HYPE: A Doctor’s Guide to Medical Myths, Exaggerated Claims and Bad Advice – How to Tell What’s Real and What’s Not

Hype: A Doctor’s Guide to Medical Myths, Exaggerated Claims and Bad Advice–How to Tell What’s Real and What’s Not by Nina Shapiro, M.D. with Kristin Loberg is an engaging and clear-eyed examination at the real science behind our most common beliefs and assumptions in the health sphere. There is a lot of misinformation thrown around these days. Headlines tell us to do this, not that—all in the name of living longer, better, thinner, younger. Dr. Shapiro’s jargon-free, balanced book distinguishes between the falsehoods and the evidence-backed truth. In her work at Harvard and UCLA, with more than twenty years of experience in both clinical and academic medicine, she helps patients make important health decisions every day. She’s bringing those lessons to life here with a blend of personal storytelling and science. Hype covers topics as diverse as exercise, nutrition, supplements, alternative medicine, vaccines, and the benefits and drawbacks of medical testing.

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Written with a surgeon’s incisiveness and clarity, Dr. Nina Shapiro “cuts” through the clutter of confusion when it comes to the best advice for your health. In an age of information overload, it has become increasingly challenging to find trusted voices, which is why Hype could not have come at a better time. As a top-doctor but also as a mom, wife and friend — Shapiro knows what matters most to her readers. She also knows how to skillfully blend knowledge with engaging and entertaining stories. Every home should have a copy of Hype.

Sanjay Gupta, MD,
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent and New York Times bestselling author

In these times, the lines have blurred between real and fake news. Likewise, in healthcare, there are abundant false claims, fictions, and fabrications. In HYPE, Dr. Nina Shapiro, a medical truth–seeker and master explainer, takes us on a path of scrutiny and veracity.”

Eric Topol MD,
Professor, Scripps Research Institute,
and author of The Patient Will See You Now

In Hype, Nina Shapiro and Kristin Loberg guide us through the dense thicket of seductive medical advice offered by the media, celebrities, activists, and health hucksters. Unlike most skeptics, however, they aren’t simply naysayers, but instead willing to tell us what works and what doesn’t. Some of their advice, no doubt, will surprise you.

Paul A. Offit, MD,
author of Pandora’s Lab and
Autism’s False Prophets

If you’re tired of reading competing, confusing headlines in the health sphere or wondering if the latest “clinically-proven” trend is worthy advice, then Hype is a must-read book. In this clear, concise, no-nonsense guide to understanding what’s truly good for you—and not—Dr. Nina Shapiro inoculates you with the data-driven truth. Filled with knowledge and engaging stories, this book reveals facts that will surprise you, all of which will empower you for total well-being.

David B. Agus, MD,
New York Times bestselling author of The End of Illness, A Short Guide to a Long Life, and The Lucky Years, Professor of Medicine and Engineering at the University of Southern California, and Founding Director and CEO, Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine

Hype is an indispensable book packed with history, research, and personal anecdotes. It is the antidote to overwhelming internet searches, floods of health information, and endless tips from friends or family members who are not trained in health care. Nina Shapiro has become the expert at cutting through spin and guiding freaked out patients off the ledge. Since unsolicited advice isn’t going away, the best next step is to arm yourself with the information in this book. This should be mandatory reading.”

Cara Natterson, MD,
New York Times bestselling author of The Care and Keeping of You Series.

In Hype, Nina Shapiro leads us carefully along the frontier between medical knowledge and uncertainty. She is one of the best doctors I know, and now her wisdom and bedside manner are available to everyone, at book length. if you want to remain sane while facing some of life’s greatest challenges — read this book.

Sam Harris,
author of the New York Times bestsellers ,
The Moral Landscape, and Waking Up.

In Hype, by Nina Shapiro, M.D. ’91, with Kristin Loberg (St. Martin’s), a UCLA surgeon draws on her training and her interactions with anxious patients (“informed” by the Internet and media accounts) to sort out the medical wheat from the considerable chaff among competing claims, miracle cures, and just plain rotten advice.

Harvard Magazine

Surgeon Shapiro (Take a Deep Breath) sets out to clear up medical misperceptions in this feisty, fact-filled diatribe (even the acknowledgment page complains that “hype abounds and needs to be bashed”). She tackles such questions as how to put risk into perspective (readers should worry more about eclairs than Ebola), how to understand the causation/correlation distinction, and how to make sense of medical jargon, with the overall aim of turning patients into savvy consumers and perceptive judges of information. Shapiro argues for accuracy on such topics as the efficacy of vaccinations (she comes down hard on the “antivaxx” movement) and shares research on the utility of vitamins (the main outcome of which, she claims, is “very expensive pee and poop”), drinking eight glasses of water per day (“follow the money” to the multibillion-dollar bottled-water industry), and juicing (skip the blender and just eat fruits and veggies). Her skeptical, no-nonsense approach and probing assessment of fact versus fiction make for lively reading that is likely to help readers make better health and medical choices.”

