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1 Beaverton Health and Medicine- General

Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine

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Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine Cover

ISBN13: 9780062222961
ISBN10: 0062222961
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Medical expert and health advocate Dr. Paul A. Offit offers an impassioned and meticulously researched exposé of the alternative medicine industry.

A half century ago, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, Chinese herbs, Christian exorcisms, dietary supplements, chiropractic manipulations, and ayurvedic remedies were considered on the fringe of medicine. Now these practices—known variably as alternative, complementary, holistic, or integrative medicine—have become mainstream, used by half of all Americans today seeking to burn fat, detoxify livers, shrink prostates, alleviate colds, stimulate brains, boost energy, reduce stress, enhance immunity, eliminate pain, prevent cancer, and enliven sex.

But as Offit reveals, alternative medicine—an unregulated industry under no legal obligation to prove its claims or admit its risks—can actually be harmful to our health. Even though some popular therapies are remarkably helpful due to the placebo response, many of them are ineffective, expensive, and even deadly. In Do You Believe in Magic? he explains how

  • megavitamins increase the risk of cancer and heart disease—a fact well known to scientists but virtually unknown to the public;
  • dietary supplements have caused uncontrolled bleeding, heart failure, hallucinations, arrhythmias, seizures, coma, and death;
  • acupuncture needles have pierced hearts, lungs, and livers, and transmitted viruses, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV;
  • chiropractic manipulations have torn arteries.

Dr. Offit debunks the treatments that don't work and explains why. He also takes on the media celebrities who promote alternative medicine, including Mehmet Oz, Suzanne Somers, and Jenny McCarthy. Using dramatic real-life stories, he separates the sense from the nonsense, showing why any therapy—alternative or traditional—should be scrutinized. As he advises us, "There's no such thing as alternative medicine. There's only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't."

Review:

"According to infectious disease specialist Offit (Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure), half of Americans believe in the 'magic' of alternative medicine, fueling a billion-a-year business that offers treatments that are at best placebos, and at worst deadly. He blasts untested, unregulated, overhyped remedies — like anti-autism creams and bogus cancer cures using 'antineoplastons' — and dares to berate celebs like 'America's Doctor,' Mehmet Oz, who 'believes that modern medicine isn't to be trusted'; alternative treatment superstars Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra, proponents of the natural world and wisdom of the ancients; and former Three's Company star Suzanne Somers, who crusades for unproven menopause treatments, including her daunting regimen of 'bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.' 'There's a name for alternative medicines that work,' one McGill professor notes: 'It's called medicine.' Offit insists that 'making decisions about our health is an awesome responsibility. If we're going to do it, we need to take it seriously.' With a fascinating history of hucksters, and a critical chronology of how supplements escaped regulation, Offit cautions consumers not to 'give alternative medicine a free pass because we're fed up with conventional medicine.' His is a bravely unsentimental and dutifully researched guide for consumers to distinguish between quacks and a cure. Agent: Gail Ross, the Ross Yoon Agency. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

In Do You Believe in Magic?, medical expert Paul A. Offit, M.D., offers a scathing exposé of the alternative medicine industry, revealing how even though some popular therapies are remarkably helpful due to the placebo response, many of them are ineffective, expensive, and even deadly.

Dr. Offit reveals how alternative medicine—an unregulated industry under no legal obligation to prove its claims or admit its risks—can actually be harmful to our health.

Using dramatic real-life stories, Offit separates the sense from the nonsense, showing why any therapy—alternative or traditional—should be scrutinized. He also shows how some nontraditional methods can do a great deal of good, in some cases exceeding therapies offered by conventional practitioners.

An outspoken advocate for science-based health advocacy who is not afraid to take on media celebrities who promote alternative practices, Dr. Offit advises, “Theres no such thing as alternative medicine. Theres only medicine that works and medicine that doesnt.”

