Do You Believe in Magic?

The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine

By Paul A. Offit, M.D.
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780062222961, 322pp.)

Publication Date: June 2013

Other Editions of This Title: Compact Disc, Compact Disc, MP3 CD

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Description
Medical expert and health advocate Dr. Paul A. Offit offers an impassioned and meticulously researched expos 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 t



Praise For Do You Believe in Magic?

“Offit is a rare combination of scientist, doctor, communicator and advocate. . . . What is needed is more people like [him] willing to engage the skeptics in a debate that just will not go away.”
-Financial Times, on Deadly Choices

“Few scientists are willing to touch this third rail of science publicity; Offit grabs it with two hands.”
-Newsweek, on Autism's False Prophets

“An invaluable chronicle that relates some of the many ways in which the vulnerabilities of anxious parents have been exploited.”
-Wall Street Journal, on Autism's False Prophets

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