Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 3.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    This is the third book I have read by Dr. Offit. A few years ago

    This is the third book I have read by Dr. Offit. A few years ago I read "Autism's False Prophets," which I also highly recommend. I read that book because I have an autistic son and I am very skeptical of the "cures" for autism promoted by Jenny McCarthy and others. Dr. Offit writes in a matter that is quite easy to read but still manages to explain the value of science based medicine. "Autism's False Prophets" helped me confirm what I had already suspected. We have steered clear of the scientifically unproven treatments for our son and have relied on proven therapies (ABA, specifically) and our son is much better off. In "Do You Believe In Magic," Dr. Offit addresses the $32 Billion-dollar-per-year "supplemental" and "alternative" medicine industry. What is quite interesting is that Dr. Offit writes about some of his own frustrations with modern medicine and has empathy for those who seek better health through vitamins, supplements and so forth. But he also brings to light the how dangerously unregulated  this industry is. In fact, only .3%, or less than one out of every 300 supplements are tested for safety end effectiveness. I would also add that the comments made by the one who refers to Dr. Offit as a "shill for allopathic (mainstream) mediicine" were obviously written by someone who has not read this book. If you are a consumer and are concerned about the safety and quality of vitamins or supplements, it is worth your while to read this book. 

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Informative, engaging, and entertaining.

    Dr. Offit does a spectacular job of making the case for evidence-based research and tight controls on acceptable medical and pharmaceutical practices. The thread that runs through the entire book is simple, but has profound implications: if a person or group makes a claim that a treatment alleviates or cures a symptom, a disease, or a disorder, that person or group should be required to subject that claim (or have neutral third parties subject that claim) to the maximum level of scrutiny and testing possible if it is to be used in practice, adopted as sound medical advice, or sold to the public.

    Without excusing the mistakes of the science-based medical research community, Offit provides dozens and dozens of examples of how taking advice or treatment from those who are unwilling to allow such scrutiny can be an unfortunate, even lethal, mistake. I was stunned to learn that even some of my own cherished "natural" remedies (I use quotes advisedly -- many remedies called "natural" are not to be found in nature any more readily than extracts used in prescription pharmaceuticals) are pure fancy. Large doses of Vitamin C are effective in staving off colds? Nope. More antioxidants are better than fewer? Not necessarily. By reducing free radical production, antioxidants can actually increase cancer rates -- while free radicals do cause damage to human cells, they also eliminate detrimental bacteria and new cancer cells.

    I haven't gobbled up a book this quickly in at least a few years. Offit doesn't waste a single page on unnecessary anecdotes, but he still manages to keep the writing style thoroughly enjoyable.

    This is a fantastic read packed with important data and sensible ideas.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Amazing and Informative

    Creatively written while throwing facts left and right. The author is a phenominal writer.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

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