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Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us Lecture

Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us

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Publisher's Summary

True or false: Eight glasses of water a day are mandatory for staying hydrated. Vitamin C protects you from catching a cold. Natural foods are always better for you.

What do these nuggets of so-called medical wisdom have in common? They're not true. They're myths, half-truths, and misconceptions - pieces of information so familiar we take them for granted without truly considering the scientific truth behind them.

In today's information age, such medical myths are all around us. And using them to make decisions about your own health can be harmful. Even deadly. That's why it's critical to understand the accuracy of medical information and discover the truth about everyday health and well-being.

That's the core of this important series of 24 eye-opening lectures from an acclaimed neurologist, educator, and science broadcaster. Dr. Novella will give you evidence-based guidelines for good health, enhance your ability to be better informed about common medical myths, and strengthen your skills at assessing medical information and advice.

An essential aid for any home, the lecture series is divided into three sections that focus on specific aspects of health. "You Are What You Eat and Drink": Get pointed looks at proper hydration, the routine use of multivitamins, natural foods and probiotics, antioxidants, and more. "Fighting Diseases": Sort out truth from fiction regarding vaccines, the supposed link between vaccination and autism, chronic diseases, and other subjects. "Exploring the Alternatives": Investigate the claims behind herbal medicines, homeopathy, acupuncture, and other alternatives that aren't as worthwhile as they claim to be.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses

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  •  
    Caeril Inffall Perth, WA, Australia 22/06/2017
    Caeril Inffall Perth, WA, Australia 22/06/2017 Member Since 2015

    magicwandalust

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Take that, society!"
    What made the experience of listening to Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us the most enjoyable?

    Having lots of info broken into sections so you can listen to certain parts and not be overwhelmed. Professor Novella makes sure to deliver steady speech (not fast), to speak clearly, and to pause when needed.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us?

    I'm only halfway through, but have already felt the desire to write this review, so currently, one of the most memorable moments for me was a simple comment on making sure migraineurs drink water even when they don't feel like it (I'm a borderline chronic migraineur).


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but unfortunately, it's impossible as it's very long and I can only listen in chunks.


    Any additional comments?

    As stated, I'm only halfway through, but am enjoying gaining deeper insights into subjects I was already skeptical of. For instance, I learned that originally, acupuncture was a way of blood letting, and that modern acupuncture is totally re-thought (though still has no evidence to support it).<br/>In general, it's both educational and comforting to be told how many people believe in things that aren't true, don't help, or can actually be harmful, because people with chronic illness like myself are often given well-meaning advice, but that advice should always be taken with a grain of salt, looked further into, or gently discredited. Self education is key, and these lectures help a lot.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jaise 14/03/2017
    jaise 14/03/2017 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "very interesting and we'll. worth listening to."

    amazing what we think we know is actually rubbish. great to get facts like this so you can seem clever !!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Australia 29/04/2016
    Amazon Customer Australia 29/04/2016 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Medical myth busting!"

    Great for anyone who doesn't want to be hoodwinked by common medical and health myths

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Lotsaluck
    ALHAMBRA, CA, United States
    7/09/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beware the detractors"
    Would you listen to Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us again? Why?

    There is a plethora of information here--much more than can be retained from one listening.


    What other book might you compare Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us to and why?

    These lectures remind me of the Freakanomics series of books. In fact, I started listening to Think Like a Freak right after I finished this one, and it has some medical stories in the first chapters that could have fit well in this series.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    At the end, he lists a number of myths that some doctors still believe. Something to think about when next you visit your doctor.


    Any additional comments?

    I find it amusing to read reviews that allege that this listen has "half-truths" or that it lacks evidence. This course is all about scientific studies and evidence. Where we don't know something, he tells us. He tells us what science and medicine have been able to prove and their degree of certainty. The only reason I can discern for the detractors comments is that a pet medical myth of the reviewer (homeopathy? supplements? acupuncture?) is attacked in the book and therefore there cannot be any proof. Just because the reviewer disagrees doesn't mean the lecturer is dealing in half truths. Thus the need to de-myth-ify medicine. True, there is no list of sources in the lectures from Audible, but that is because Audible, for some reason, does not supply us with the guides that accompany the course. They say it is not necessary for enjoying the course. While it may be true that it is not necessary, it is certainly useful--especially in this case. Listeners who really want this information may need to go to the Teaching Company and buy the lectures again to get the study guide. Very sad, especially since audible does provide study guides for the Modern Scholar series of courses and for many other Audible titles as PDF files that can be downloaded. Perhaps if we lobby Audible, we can get them to include the study guides for the Great Courses as well. How about it, people?And detractors: What particular myth did you hate hearing debunked? Enquiring minds what to know.

