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The Healthy Skeptic: Cutting through the Hype about Your Health

The Healthy Skeptic: Cutting through the Hype about Your Health
Author: Robert Davis
ISBN 13: 9780520249189
ISBN 10: 520249186
Edition: 1
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2008-06-01
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 254
List Price: $36.95

"We are inundated with health information that unnecessarily frightens us and is often just plain wrong. Here at last is a guide through the maze. The Healthy Skeptic is a must-read companion that will help you learn what is truly worth pursuing in the interest of better health and what should be ignored."—Dr. Dean Edell, radio host and author of Eat, Drink, & Be Merry: America's Doctor Tells You Why the Health Experts Are Wrong

"Superb. This important book addresses what people can do to protect themselves from the commercial misdirection of our health care system."—Dr. John Abramson, author of Overdosed America: The Broken Promise of American Medicine

Publishers Weekly

A medical journalist with a Ph.D in health policy, Davis's first book provides a helpful look at the dangers of taking health advice at face value. When confronted with a claim that "studies prove," Davis advises considering eight questions, among them "What kind of study is it?" "Could the findings be a fluke?" "Who paid for the research?" and "Was it peer reviewed?" Looking at pharm ads, government campaigns, consumer advocates and other sources of (mis)information, Davis provides readers with a wary eye for even "official" pronouncements. For instance, Davis recounts how, in 1985, a division of the National Institute of Health hired a PR firm to design a campaign on the dangers of high cholesterol, and assumed that the drop in cholesterol levels and heart disease-related deaths over the next decades were directly related; that correlation led doctors to triple the number of patients taking statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs). What they've ignored, at the peril of many, is that smoking rates decreased and treatments for heart disease improved during that period; further troubling is the fact that eight out the nine experts on a recent study were being paid by statin manufacturers. An insightful and informative look at a number of health issues, this should be enlightening, if a bit frightening, reading for those seeking to take charge of their health.
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