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Consumer Health: A Guide To Intelligent Decisions [Paperback]

Stephen Barrett , William London , Manfred Kroger , Harriet Hall , Robert Baratz

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Book Description

March 5 2012 0078028485 978-0078028489 9
The most comprehensive consumer health text available, Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions offers a panoramic view of the health marketplace. You’ll learn how to sharpen your critical consumer skills so you can distinguish valid health claims from those that are fraudulent or misleading. By offering science-based facts and guidelines, Consumer Health provides the tools you need to make smart decisions about health-care products and services for yourself and your family.

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About the Author

Stephen Barrett, M.D., has been investigating and writing about consumer health issues for more than 40 years. His Quackwatch website serves as a clearinghouse for information on health frauds and quackery. He serves as Vice President of the Institute for Science and Medicine, is a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, edits Consumer Health Digest, and is a peer-review panelist for several top medical journals.

William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H., is a health educator and professor in the Department of Public Health at California State University, Los Angeles. He is also the associate editor of Consumer Health Digest, co-host of the Credential Watch website, and a member of the editorial board of the journal FACT (Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies: An Evidence-Based Approach).

Manfred Kroger, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Food Science and Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and Society at The Pennsylvania State University, where he has won several teaching awards. He is a science communicator for the Institute of Food Technologists and is scientific editor of its online journal, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. He is also associate editor of the Journal of Food Science and a scientific advisor to the American Council on Science and Health.

Harriet Hall, M.D., a retired family physician and colonel, served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. Her administrative positions included Chief of Clinic Services and Director of Base Medical Services. She now devotes her time to investigating questionable health claims and writing and lecturing about pseudoscience, quackery, "alternative medicine," and critical thinking. She is a contributing editor to both Skeptical Inquirer and Skeptic magazines and a founding member and editor of the Science-Based Medicine blog.

Robert S. Baratz, M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D., an expert on quality of care, is President and Medical Director of South Shore Health Care in Braintree, Massachusetts, where he practices internal, oral, and occupational medicine. He serves on the medical faculties of Boston University and Tufts University and is used as a consultant by many regulatory and law enforcement agencies.

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Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A science-based aid to clear thinking Dec 23 2013
By Sam Hill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For the consumer (such as I) lacking knowledge in medical matters and perplexed, as I have been, by the question of how to assess the current avalanche of health claims and supplements on the internet, in health food shops, in pharmacies and in print, this book is a must-read.

Similar to Dr. Paul Offit's off-putting experience with today's health-care system that he describes in the prologue to his Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine, my own experience with standard medecine in the past 20-odd years has been likewise a very mixed bag. I have twice faced cancer and survived by submitting to the standard treatments: once for colorectal cancer (stage 3) which meant surgery, chemo, and radiation - the infamous "cut, burn, poison" trilogy - and once for bladder cancer: surgery and chemo. Survive I did; but those remedies came with almost intolerable side effects that made me indifferent, for a time, as to whether I lived or died.

Should some other illness afflict me once more in the future, is there not, I wondered, a way to restored health that's not as brutal? Can there be therapies through unconventional medicine that are gentler, more bearable, but achieve the same objective?

Apparently not. Reading this book taught me this reality: _all_ therapies, not only the conventional "allopathic" ones that we love to hate, must necessarily be held to the same high standard of proof, the test of science, failing which -- to borrow Offit's words -- we'll be hoodwinked at a point in life when we are sick and most vulnerable, by healers who ask us to believe in them rather than in the science that fails to support their claims.

The book "Consumer Health" lists those failures. Is that an instance of "bias", as some commenters have charged? Indeed yes, it _is_ bias, and it is a good and responsible thing, this bias, because it is bias against health care providers telling patients things that are not true, presenting opinions as if they were facts. That bias is a precious service to the public.

I find the book to be a science-based aid that treats of these matters in some detail and helps to classify for the consumer's own protection the huge assortment of healing promotions modalities and nostrums that fall into the scientifically failed category that may alternatively be designated as wishful or magic thinking.

Bottom line: if you value your health, read this book.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied customer... Feb. 21 2011
By D-Nice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ordered the book with express shipping and it came within days. The book is good for ppl needing or researching consumer type "caveat emptor" techniques. It'll open your eyes to some interesting things...
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Dec 8 2012
By 12bucket12 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Description of book was accurate. I had to purchase this book for a class. It served its purpose well. Glad I looked online instead of buying through the bookstore!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great March 2 2014
By Shayla Ford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just as describe and help me great with classes! It has all the pages and looks brand new! I couldn't have asked for better quality
4.0 out of 5 stars as expected Jan. 25 2014
By Natalie Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Would order again, the book was just as I expected. Minimal use be previous owner and no writing in the book.

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