthCentral Network. The site no longer publishes new content by Edell, though his advice column and articles which predate the bankruptcy are featured prominently.
Dr. Dean Edell Reading Glasses
Edell has endorsed and lent his name to a line of reading glasses sold in the United States since the mid-1980s.
Edell has won media awards for his work, including the C. Everett Koop Media Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, a national Emmy, the American Cancer Society Recognition Award, and the American Heart Association Award. In August 2011 Dr. Edell was honored by The Independent Investigations Group with an 'Iggie' award for promoting science and critical thinking in mainstream media. 
- "Interview With Senator John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry; Pete Rose Admits Betting on Baseball". Paula Zahn Now. 2004-01-05. CNN. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0401/05/pzn.00.html. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
- "Anatomy As Art: The Dean Edell Collection". Christie's. 2007-10-05. Retrieved 2009-10-23.
- Talkers, May, 1992
- "The Top Talk Radio Audiences", as of September 2010 when Edell retired., Talkers Magazine
- Hollywood Reporter, 6/15/92
- "Premiere's 'Dr. Dean Edell Medical Minutes' To End March 29th". AllAccess.com. All Access Music Group. Retrieved 31 March 2013.
- "News Update: September 2011". Iigwest.com. 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2012-02-15.
- Antonucci, Mike (January 5, 2004). "The Dr. Dean You Don't Know". San Jose Mercury News
- Dean Edell at the Internet Movie Database
- "About Dr. Dean". Retrieved December 23, 2005
- uncredited (October 10, 2001) "HealthCentral Files Chapter 11"East Bay Business Times
- abc7news.com Edell's TV bio
- Dean Edell Retirement Video From KGO-TV
- Dean Edell interview on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe (Episode 154, Segment 3, July 2, 2008)
- Dean Edell interview on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe (Episode 250, Segment 4, April 28, 2010)