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Do You Believe in Magic?: Vitamins, Supplements, and All Things Natural: A Look Behind the Curtain

Do You Believe in Magic?: Vitamins, Supplements, and All Things Natural: A Look Behind the Curtain

by Paul A. Offit M.D.


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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, “There’s no such thing as alternative medicine. There’s only medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062222985
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/13/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 729,920
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Paul A. Offit, MD, is a professor of pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as the acclaimed author of Autism's False Prophets, Vaccinated, Pandora's Lab, and Deadly Choices.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Taking a look at alternative medicine 1

Introduction: Saving Joey Hofbauer 7

Part I Distrust of modern medicine

1 Rediscovering the Past: Mehmet Oz and His Superstars 25

Part II The Lure of All Things Natural

2 The vitamin Craze: Linus Pauling's Ironic legacy 47

Part III Little Supplements Makers Versus Big Pharma

3 The Supplement Industry Gets a Free Pass: Neutering the FDA 65

4 Fifty-Four Thousand Supplements: Which Ones Work? 94

Part IV When the Stars Shine on Alternative Medicine

5 Menopause and Aging: Suzanne Somers Weighs In 111

6 Autism's Pied Piper: Jenny McCarthy's Crusade 128

7 Chroinc Lyme Disease: The Blumenthal Affair 140

Part V The Hope Business

8 Curing Cancer: Steve Jobs, Shark Cartilage, Coffee Enemas, and More 163

9 Sick Children, Desperate Parents: Stanislaw Burzynski's Urine Cure 173

Part VI Charismatic Healers Are Hard to Resist

10 Magic Potions in the Twenty-First Century: Rashid Buttar and the Lure of Personality 107

Part VII Why Some Alternative Therapies Really Do Work

11 The Remarkably Powerful, Highly Underrated Placebo Response 223

12 When Alternative Medicine Becomes Quackers 241

Epilogue: Albert Schweitzer and the Witch Doctor: A Parable 253

Acknowledgments 257

Notes 259

Selected Bibliography 297

Index 307

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