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Publisher's Summary

An acclaimed medical expert and patient advocate offers an eye-opening look at many common and widely used medical interventions that have been shown to be far more harmful than helpful. Yet, surprisingly, despite clear evidence to the contrary, most doctors continue to recommend them.

Modern medicine has significantly advanced in the last few decades as more informed practices, thorough research, and incredible breakthroughs have made it possible to successfully treat and even eradicate many serious ailments. Illnesses that once were a death sentence, such as HIV and certain forms of cancer, can now be managed, allowing those affected to live longer, healthier lives. Because of these advances, we now live 30 years longer than we did 100 years ago.

But while we have learned much in the preceding decades that has changed our outlook and practices, we still rely on medical interventions that are vastly out of date and can adversely affect our health. We all know that finishing the course of antibiotics prevents the recurrence of illness, that sunscreens block harmful UV rays that cause skin cancer, and that all cancer-screening programs save lives. But do scientific studies really back this up? 

In this game-changing book, Dr. Paul A. Offit debunks 15 common medical interventions that have long been considered gospel despite mounting evidence of their adverse effects, from vitamins, sunscreen, fever-reducing medicines, and eyedrops for pink eye to more serious procedures like heart stents and knee surgery. Analyzing how these practices came to be, the biology of what makes them so ineffective and harmful, and the medical culture that continues to promote them, Overkill informs patients to help them advocate for their health. By educating ourselves, we can ask better questions about some of the drugs and surgeries that are all too readily available - and all too heavily promoted.

©2020 Paul A. Offit (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about Overkill

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  • 05-13-20

fascinating

Excellent information, well written, and researched. Complex ideas were explained in easy terms. Gave compelling arguments against commonly accepted medical practices. I completely enjoyed this very informative and helpful book.

3 people found this helpful

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Easy to understand explanation of medical misuse

Dr Offit’s writing is always excellent. This book continues this tradition. Dr Offit gives a clear and evidence based explanation of things we are doing in modern medicine that we should not be doing. The writing is always clear (unlike most medical writing). The book is interesting all the way through.

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Ignores contrary research

The author ignores a large amount of research that is contrary to his points and conclusions.

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Excellent: Review of medical issues

The best review of medical issues that involve cognitive fallacies and the harm on medical care and cost. From low T, vitamin D, etc. and various other popular myths. I recommend it highly!

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Fantastic, objective, and current

Great book. Audiobook was well-done. Very useful information, and very up-to-date. Perfect for the lay-person interested in healthcare, but I even learned some things from my own specialty that I wasn’t totally clear on.

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Amazing how powerful marketing is

Threw away my multi vitamins. Was always skeptical but learning about all those trials disproving their efficacy really opened my eyes. You will learn so much about conspiracy theories that are totally contrary to dozens of controlled trials.

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Overscreening explained

Incivise exposition on overscreening: medical screening without a medical indication to so. A must read for those targeted by the screeners.

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Medical advice where things have been changing.

Good information on some topics such as allowing body to have a fever to heal itself and cancer screening. I learned more about skin cancer and how to prevent it. That chapter had lots of tidbits of information and I had to reread to get it all. I'm fascinated by the `Don't Ice sprains` chapter and I am inclined to believe him, but it sounds like the studies proving RICE wrong are small and not yet accepted or put into use by doctors or the world. The book is good reading and encourages everyone to keep learning and advocating for your own health.

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Excellent book!

Thank you Dr. Offit for another wonderful book! Very insightful, and easy to understand. A recommended read for all audiences.