BOOKS

OVERKILL: WHEN MODERN MEDICINE GOES TOO FAR

April 2020

An acclaimed medical expert and patient advocate offers an eye-opening look at many common and widely used medical interventions that have been shown to be far more harmful than helpful. Yet, surprisingly, despite clear evidence to the contrary, most doctors continue to recommend them.

BAD ADVICE: OR WHY CELEBRITIES, POLITICIANS, AND ACTIVISTS AREN'T YOUR BEST SOURCE OF HEALTH INFORMATION

December 2019

The beauty of mass communication in our free society is also our curse. Information flows so quickly, from so many different sources, that one can’t help but be overwhelmed―and too frequently misled. No one has fought harder over the years to educate the public, and to puncture the dangerously false dogmas of pseudoscience, than Paul Offit. Bad Advice is a brilliant extension of his dictate, so aptly stated by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, that one is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts. Celebrities and politicians bear the brunt of Offit’s elegantly written, often hilarious, pinpoint assaults. But what makes this book truly special is its vision of how science can, and must, be defended against its despoilers. Bad Advice is, in every sense, an essential read. -- David Oshinsky, director of the Division of Medical Humanities at NYU School of Medicine

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PANDORA'S LAB: SEVEN STORIES OF SCIENCE GONE WRONG

April 2017

What happens when ideas presented as science lead us in the wrong direction? History is filled with brilliant ideas that gave rise to disaster, and this book explores the most fascinating—and significant—missteps: from opium's heyday as the pain reliever of choice to recognition of opioids as a major cause of death in the U.S.; from the rise of trans fats as the golden ingredient for tastier, cheaper food to the heart disease epidemic that followed; and from the cries to ban DDT for the sake of the environment to an epidemic-level rise in world malaria.
These are today's sins of science—as deplorable as mistaken past ideas about advocating racial purity or using lobotomies as a cure for mental illness. These unwitting errors add up to seven lessons both cautionary and profound, narrated by renowned author and speaker Paul A. Offit. Offit uses these lessons to investigate how we can separate good science from bad, using some of today's most controversial creations—e-cigarettes, GMOs, drug treatments for ADHD—as case studies. For every "Aha!" moment that should have been an "Oh no," this book is an engrossing account of how science has been misused disastrously—and how we can learn to use its power for good.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? VITAMINS, SUPPLEMENTS, AND ALL THINGS NATURAL: A LOOK BEHIND THE CURTAIN

May 2014

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 to treat a variety of conditions, from excess weight to cancer. But alternative medicine is an unregulated industry under no legal obligation to prove its claims or admit its risks, and many popular alternative therapies are ineffective, expensive, or even deadly. In Do You Believe in Magic? Dr. Offit debunks the treatments that don't work and tells us why, and takes on the media celebrities who promote alternative medicine. Using dramatic real-life stories, he separates the sense from the nonsense, explaining why any therapy—alternative or traditional—should be scrutinized. As Dr. Offit explains, some popular therapies are remarkably helpful due to the placebo response, but "there's no such thing as alternative medicine. There's only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't."

BAD FAITH: WHEN RELIGIOUS BELIEF UNDERMINES MODERN MEDICINE

March 2015

In Bad Faith, acclaimed physician and author Dr. Paul Offit gives readers a never-before-seen look into the minds of those who choose to medically martyr themselves, or their children, in the name of religion. Offit chronicles the stories of these faithful and their children, whose devastating experiences highlight the tangled relationship between religion and medicine in America.

DEADLY CHOICES: HOW THE ANTI-VACCINE MOVEMENT THREATENS US ALL

January 2012

In 2014, California suffered the largest and deadliest outbreak of pertussis, also known as "whooping cough," in more than fifty years. This tragedy was avoidable. An effective vaccine has been available since the 1940s. In recent years other diseases, like measles and mumps, have also made a comeback. The reason for these epidemics can be traced to a group whose vocal proponents insist, despite evidence to the contrary, that vaccines are poison. As a consequence, parents and caretakers are rejecting vaccines for themselves and their families. In Deadly Choices, infectious-disease expert Paul Offit takes a look behind the curtain of the anti-vaccine movement. What he finds is a reminder of the power of scientific knowledge, and the harm we risk if we ignore it.

