Smart Health Choices — Making sense of health advice — Second edition

Smart Health Choices cover

Published November 2007

By Professor Les Irwig, Judy Irwig, Dr Lyndal Trevena and Melissa Sweet

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256pp £12.99 (Paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-905140-17-6

' This e-book’s main aim is to help consumers develop the skills they need to assess the plethora of health advice [available] so they can reject misleading information and make better-informed decisions about their healthcare. Although consumers are the book’s main target, healthcare professionals and students may find it valuable as a basic guide to evidence-based practice. It will also act as a reminder that healthcare should be a partnership between patient and practitioner, with shared decision-making that takes into account each patient’s personal preferences and circumstances.'
Andrew Haynes, The Pharmaceutical Journal">

'The most interesting, comprehensive and informative health book currently on the market is SMART HEALTH CHOICES: Making Sense of Health Advice by PROFESSOR LES IRWIG, JUDY IRWIG, DR LYNDAL TREVENA and MELISSA SWEET (HAMMERSMITH PRESS). The content of the book is explained in the title and this is an invaluable tome to have around because it really cuts through the c..p and mystique of the whole medical 'business'- drugs companies and all. Our health is the most important thing in our lives and you cannot always buy it - although money can sometimes help. SMART HEALTH CHOICES helps people to make the right choices regarding their and their loved ones' healthcare. The book covers everything you need to know, from nutrition to choosing doctors and practitioners, from placebos to trying new treatments. The 4 writers seem to have jointly covered every medical and health eventuality and the cartoons by RON TANDBERG give much needed relief from the serious medical stuff, some of which is quite scary. A necessary book.'
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Every day we make decisions about our health – some big and some small.What we eat, how we live and even where we live can affect our health. But how can we be sure that the advice we are given about these important matters is right for us? Many treatments and tests – both mainstream and alternative – are not supported by good evidence and some widely used treatments are actually harmful.Whether you are considering having surgery or taking vitamin supplements, you need to know the effectiveness of the options and their side-effects.

This fully revised and updated new edition of Smart Health Choices will provide you with the tools for assessing health advice, whether it comes from a specialist, general practitioner, naturopath, the media, the Internet, or a friend. It shows you how to take an active role in your health care, and to make the best decisions for you and your loved ones based on personal preferences and the best available evidence.

About the authors

Professor Les Irwig is Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Sydney, Australia, and an internationally renowned authority on evidence-based medicine.

Judy Irwig brings the perspective of the health care consumer. She devotes a large part of her career to writing and recording songs for children, conveying important messages about relationships, self-respect, and respect for the environment.

Dr Lyndal Trevena is Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, Australia, and a member of the Sydney Health Decision Group as well as being an experienced General Practitioner.

Melissa Sweet is a journalist who has been reporting on health and medical issues for more than 15 years.


In this ground-breaking book you will find exclusive coverage of:
  1. Smart health choice essentials
  2. Be sceptical
  3. Bad evidence
  4. Don't always rely on the experts
  5. Choosing a practitioner
  6. Media and the internet
  7. An education in shopping
  8. The weakness of one
  9. The power of many
  10. Judging which tests and treatments really work
  11. What makes you sick?
  12. Doing your bit
  13. How to apply the evidence to you and your situation
  14. Is this a useful diagnostic test?
  15. Decision thresholds
  16. Relative risk, relative and absolute risk reduction, number needed to treat, and confidence intervals
  17. Testing your skill


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