    56 of 58 people found this review helpful
  • Debbie
    United States
    9/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Listen for Anyone!"
    Would you listen to Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us again? Why?

    Yes. Because I do not necessarily catch every detail in real time. Often I fall a bit behind because the preceding point still has my attention. Some points I wish to commit to memory. The lectures by Dr Steven Novella are AMAZING. Exciting, informative, fun.... He is a great teacher with a fluent vocabulary. I want to remember to again use some of those words. And I want to have my myths clear! Sure I will be arguing regarding some of them that are so entrenched.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Steven Novella’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes and this one was very worthwhile yet lighter. No regrets!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes and repeated many "lectures/chapters".


    Any additional comments?

    Audible!! Obtain content rights for more books featuring lectures on any topic by this man!!! Amazing .... This one the lighter & easier to review of the two I have. NO ONE should be intimidated to go with this book of lectures. No dense scientific or biological knowledge is required to take away an excellent experience with information we all can use! <br/><br/>

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • Thomas
    WindsorUnited Kingdom
    4/04/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Survey of myths behind "alternative" medicine"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us to be better than the print version?

    This is a stupid review question from Audible because, first, it assumes the reviewer has the print version and secondly there is no print version of this work!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us?

    The section on Homeopathy. It is interesting how a practice which (1) has no evidence of success and (2) no practical basis for working, still persists.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    This work has no "scenes" per se. Let me just say that if you believe in so called "alternative" medicine you may not like the point of view in this work. Dr. Novella espouses a science based approach to health which is at odds with anything that does not have properly derived evidence to suggest it works.


    Any additional comments?

    I understand other reviewers comments about the lack of citations. There are some in the lecatures but not everything Dr. Novella references is backed with a citation to research. I understand from reviews of the DVD version of the course, there is a booklet that is included and this has citations and references. All of these "The Great Courses" on Audible have the disclaimer that the works may reference materials that are not important. So this is a request for Audible and the Great Courses people to please work together to provide us with reference notes and supplemental materials for all of these courses.

    16 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Dawn
    RED DEER, AB, Canada
    31/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"
    Would you listen to Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us again? Why?

    A very organized succinct review of some of the myths and advances in medical science.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us?

    I particularly appreciated clarification about vitamin supplements.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Steven Novella – was your favorite?

    The narrator's voice was easy to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    This audiobook is highly recommended for all and particularly for those of us with limited scientific background who have been confused by the plethora of conflicting health advice.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • C. Carrier
    LA, CA, USA
    1/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really enjoy Novella's lecture"
    Would you listen to Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us again? Why?

    There is such a wealth of material here that I would love to relay to others, a second (or beyond) listen would be helpful for me to retain. I will likely listen again after a few months.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I like Novella's style of lecture. He's also self effacing about the fallibility of trusting any source, including him. It does challenge things you may be comfortable believing. I'll have to be careful about wanting to pop other's belief bubbles. After all, my only authority would be this lecture.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to it during my commute and loved it. It was a nice escape from the subject matter I deal with at work or the demands of family at home.


    Any additional comments?

    If Novella had another lecture, perhaps further in depth in a medical area, I would purchase it in a second. I also enjoyed his lecture on critical thinking.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Stephanie
    Littleton, MA, United States
    24/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very well done and extremely informative"
    Any additional comments?

    Professor Steven Novella presents an entertaining and informative talk about our health. It is broken up into short chapters. Professor Steven Novella is a great speaker and has a good sense of humor. His medical knowledge and confident speaking style makes this an excellent audio book.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Atheous
    Mojave desert
    12/08/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It just starts with myths."
    What made the experience of listening to Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us the most enjoyable?

    Even though I keep up with health and science news, I had some false information. The dispelation of myth is just the start of the real subject of this course. To start, the information is understandable to a layperson. In addition, it was released this year, 2013 and the information is up to date. The information is biased, but only toward fact. Science based medicine is the subject here. What is known, what is not known, what works, what doesn't, and what will harm you. In the process of describing a myth (and most he gives the history of as well), he must tell you how a biological process actually works. This bolsters the the understanding of your own biology and health, and is quite educational. As I said, I keep up with science, so most myths were obvious to me, but not the biology I learned while listening. The timing of this course is perfect. There are ill people spending money, time and hope on snake oil, others buying products they don't need for health problems they don't have, or don't even exist. Harm is coming to people from mis-information. The vaccination non-controversy is covered here as well, thankfully another platform for reliable factual information. I learned much that will effect my diet henceforth. It was solidified for me that supplements are unnecessary with a healthy diet, sans a specific deficiency which should make itself readily apparent. I decided to stop using medical marijuana because his explanation of the difficulty with dosing in addition to isolation of the active ingredient(s). During the lecture on problems with supplements, I realized why my results are so varied and unreliable. And, smoking a drug is the worst way to administer it. In my case the benefit doesn't justify not only it's risks, but obvious harm. It was costing me $300 /mo. Thanks Steve!


