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

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