About the Author

Paul A. Offit, MD, is the chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania medical school. He co-developed a vaccine for rotavirus.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Ashley Bowen-Murphy, November 15, 2013 (view all comments by Ashley Bowen-Murphy)
"Do You Believe in Magic" is a rapid spin through medical history and quackery. Offit begins with ancient history, comes up to the 19th century's snake oil salesmen, and ends with the likes of Dr. Oz. It's clear that Offit is tired of people who believe that herbs will cure cancer or that modern medicine is nothing but curely masking "pure" or "natural" knowledge of the body. A great deal of the book focuses on the kinds of horror stories that would send anyone running to their local MD-- chiropractors that break bones, acupuncture needles in lungs, children who die after their parents reject chemotherapy. It is also clear that he does not think it is appropriate to charge people thousands of dollars for treatments that have not been scientifically evaluated. I do wish the book had spent a little more time talking about why insurance now covers things like acupuncture, massage, or chiropracty. At some point, insurance companies did some kind of calculation about value v. cost v. effectiveness. Offit leaves this particular form of medical endorsement fully undiscussed.

Offit does acknowledge that at least some traditional, alternative, or 'eastern' medicine has value-- as a placebo. His chapter on the placebo effect is interesting but limited.

This is the kind of book that's worth reading if you're surrounded by people who oppose vaccination, visit chiropractors, and reject "modern medicine." It will make you feel good that you believe in science and facts. However, if you want a more in-depth look at why the placebo effect works or what it is about alternative medicine that is so powerfully appealing, you'll need to look elsewhere. Offit is very focused on what alternative medicine gets wrong and less focused on what it is about modern/western medicine that is so deeply off-putting.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780062222961
Subtitle:
The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine
Author:
Offit, Paul A
Author:
Offit, Paul A.
Author:
Offit, Paul A., M.D.
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
General Medical
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Alternative
Subject:
Alternative medicine
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20130618
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.01 in 22.8 oz

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Diet and Nutrition » Natural Healing
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Alternative
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » History of Medicine
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Politics of Health Care
Metaphysics » Healing

Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Harper - English 9780062222961 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "According to infectious disease specialist Offit (Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure), half of Americans believe in the 'magic' of alternative medicine, fueling a billion-a-year business that offers treatments that are at best placebos, and at worst deadly. He blasts untested, unregulated, overhyped remedies — like anti-autism creams and bogus cancer cures using 'antineoplastons' — and dares to berate celebs like 'America's Doctor,' Mehmet Oz, who 'believes that modern medicine isn't to be trusted'; alternative treatment superstars Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra, proponents of the natural world and wisdom of the ancients; and former Three's Company star Suzanne Somers, who crusades for unproven menopause treatments, including her daunting regimen of 'bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.' 'There's a name for alternative medicines that work,' one McGill professor notes: 'It's called medicine.' Offit insists that 'making decisions about our health is an awesome responsibility. If we're going to do it, we need to take it seriously.' With a fascinating history of hucksters, and a critical chronology of how supplements escaped regulation, Offit cautions consumers not to 'give alternative medicine a free pass because we're fed up with conventional medicine.' His is a bravely unsentimental and dutifully researched guide for consumers to distinguish between quacks and a cure. Agent: Gail Ross, the Ross Yoon Agency. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , In Do You Believe in Magic?, medical expert Paul A. Offit, M.D., offers a scathing exposé of the alternative medicine industry, revealing how even though some popular therapies are remarkably helpful due to the placebo response, many of them are ineffective, expensive, and even deadly.

Dr. Offit reveals how alternative medicine—an unregulated industry under no legal obligation to prove its claims or admit its risks—can actually be harmful to our health.

Using dramatic real-life stories, Offit separates the sense from the nonsense, showing why any therapy—alternative or traditional—should be scrutinized. He also shows how some nontraditional methods can do a great deal of good, in some cases exceeding therapies offered by conventional practitioners.

An outspoken advocate for science-based health advocacy who is not afraid to take on media celebrities who promote alternative practices, Dr. Offit advises, “Theres no such thing as alternative medicine. Theres only medicine that works and medicine that doesnt.”
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