Publishers Weekly

In this common-sense guide, UCLA surgeon Shapiro and coauthor Loberg answer such health questions as whether vaccines cause autism (no) and why gluten-free diets can lead to higher levels of arsenic in the body (rice flour naturally contains the chemical). Shapiro wants patients to do the right thing by getting inoculations (as she and her family have) to ward off diseases like HPV and chicken pox, but she also reassures parents that they can lighten up when it comes to panicking about a little sugar. Each chapter ends with a helpful “hype alert” box that summarizes key points, such as “More men die with prostate cancer than of prostate cancer” and “You are exposed to more aluminum and formaldehyde in nature through air, food and drink than what you’ll get in a vaccine.” Money-saving tips include passing on the bottled water, which costs 2,000 times as much as tap (chemicals in the plastic may leach into the beverage, too). Complete with an index, this is an extremely useful, easy-to-read handbook.


For anyone who wants to be extra proactive in their healthcare choices, this is a book to have. Even though it’s pretty no-nonsense, it’s got a breezy feel to it and sometimes, the authors have a little fun with readers, too. “Hype” is down-to-earth, informative, and your funnybone may even be tickled.

Terri Schlichenmeyer
Marco News


Take a Deep Breath

Take a Deep Breath is a comprehensive, accessible, and indispensable guide for parents, caregivers, teachers, pediatricians, and other healthcare providers on the subject of children’s breathing issues. The book provides a thorough review of breathing issues, differentiating the normal and abnormal for all ages, and at all levels of breathing passages. Take a Deep Breath explains all of the puzzling and oftentimes distressing breathing patterns our children have throughout development. From the uppermost part of the breathing apparatus, the nose, to the lowermost part, the lungs, this book explains which problems are truly worrisome, and which are actually normal stages in a child’s growth. Take a Deep Breath will enable the reader to do just that, take a deep breath, and get a better, clearer understanding about what’s going on when your children breathe in and out. While pediatricians and other healthcare providers have expertise in all aspects of childhood illness, this book sheds new light on the latest research in pediatric breathing issues, sleep issues, and airway safety. Consisting of age-based sections, with location-based and problem-based chapters for each age group, each chapter also provides a ‘to-do’ list, offering successful preventions and treatments that can easily be done at home. About 80 to 90 per cent of children, at one time or another, have breathing problems. Take a Deep Breath will be a welcome, indispensable tool in all households with children. Day care providers, grandparents, babysitters and nannies, and parents’ clubs will all benefit from this book immensely.

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Take a Deep Breath is a breath of fresh air for every parent and doctor who cares about children. Dr. Nina Shapiro cuts through what we need to know and reassuringly tells us what we don’t need to worry about. A must read for every parent and grandparent.

Nancy Snyderman, MD,
NBC News Chief Medical Editor

Take a Deep Breath is the ultimate go-to guide for breathing issues in childhood. Written in a clear, easy-to-read Q and A style, and divided by common issues in each age group, Dr Nina Shapiro teaches parents what they need to know, when to worry and when to relax about common health issues, choking prevention and asthma, and what to do when your toddler sticks a toy up his nose!

Ari Brown, MD
Pediatrician and Author of the Baby 411 Book Series, NBC News Chief Medical Editor

A must read for any parent or caregiver who has ever questioned or considered a child’s breathing.

Tanya Remer Altmann, MD,
Pediatrician and Author of Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers

Take a Deep Breath will undoubtedly set your mind at ease, and help everyone breathe a little easier.

Scott Cohen, MD,
Pediatrician and Author of Eat, Sleep, Poop: A Common Sense Guide to Your Baby’s First Year

The perfect handbook of breathing, written by an impeccable surgeon who is, first and foremost, a mom.

Cara Natterson, MD,
Pediatrician and Author of Worry Proof: A Pediatrician (and Mom) Explains Which Foods, Medicines, and Chemicals to Avoid to Have Safe and Healthy Children

Handbook of Pediatric Otolaryngology: A Practical Guide for Evaluation and Management of Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

The Handbook of Pediatric Otolaryngology will provide the most up-to-date information on the clinical management of children with otolaryngologic disorders. It is ideal for medical students, house officers, and practicing physicians. Systems-based sections include information which is applicable in the clinic, operating room, and hospital settings. Chapters are written by experts in the fields of pediatric otolaryngology, anesthesiology, surgery, and audiology. It is an invaluable guide, in that it covers the basics of the specialty, while also including more advanced issues such as EXIT procedures, medico-legal controversies, and evidence-based medicine in pediatric otolaryngology. While it is a subspecialty text, it is written in a manner that is accessible to those at all levels of medical training.

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50 Studies Every Pediatrician Should Know

50 Studies Every Pediatrician Should Know presents key studies that have shaped the current clinical practice of pediatrics. Selected using a rigorous methodology, the studies cover topics including: allergy immunology, behavioral, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, ENT, general pediatrics, hematology, infectious disease, neonatology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, and pulmonary. For each study, a concise summary is presented with an emphasis on the results and limitations of the study, and its implications for practice. An illustrative clinical case concludes each review, followed by brief information on other relevant studies. This is one of the only books of its kind to present a collection of the most influential clinical trials in pediatrics that are detailed enough to be used on rounds, but still easily digestible.

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