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Consumer Health: A Guide To Intelligent Decisions 9th Edition

3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0078028489
ISBN-10: 0078028485
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Editorial Reviews

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.

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.

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 9 edition (March 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0078028485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0078028489
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.9 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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This author seems to have missed the portion he wrote about "bias". The entire premise of this diatribe seems to be founded on discrediting anything that is "unscientific". The problem is: just because something is "unscientific" does not make it false. It certainly does not make it true but it is a logical fallacy to base the truthfulness of something on "science". There was not too much pure information (aside from definitions and information about organizations) but rather the book seemed to serve as a pamphlet set out to discredit anything this author did not like.
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Format: Paperback
Stephen Barrett falls short of his own standards in that his arguments are heavily laden with bias, as opposed to objectivity. His knowledge is based on outdated science and information, which further demonstrates that he has stagnated in the very field that he purportedly considers himself an expert. There are not enough redeeming qualities from this book, so I suggest you look elsewhere if you are truly interested in your own personal health.
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As a pharmacy professional of twenty years, I am shocked at how this book makes drug companies and insurance companies out to be the hero, while making any vitamin supplements or alternative medicine therapies out to be dangerous and seedy. The irony is one can be turned off to even looking into herbal medicine, while saying the FDA is always protecting the consumer. How often does the FDA let bacteria-ridden food into the marketplace, while saying vitamins are completely useless? Does America eat in a way that ensures we are taking in proper vitamins, and eating properly on their own? Yes, that explains the low vitamin D levels, obesity, and recurrence of disease...This book is a joke. I complained to my professor that is was bought and paid for by the drug companies, and she agreed and pulled it out of the curriculum....NO JOKE. Don't bother reading this crap, late night info
mercials give better quality health advice.
5 Comments 12 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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.
Read more ›
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This book uses sources all the way from the 1950's. This book touts doing critical thinking and applying scientific research, but fails to critique itself. When doing research on anything science or medical related, you always want to have the newest sources possible. Practices that are done or endorsed by the Mayo Clinic are labelled as not scientific, yet lists the Mayo Clinic as a reliable source. It is clear that many things were deliberately omitted, or badly researched with outdated sources to prove the authors' point. When this is done, it is a red flag of biased writing. Reports that were generated over half a century ago, are probably not the best thing to use. It does give some decent advice, like pick a doctor that is licensed, but this is supposed to be a book about making intelligent decisions based on scientific research. This book did not make an intelligent decision regarding many of it's research practices. I expected to find much better from this book. I found more credible research from more relevant data, by reputable sources, in five minutes of bing searches; than I have have seen in this book.
3 Comments 10 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Unsure how Stephen Barrett is able to continue his "critique" of science/medicine. Certainly not worth paying for. I'm struck by his lack of rigor, but I have to say his website Quackwatch is much worse. It may have started with good arguments, but they have become extremely thin and formulaic. Disappointing, but I am comforted by the fact that he no longer practices medicine.
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