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Natural Causes: Death, Lies and Politics in America's Vitamin and Herbal Supplement Industry

by Dan Hurley

A riveting work of investigative journalism that charts the rise of the dietary supplement craze and reveals the dangerous---and sometimes deadly---side of these highly popular and completely unregulated products. Over 60 percent of Americans buy and take herbal and dietary supplements for all sorts of reasons---to prevent illness (vitamin C), to ease depression (St. John's wort), to aid weight loss (ephedra), to boost the memory (ginkgo biloba), and even to cure cancer (shark cartilage, bloodroot)---despite the fact that few of these "natural" supplements have been proven to be safe or effective. The vitamin and herbal supplement industry generates over $20 billion a year by selling products that promise to cure or fix, but are produced and marketed essentially without oversight. And while the media has been quick to sensationalize the benefits of supplements, few have taken a hard look at the dangers posed by many of the remedies flooding the market today. Award-winning journalist Dan Hurley breaks the silence for the first time in Natural Causes. From the snake-oil salesmen of the early twentieth century, to rise of the health food movement in the sixties and seventies, Hurley charts the remarkable growth of an industry built largely on fraud, and reveals the backroom politics that led to the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, which effectively freed the industry from FDA oversight. In unprecedented detail, he shows how supplement manufacturers have concealed the truth about dozens of untested treatments and the shocking rise in deaths, disfigurements, and life-threatening injuries caused by products deceptively promoted as "safe and natural." Most importantly, he provides a telling look at why, in an age of unprecedented scientific advancement, we continue to buy and believe in remedies for which little evidence exists--and why the supplements we take to promote our health may be doing far more harm than good. As Hurley shows, the dietary supplement craze may be one of the greatest swindles ever perpetrated on the American public---one that feeds billions of dollars each year into the pockets of lobbyists, politicians, and any charlatan who wants to slap a label on a bottle and tout it as the next big "natural cure." Blending hard facts with spellbinding personal stories, Natural Causes is a must-read for anyone who has ever popped a multivitamin or an herb, and provides a hard-hitting, frightening look at a cultural trend that is out of control.

Smarter

by Dan Hurley

At some point in our lives we will almost all have been told - perhaps at home or at school, by a well-meaning boss, or even by ourselves - that we're just not smart enough to be the best, achieve a certain grade, or do our dream job. And for over a hundred years science has agreed: intelligence is fixed. IQ and other standard tests have shown that whether or not you're born smart, there's nothing you can do about it. But recently we discovered the science was wrong. In Smarter Dan Hurley reveals how a new field of intelligence research shows that cleverness can be simply and significantly improved. You'll learn how IQ works (and doesn't), why being physically fit, taking up an instrument or listening to music when young, playing video games and doing daily working memory tests all contribute to making us smarter. At the same time Dan tries out everything from blueberries to meditation in order to boost his own ageing mental faculties - with varying success. Exhilarating and inspiring - with proven results - Smarter provides real scientific solutions to anyone wanting to better their own thinking, give their children the best start in life or to stave off the rapid declines of advancing years. Reading this book really will make you smarter.

Smarter

by Dan Hurley

Can you make yourself, your kids, and your parents smarter?Expanding upon one of the most-read New York Times Magazine features of 2012, Smarter penetrates the hot new field of intelligence research to reveal what researchers call a revolution in human intellectual abilities. Shattering decades of dogma, scientists began publishing studies in 2008 showing that "fluid intelligence"--the ability to learn, solve novel problems, and get to the heart of things--can be increased through training.But is it all just hype? With vivid stories of lives transformed, science journalist Dan Hurley delivers practical findings for people of every age and ability. Along the way, he narrates with acidtongued wit his experiences as a human guinea pig, road-testing commercial brain-training programs, learning to play the Renaissance lute, getting physically fit, even undergoing transcranial directcurrent stimulation.Smarter speaks to the audience that made bestsellers out of Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain and Moonwalking with Einstein.

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