Hype: A Doctor’s Guide to Medical Myths, Exaggerated Claims and Bad Advice—How to Tell What’s Real and What’s Not

Nina Shapiro, with Kristin Loberg. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-14930-5
Surgeon Shapiro (Take a Deep Breath) sets out to clear up medical misperceptions in this feisty, fact-filled diatribe (even the acknowledgment page complains that “hype abounds and needs to be bashed”). She tackles such questions as how to put risk into perspective (readers should worry more about eclairs than Ebola), how to understand the causation/correlation distinction, and how to make sense of medical jargon, with the overall aim of turning patients into savvy consumers and perceptive judges of information. Shapiro argues for accuracy on such topics as the efficacy of vaccinations (she comes down hard on the “antivaxx” movement) and shares research on the utility of vitamins (the main outcome of which, she claims, is “very expensive pee and poop”), drinking eight glasses of water per day (“follow the money” to the multibillion-dollar bottled-water industry), and juicing (skip the blender and just eat fruits and veggies). Her skeptical, no-nonsense approach and probing assessment of fact versus fiction make for lively reading that is likely to help readers make better health and medical choices. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/19/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
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