    What other book might you compare Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us to and why?

    The "Skeptoid" podcast books by Brian Dunning, because they dispel myths as well, just from more varied subjects.


    What does Professor Steven Novella bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Obviously he delivers his material with the emphasis he intend when he wrote it. Subtle maybe, but I also listen to his podcast, so hearing him deliver the lectures was a treat.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not at all. There is much information here. In fact, I'll most likely listen again in a month or so.


    23 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Moon
    Arlington VA
    16/02/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A bit repetitive but worth a casual listen"
    What did you like best about Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us? What did you like least?

    No breakthrough here. If you already listened to Your Deceptive Mind, don't bother with this book unless you know medical basic knowledge. The author threaded carefully at certain junctions--which I almost found deceptive for an educator. His statements of "there is no evidence of support [assertion]" were used to fill in for "there is no basis for [assertion]," which any careful listener knows is misleading. Better say, we don't know a whole lot, but here is what we know; as to the things we don't know, they may or may not be true. To refute anything based on the fact that we don't have any evidence to support it is a fallacy.


    Would you be willing to try another book from The Great Courses? Why or why not?

    Yes. How about a lecture on bio ethics, the differing views about doctor-patient relationships (e.g. UK vs US), informed consent and its limits, funding for research and its influence on what we know--and don't know, defensive medicine, and last but not least, challenges that arise from conflict of interest between doctor and patient. Thank you--Prof Novella is a great narrator.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Ingmar Lindström
    USA
    7/07/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great overview!"

    Thank You for an interesting overview of the basic myths surrounding us. Has changed some of my beliefs.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Guy Chapman
    UK
    8/05/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great information"
    What did you love best about Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us?

    This is a rapid overview of the field, well argued and with a well judged level of detail.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us?

    The section on how vaccines work is particularly good, as is the section discussing vitamin metabolism.


    Any additional comments?

    My only criticism is that it's a bit frenetic: a slightly slower pace with more examples would be preferable.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Damage Magnet
    NW England
    12/03/15
    Overall
    Performance
    "Well presented set of lectures"

    Dr Novella attempts to present a neutral factual set of lectures.
    He does not always succeed in hiding his irritation with nonsense. If you listen to the SGU then you will have heard the bare bones of most of this but this is his pithy comments with backup details.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Mariann V.
    21/08/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Depends on what you already know"

    This book is good if you are a total novice in the areas of evidence based medicine. But if you already use PubMed, read Science, know what is NCBI, what importance have double blind placebo controlled trials over simpler studies and what a Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase meant by: &quot;If you torture data long enough, it will confess.&quot;, then this one won't contain anything new for you.

    I expected much more depth and something more exciting (information wise). It somehow appeared more profound than it is. It basically contains common sense information. It's not the author's fault - the books is probably great for the ones it is dedicated to. I just didn't do my homework properly before purchasing this book. The presenter is good and information valid for certain audiences, just not me. Therefore I'm confused how to rate it, because the book isn't bad for sure, but no good for me either and I really hope I can change it for something better (purchased quite a time ago and only recently started to listen to it and within a minute of listening and thereafter skimming it through it dawned on me - what a mistake from my side to buy this). Save your credits if you can relate with me. And go for it if you prefer simple&amp;basic myth busting. :)

    So, the given rating stars reflect my confusion: I'd give one star for the story and overall because no use for me, but I threw in some extra because of other people to whom the book might be a must read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs E P
    22/07/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Common Sense at last"
    If you could sum up Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us in three words, what would they be?

    I was pleasantly surprised mostly because I understood exactly the reasoning behind how these myths came about. I also then realised that If I had thought more about this when first coming across these old wives tales I would not be as willing to believe them. I now have a better understanding of the Science behind a lot of very common ailments.


    What other book might you compare Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us to, and why?

    I have not come across any book that has given me such a clear understanding of these subjects.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not so much laughing or crying but spent most of the time listening to the lectures and thinking 'Oh of course'


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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