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Health & Behavior Studies
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Health & Behavior Studies


Book Talk on the alternative medicine industry with Paul A. Offit, M.D.

Published: 10/29/2013

Sponsored by the Gottesman Libraries and Health & Behavior Studies, medical expert Paul Offit, MD once again graciously returns to TC to meet with faculty and students to share his latest book and research / perspectives on the alternative medicine industry. (10/29/13)

In his newly (2013) released book Do You Believe in Magic?, medical expert Paul A. Offit, M.D., offers a scathing exposé of the alternative medicine industry, revealing how even though some popular therapies are remarkably helpful due to the placebo response, many of them are ineffective, expensive, and even deadly.  Dr. Offit reveals how alternative medicine—an unregulated industry under no legal obligation to prove its claims or admit its risks—can actually be harmful to our health.

Using dramatic real-life stories, Offit separates the sense from the nonsense, showing why any therapy—alternative or traditional—should be scrutinized. He also shows how some nontraditional methods can do a great deal of good, in some cases exceeding therapies offered by conventional practitioners.  An outspoken advocate for science-based health advocacy who is not afraid to take on media celebrities including Mehmet Oz, Suzanne Somers, and Jenny McCarthy who promote alternative practices, Dr. Offit advises, “There’s no such thing as alternative medicine. There’s only medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t.”

Visits to campus by Dr. Offit are always appreciated as he enjoys discussing the issues with interested participants and is willing to engage in lively, informal discussion and questions on all topics.  He is a wonderful combination of a scholar, researcher and compelling “story teller” and writer whose books continue to be compelling and totally accessible for all readers.  He did another successful Book Talk at TC (2009) when his controversial book, Autism’s False Prophets was released.  We look forward to his return as he is already in the midst of writing his next book which will be dealing with medicine from a spiritual/religious point of view.  We can’t wait to read that one!