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In this book, Paul A. Offit, a national expert on vaccines, challenges the modern-day false prophets who have so egregiously misled the public and exposes the opportunism of the lawyers, journalists, celebrities, and politicians who support them.
Offit, the chief of the division of infectious diseases and professor of immunologic and infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and professor of pediatrics at the U. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, brings his expertise to this fascinating and deeply troubling account, which describes the 1955 tragedy when Cutter Laboratories produced a tainted polio vaccine containing the live virus that was subsequently used for innoculations, with lethal results. Offit then relates the court case against Cutter, the precedent the verdict set in the pharmaceutical industry, and the impact it has had on vaccine production in the U. S. since. The account is based on primary documents and interviews with scientists, public officials, victims, and others. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
In this timely book, Offit, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, argues that the movement against having children vaccinated is resulting in epidemics of illnesses that had almost been eradicated in the western world. He notes that may people stopped having their children vaccinated because they believed that the shots might cause autism, brain damage or other permanent disabilities. Offit places the blame for this directly on the media for producing documentaries and news reports that gave false information on the effects of vaccines. He cites a report linking autism to one vaccine, now known to have been fraudulent, and other misinformation about testing and the contents of the vaccines. Offit also makes the point that people who refuse to vaccinate their children for other than religious reasons are those who have never lived through an epidemic such as diphtheria or polio. Ironically, the success of vaccines has caused a backlash. Offit's examples of what happens when children aren't protected from preventable disease should make parents think twice about not getting them vaccinated. This is a paperbound reprint of the cloth edition. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Medical expert and health advocate Dr. Paul A. Offit offers an impassioned and meticulously researched expose of the alternative medicine industry. A half century ago, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, Chinese herbs, Christian exorcisms, dietary supplements, chiropractic manipulations, and ayurvedic remedies were considered on the fringe of medicine. Now these practices--known variably as alternative, complementary, holistic, or integrative medicine--have become mainstream, used by half of all Americans today seeking to burn fat, detoxify livers, shrink prostates, alleviate colds, stimulate brains, boost energy, reduce stress, enhance immunity, eliminate pain, prevent cancer, and enliven sex. But as Offit reveals, alternative medicine--an unregulated industry under no legal obligation to prove its claims or admit its risks--can actually be harmful to our health. Even though some popular therapies are remarkably helpful due to the placebo response, many of them are ineffective, expensive, and even deadly. In Do You Believe in Magic? he explains how megavitamins increase the risk of cancer and heart disease--a fact well known to scientists but virtually unknown to the public; dietary supplements have caused uncontrolled bleeding, heart failure, hallucinations, arrhythmias, seizures, coma, and death; acupuncture needles have pierced hearts, lungs, and livers, and transmitted viruses, including hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV; chiropractic manipulations have torn arteries. Dr. Offit debunks the treatments that dont work and explains why. He also takes on the media celebrities who promote alternative medicine, including Mehmet Oz, Suzanne Somers, and Jenny McCarthy. Using dramatic real-life stories, he separates the sense from the nonsense, showing why any therapy--alternative or traditional--should be scrutinized. As he advises us, "Theres no such thing as alternative medicine. Theres only medicine that works and medicine that doesnt. "
Maurice Hilleman's mother died a day after he was born and his twin sister stillborn. As an adult, he said that he felt he had escaped an appointment with death. He made it his life's work to see that others could do the same. Born into the life of a Montana chicken farmer, Hilleman ran off to the University of Chicago to become a microbiologist, and eventually joined Merck, the pharmaceutical company, to pursue his goal of eliminating childhood disease. Chief among his accomplishments are nine vaccines that practically every child gets, rendering formerly dread diseases-including often devastating ones such as mumps and rubella-practically toothless and nearly forgotten; his measles vaccine alone saves several million lives every year. Vaccinated is not a biography; Hilleman's experience forms the basis for a rich and lively narrative of two hundred years of medical history, ranging across the globe and throughout time to take in a cast of hundreds, all caught up, intentionally or otherwise, in the story of vaccines. It is an inspiring and triumphant tale, but one with a cautionary aspect, as vaccines come under assault from people blaming vaccines for autism and worse. Paul Offit clearly and compellingly rebuts those arguments, and, by demonstrating how much the work of Hilleman and others has gained for humanity, shows us how much we have to lose.
Paul A. Offit and Charlotte A. Moser answer questions about the science and safety of modern vaccines. In straightforward prose, they explain how vaccines work, how they are made, and how they are tested. Most important, they separate the real risks of vaccines from feared but unfounded risks. Offit and Moser address parental fears that children may receive too many vaccines too early, that the HPV vaccine may cause chronic fatigue or other dangerous side effects, that additives and preservatives in vaccines cause autism, and that vaccines might do more harm than good. There couldnt be a better moment or more pressing need for this book, which offers honesty--instead of hype--in the quest to protect childrens health.
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