AUTISM FALSE PROPHETS: BAD SCIENCE, RISKY MEDICINE, AND THE SEARCH FOR A CURE

March 2010

In this book, Paul A. Offit, a national expert on vaccines, challenges the modern-day false prophets who have so egregiously misled the public and exposes the opportunism of the lawyers, journalists, celebrities, and politicians who support them. Offit recounts the history of autism research and the exploitation of this tragic condition by advocates and zealots. He considers the manipulation of science in the popular media and the courtroom, and he explores why society is susceptible to the bad science and risky therapies put forward by many antivaccination activists.

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VACCINATED: ONE MAN'S QUEST TO DEFEAT THE WORLD'S DEADLIEST DISEASES

August 2008

His goal—to prevent every disease that commonly attacked children—was unattainable. But Maurice Hilleman came close. Maurice Hilleman is the father of modern vaccines. Chief among his accomplishments are nine vaccines that practically every child gets, rendering formerly deadly diseases—including mumps, rubella, and measles—nearly forgotten.  Author Paul A. Offit’s rich and lively narrative details Hilleman’s research and experiences as the basis for a larger exploration of the development of vaccines, covering two hundred years of medical history and traveling across the globe in the process. The history of vaccines necessarily brings with it a cautionary message, as they have come under assault from those insisting they do more harm than good. Paul Offit clearly and compellingly rebuts these arguments, and, by demonstrating how much the work of Hilleman and others has gained for humanity, shows us how much we have to lose.

THE CUTTER INCIDENT: HOW AMERICA'S FIRST POLIO VACCINE LED TO THE GROWING VACCINE CRISIS

September 2007

Vaccines have saved more lives than any other single medical advance. Yet today only four companies make vaccines, and there is a growing crisis in vaccine availability. Why has this happened? This remarkable book recounts for the first time a devastating episode in 1955 at Cutter Laboratories in Berkeley, California, that has led many pharmaceutical companies to abandon vaccine manufacture.

VACCINES AND YOUR CHILD: SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTION

March 2011

Paul A. Offit and Charlotte A. Moser answer questions about the science and safety of modern vaccines. In straightforward prose, they explain how vaccines work, how they are made, and how they are tested. Most important, they separate the real risks of vaccines from feared but unfounded risks. Offit and Moser address parental fears that children may receive too many vaccines too early, that the HPV vaccine may cause chronic fatigue or other dangerous side effects, that additives and preservatives in vaccines cause autism, and that vaccines might do more harm than good. There couldn't be a better moment or more pressing need for this book, which offers honesty instead of hype in the quest to protect children's health.

BREAKING THE ANTIBIOTIC HABIT: A PARENT'S GUIDE TO COUGHS, COLDS, EAR INFECTIONS, AND SORE THROATS

March 1999

Paul Offit MD, Bonnie Fass-Offit MD and Louis Bell MD:

If your child has a cough, cold, ear infection, or sore throat, will antibiotics help? The answer may surprise you. Overuse of antibiotics has led to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, or ""superbugs."" Antibiotics are increasingly ineffective because they are often prescribed inappropriately to treat viral infections, such as colds, bronchitis, and sore throats. Natural supplements may offer more relief. Clearly organized and packed with vital information, Breaking the Antibiotic Habit covers all the key issues, including:
* Distinguishing between strep throat and sore throat, sinus infection and the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis, and ear infections and ear fluids
* Helping children with viral infections feel better--without antibiotics
* Getting the most from over-the-counter remedies-which are best for specific symptoms, and which to avoid altogether

 
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