3 out of 4 stars
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Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks, by Morton E Tavel, MD, is a 278 page, nonfiction book, published by Brighton Publishing LLC. The author has served as a physician specializing in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. He has also taught medicine at Indiana University’s school of medicine. This is where he earned his college and medical degrees. He has written this book, out of concern that the contemporary society leads unhealthy lifestyles, held hostage by myths that hold no water in today’s scientific world. It is also vulnerable to tricks employed by quacks, and the profiteering medical industry. This is one of the several books he has written to give his expert advice to liberate us from the ‘’snake oil”. The book has 62 chapters, of which 32 chapters give the reader with useful healthy living tips, while the rest is dedicated to debunking the myths and exposing various tricks used by fraudsters in the medical industry.
Dr. Tavel has delved into many issues that are of concern in today’s world. The various tips he has given are not limited to weight management, cigarette smoking, wine drinking, place of adequate sleep and foods that one should avoid. When discussing tips in each chapter, the author has started with what has always been known, providing facts based on research or his vast medical experience and finally giving the conclusion. In his discussion on whether mother was right or wrong on eating a good breakfast, he writes, “So I say to one and all, eat your breakfast every morning, it better be more than just a doughnut and coffee, or I’ll tell mother on you!”
He has further exposed some of the myths that have held part of the society hostage. Some of these myths would be considered crazy in today’s world. They are held by persons with personal phobias, yet they would wish they seem as factual. There are still others that are widely believed as true yet medical professionals hold a different opinion. How about stretching before strenuous work? Do I really need an annual medical checkup? The author has written a balanced opinion based on research on each of these topics. While most have been well-intentioned, some have no health benefits, or worse still, may lead to either false confidence or further unnecessary tests. There are many other areas, as the writer notes, that seem beneficial to human health, yet research has proven them counterproductive.
The last part of the book exposes the tricks employed by various persons ranging from quacks, pharmaceutical companies; mainstream and social media just to name a few. When one reads this part, one agrees that indeed, “naked truth came long after a well-dressed lie made his presentation and left”. This part shockingly, exposes some of the nasty pranks that have all along been played on the masses. They have all along appeared so genuine. And at our cost, a multibillion dollar economy thrives. What about the now popular medical talk shows on TV? The reason why this nonsense goes unabated, as he says, regulators like F.D.A are overstressed and underfunded. One would wonder if it is by design or just circumstantial. Already, there are frustrations by genuine practitioners, as the current legal framework allows the quacks thrive under alternative medicine. He concludes by examining the various oaths the medical practitioners subscribe to and their overall relevance to today’s medical practice.
One thing I observed is that the author has tried to use simple language so that he can reach out to as many people as he would. While it is not easy for a medical doctor to write this book free of medical jargon, medical terms are only used to pass the information as intended. The author has used well-referenced research findings, relevant examples that form the basis from which the author bases his arguments from, in each chapter. Most chapters whether on tips, myths, or even the tricks, close with the author’s opinion on a certain subject. Most of the researches findings, examples used, legislative framework, if not all, are from the USA. We are aware that the USA has made major strides in medical research, fast food industry among other areas. Thus the people who are familiar with life in the US would easily relate to this book.
Unfortunately, this book had some grammatical errors and typos. For instance, on page 123, there are glaring typos that would make one wonder what really went wrong. In page 203, he states, a “women”, instead of, “a woman”. The design of the chapter titles, e.g. “Chapter 51”, written as, “πChapter 51o”, I found confusing. These are just few of the grammatical errors that I had observed.
I wish to note that the author’s work is commendable. This is a book that is a must-read for all. The young adults may need some help, especially where they may find it hard to understand the language used in this book. I wish to note that the author’s work deserves all the four stars. However, because of the typos and the grammatical errors, I do give it, 3 out of 4 stars. This book will still benefit if subjected to another round of proofreading.
Health Tips, Myths, and Tricks
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