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A half a century ago, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, chinese herbs, christian exorcisms, dietary supplements, chiropractic manipulations and traditional indian remedies were once considered on the fringe of medicine. Now, these practices - known as alternative, complementary, holistic and integrative medicine - have become mainstream, used by those 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 paul 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. In killing us softly he exposes how: homeopathic asthma preparations and bogus cancer cures have replaced life-saving medicines indian remedies have contained dangerous quantities of heavy metals chinese herbs have caused kidney failure and bone marrow suppression acupuncture needles have pierced hearts, lungs, and livers and transmitted viruses, including hepatitis b, hepatitis c and hiv chiropractic manipulations have torn arteries dietary supplements have caused uncontrolled bleeding, heart failure, hallucinations, arrhythmias, seizures, coma, and death mega vitamins increase the risk of cancer and heart disease - a fact well known to scientists but virtually unknown to the public. Using dramatic real-life stories, dr offit separates the sense from the nonsense, showing why any therapy - alternative or traditional - should be scrutinized. As he writes, "there's no such thing as alternative medicine. There's only medicine that works and medicine that doesn't. "
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Paul A. Offit, M.D., is Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, as well as the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. An expert in the field of vaccines, he is a recipient of many awards, including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence in Pediatrics from the University of Maryland Medical School; the Young Investigator Award in Vaccine Development from the Infectious Disease Society of America; and a Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health. Visit his website at www.paul-offit.com.Review:
"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)
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