Review by CyndiA1 -- Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks

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CyndiA1
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Review by CyndiA1 -- Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks

Post by CyndiA1 » 07 May 2019, 15:41

[Following is a volunteer review of "Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks" by Morton E Tavel, MD.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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I enjoyed the wide range of health tips and warnings provided by Morton E. Tavel MD in Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks: A Physician's Advice: Health information to liberate us from "Snake Oil," but I disliked most that the author appeared to dump his extra research in book format with a strong mainstream medical community bias. While I may follow up on some of the observations/suggestions in the book, I'd tend to be just as cautious about taking advice from a physician philosophizing outside his areas of expertise (in many cases) as I would be about the "charlatans" called on the carpet for profiting off gullible people looking to live healthier or for cures for various ailments.

Tavel's book is, indeed, chock full of information. There are sixty-two chapters listed for this relatively short text, and all those chapter titles are printed in all capital letters at the beginning of the book. Some of the chapters are only a few sentences long which suggests that little pieces of research not used in previous books by the author were repurposed for this volume. This leads to a range of "expert" advice ranging from the benefits of green tea to closing the toilet before flushing and the health safety of flying. An example of the sweeping nature of expertise flouted in the book may be noted in the following sentence which includes commentary not only about the medical field but also the forestry industry:

"From a personal standpoint, I would recommend paper towels everywhere. This method might even provide an economic boost to our lumber industry."

The huge collection of chapter tips are loosely grouped into three broad sections with overlap as noted by Tavel. The three main sections are tips, myths, and tricks. Almost any medical information or opinion could be sorted into one of the categories with the second and third sections clearly designed to debunk what others believe or purport to be true about health. Specific health areas targeted by Tavel include chiropractic, yoga, homeopathy, hypnosis, and nutritional-based therapies. He also is clearly not a fan of Dr. Oz (television health guru), although I'm not either.

Certainly I would concede that there are a lot of medical scams and that consumers should conduct careful research before making any lifestyle choices or using any medical devices or ingesting supplements. I'm not sold on the research used to make the huge range of points in this book, however, because the author appears to base some of his recommendations or complaints on single, small research studies. He calls everyone else out on research, but he covers so much territory in this book that his own backup data is often rather skimpy.

The writing also suggests a disregard for true excellence. There are numerous typos in the book, discrepancies in formatting, and there are a ton of exclamation points especially after attempts at humor.

Many of the same people who dabble with alternative medicine will likely find this book helpful and interesting. Those who take health more seriously and like really strong supporting data may well be disappointed. I fall into the latter category, so I feel that two out of four stars is a fair assessment.

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Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks
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nooregano
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Post by nooregano » 21 May 2019, 01:29

I read this book a while ago, and I agree that it is chock-full of information. However, I did not look further into his research, and I did not know that a lot of it was based on skimpy research! Ouch! Thanks for you eye-opening review, CyndiA1. This was a well-written and even-handed assessment, and I enjoyed reading it!
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Post by Artizi » 22 May 2019, 18:38

I read this book a while ago and greatly enjoyed it, but I feel your review is still excellent!
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Post by Bluebird03 » 23 May 2019, 09:18

I agree with your comments about the lack of enough research on the author's assertions. You did a great job of justifying why you rated this book as you did. Thank you for a very thorough and informative review, Cyndi!

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Post by CyndiA1 » 24 May 2019, 15:12

Hi nooregano - I recognize you. I've read some of your reviews and really enjoyed them.

Just call me nerd girl. LOL. I will look at end notes, the size of studies, and replication.

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CyndiA1
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Post by CyndiA1 » 24 May 2019, 15:14

Thanks artizi - I'm glad you liked my review even with a different assessment. I find the same thing here. Writers are really good, and I often enjoy reviews even if different from my own spin.

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CyndiA1
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Post by CyndiA1 » 24 May 2019, 15:16

I appreciate it Bluebird03. I think the author could have taken about half his data and made a stronger book with just the information that had solid support. I guess a lot of people don't look at the studies and so on. But, I do.

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Post by diana lowery » 26 May 2019, 08:27

I enjoyed your review and the work that you put into verifying the information. I also appreciate your tactfulness in this sentence: "The writing also suggests a disregard for true excellence."

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Post by Letora » 26 May 2019, 09:05

It's interesting how the author is set on calling out others for their research, yet has a small amount to back up his own claims. Although I find that books in this genre do tend to be either vague or lack a lot of supporting data. Thank you for reviewing!
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Post by CommMayo » 26 May 2019, 10:39

Overuse of exclamation points are a pet peeve for me too. Thank you for such an honest review of this book.

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Post by kdstrack » 26 May 2019, 11:21

I agree with your initial comment, "with a strong mainstream medical community bias." Your comments about his research are also interesting. This is an informative review of his work. Thanks.

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Wonderful review! I found it quite shocking that rice products were considered arsenic! I had no idea! I also found it hard to believe that while most vitamins and minerals were covered, iron was left out!

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Post by sanjus » 29 May 2019, 12:38

I had already read this book several months ago and your review gave some insight from different perspective. Thanks for your honest review.
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Post by Wyland » 30 May 2019, 07:12

The medical notes can come in handy in some occasions, so I'll grab a copy to read for some general knowledge and tips. Thanks for the review.

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Post by gen_g » 31 May 2019, 00:36

Some of the advice given will certainly come in handy! Still, I'm not too sure about the lack of supporting data. I also hope that the author will hire an editor to clean up the book. Thanks for the review!

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