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Would you try another book from Jo Marchant and/or Genevieve Swallow?
Has Cure turned you off from other books in this genre?
This is a trash book based upon content. The narrator is fine.
Any additional comments?
I listened to “Cure” by Jo Marchant after reading glowingly positive reviews in the NY Times, NPR, etc. As a PhD in chemistry with many years as a tenured professor at a top 20 university followed by many years in biotech, I found it to be a horribly non-scientific book that pretends to evaluate the placebo effect and the influence of the mind but really is an indictment of evidence-based medicine. Jo Marchant has written the equivalent to medicine of books on “Scientific Creationism” for evolutionary biology: pseudoscience at best, and believe and superstition masquerading as science at worst.
For example, the studies of placebos are done by one scientific group in the world and with limited number of patients. The studies of alternative medicine are generally uncontrolled and have too few participants. Most evidence is simply individual testimony. Indeed, like nearly all alternative medicine proponents, Jo Marchant consistently uses such testimony rather than randomized clinical trials because the evidence from RCT is overwhelmingly that alternative treatments have no benefit except the placebo effect.
As such, the book is nothing more than an ode to the influence of placebo which all physicians and pharmaceutical/biotech scientists would fully acknowledge is significant. But, Ms. Marchant then tries to indict reputable scientists and companies that are working on treating diseases in which the mind is of negligible effect: cancer, cardiovascular, etc.
As the head of the alternative medicine at NHS told Ms. Marchant, the only sensible and ethical scientific position is to give medicines with active ingredients as these also include any placebo effect since patients expect the medicines to work. Any other position is unethical, wastes the money of patients, and can prevent or delay needed medical treatment for diseases like cancer that are so critical for early diagnosis.
I have utter contempt for Ms. Marchant. My guess from years as a professor, is that she was one of the graduate students who do little more than run standard experiments, isolate a product and write up the results for some obscure journal. She certainly never learned the skepticism and analytical thought processes of a scientist, and should have her PhD rescinded!
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
The content of this book is very interesting with informative case studies that back up the ideas being described.
Unfortunately the narration is terrible. The narrator hypes up every new piece of information like it's a dramatic novel and puts on voices for different characters like she's reading a child's bedtime story. This style makes it very difficult to follow what is an interesting piece of scientific research. The narration drove me so much to distraction that I stopped listening for a few weeks. I restarted the book today and have only got to chapter 3 before I can't take it anymore.
DO NOT buy this audiobook, but definitely go out and purchase the real book instead!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The premise of this book is fascinating and very well researched and written. It is a thorough study of the mind/body connection with specific reference to the power of the placebo effect. It took me a while to listen to it because of the narration. Genevieve Swallow reads the text well and has a nice enough voice - until - and it is a big until - she reads dialogue. For some reason rather than just reading what any given character has to say, she reads it in an accent. For example, if she is quoting something a Doctor from Germany has said, she says it in a ridiculous German accent. There are characters from all over the world in this book from Manchester to Milan and she insists on reading what they have to say in terrible accents which becomes really off-putting at least for me as a listener. This is not a novel in need of dramatic interpretation, it is a technical book relaying information - I don't appreciate the accents. I almost returned the book as I have it in eBook format also, but I wanted to get through it while I walked to work rather than sit down and read it - that's the beauty of the audio book format. So, whether this is a production issue or just the narrators style - please, in future, just read the text.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
I was enjoying this book, until I reached the section on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The only research covered in this section was the infamous PACE trial, and there was no mention of the very legitimate concerns from scientists about the flaws in the study (including changing the criteria of 'recovery' between time points, so that people could actually deteriorate, but still be rated as having improved!). Also no mention of the repeated requests to release data that have been continuously avoided by the authors of that study, including, by inventing stories of harrassment! Instead it continuously refers to patient groups as the only opposition to the study, which is very unfair. If this book puts so much emphasis on such a dodgy study, why should I trust anything else in it? I'm very disappointed.
If you’ve listened to books by Jo Marchant before, how does this one compare?
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Narrator was quite dramatic, which isn't necessary when the content is interesting.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Cure?
Anything where the science hasn't been verified.
Any additional comments?
Such a promising premise and interesting topic, that I was really enjoying, but now feel that cannot trust the author to actually research all sides and include pertinent information. And if I can't trust the author, why would I read/listen?
This is an engaging, fascinating book which is brilliantly written. The narrator did a fabulous job and I absolutely LOVE it.