Top critical review
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Disappointing and misleading on several levels
on April 11, 2007
I read this book on the basis of its reviews, but I don't understand why it's been so well received. It is eccentric, episodic, and disjointed, as if the author took a number of shorter articles and threw them together willy-nilly. As such, it is neither coherent nor particularly informative. It is certainly not a book for anyone trying to obtain objective, helpful information about management of these two diseases.
I use the term "two diseases" advisedly. I am a Type 2 diabetic (non-insulin dependent) from a family with a multi-generational history of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. My father (Type 2) and his half-brother (Type 1) both died of diabetic complications. Although Hirsch provides a sop to Type 2 diabetics (90% of all diabetics), it is clear that his primary focus is Type 1. Why not just say so? I am not belittling that focus. But Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are different in terms of cause, mechanism of failure at the cellular level, and treatment options.
Hirsch (in common with many "crusaders" for specific diseases) is also outrageously careless with regard to his usage of the word "cure". The fact is that the more researchers discover about the intricacies of the human body, the farther away they find themselves from a "cure" for many, many diseases, from the merely inconvenient to the life-threatening. Modern research and medicine struggle with a myriad of complex, chronic disease processes - it isn't all about money and politics. Therefore, although "cures" are devoutly to be wished for, "mere" successful management of a disease by a patient and his or her doctor should be applauded, not condemned.
In this regard, I take serious issue with his opinions concerning "tight control" methodologies. His comments on Bernstein's diet are specious (and I don't think he was playing devil's advocate). I don't follow the diet myself, but I do successfully practice a 40-20-40-20-40-20 regime. Further, the reversal of symptoms in early Type 2 diabetics is not a "cure" - it is merely a reversal of symptoms. The person remains a diabetic. This is something of which my "ignorant, income motivated" doctor reminds me every time I see him (and believe me, he has amassed far more than "2 hours" of diabetes education over his years of practice!).
I wish I had something more positive to say about this book - the author can be an excellent writer when he chooses to be. But this type of over-the-top selective information does more harm than good.