Category: Book & movie reviews

Cholesterol le grand bluff

The Movie “Cholesterol: The Great Bluff” Is an Exercise in Denialism

The movie "Cholesterol: The Great Bluff" claims that we have been lied to: cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease and statins are harmful. It is biased and misleading. The people interviewed in the movie are denialists who don't accept the clear evidence for the role of blood cholesterol levels and the benefits of statins.

/ September 12, 2017
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The Hormone Myth

"Mary is really bitchy today; she must be on the rag." Comments like this are all too common, and are misguided. In her new book, Robyn Stein DeLuca dispels the myths about how hormones affect women's moods and mental health, myths that have contributed to unequal treatment of women. Junk science supported the myths; good science debunks them.

/ August 15, 2017
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Doc Doc Zeus: A Glimpse Behind the Scenes of Medical Boards

A novel about a doctor who raped a minor and is being investigated by his state medical board provides behind-the-scene insights into the workings of medical boards. It helps explain why these boards are so often ineffective, why medical malfeasance so often leads to a token disciplinary action rather than to loss of license.

/ August 8, 2017
Bull Oostvaardersplassen

The Antithesis of Science-Based Medicine:  The Medical Medium’s Fantasy-Based Health Advice

Anthony William, the Medical Medium, hears voices that give him advanced scientific information from the spirit world. He offers reams of health advice based on nothing but fantasy. He even tells readers to call on 12 angels out loud by their name. I call bull.

/ August 1, 2017
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What the Health: A Movie with an Agenda

The documentary "What the Health" espouses the fairy tale that all major diseases (heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many others) can be prevented and cured by eliminating meat and dairy from the diet. It is a blatant polemic for veganism, biased and misleading, and is not a reliable source of scientific information.

/ July 11, 2017
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Confessions of a Quack: Holistic Harry Tells the Inside Story of Alternative Medicine

Confessions of a Quack is fiction, but it provides real insights into the thinking processes and motivations of quacks, alternative medicine providers, and their patients.

/ May 23, 2017
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Gary Taubes and the Case Against Sugar

Gary Taubes writes that sugar is the cause of obesity and most chronic diseases. He makes a good case for the prosecution, but he doesn't convict.

/ April 25, 2017
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Why Do Things That Are Unlikely to Harm Us Get the Most Attention?

We are very bad at assessing risk, often giving the most attention to the things that are least likely to harm us. Geoffrey Kabat's new book teaches us how to think more clearly about scientific studies of environmental health risks.

/ February 28, 2017
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Daniel and Tana Amen’s Book The Brain Warrior’s Way: Standard Health Advice Mixed with Misinformation and Fanciful Ideas

Daniel Amen, the media-savvy psychiatrist and promoter of SPECT scans, has teamed-up with his wife Tana to write a self-help book that hopelessly muddles good medical advice with misinformation and speculation.

/ February 21, 2017
Bellevue Hospital

Bellevue

Harriet is back! This time, she reviews Bellvue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital by Pulitzer-prize-winning history professor David Oshinsky. Bellevue was, and is, a microcosm of American history and politics, as well as the history of modern medicine itself. Highly recommended!

/ January 17, 2017