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The Cure for Everything: Untangling Twisted Messages About Health, Fitness, and Happiness


In this era of health-science research, rarely a day goes by without a public pronouncement of some exciting health-enhancing discovery: a new diet, a new fitness routine, a new drug or alternative therapy, the miracles achieved by genetic mapping. And we are told—by the media, health-care experts, even government—that we should use this information to live a healthier life. But what information can we trust? Are yoga and stretching the surefire path toward healthy aging? Can consuming enormous quantities of certain "natural" remedies ward off disease? Should we all eat nothing but carbs, or fats, or pineapples, and regularly cleanse our colons or have our meridians aligned? Should we all have our genome mapped to solve our health problems?

In The Cure for Everything, health policy expert and fitness enthusiast Timothy Caulfield wades through the tides of health crazes, misleading data, and well-meaning gurus in a quest to sort out real, reliable health advice. He takes us along as he navigates the maze of facts, findings, and fears associated with emerging health technologies, drugs, and disease-prevention strategies and presents an impressively researched, accessible take on the production and spread of information in the health sciences.

Seamlessly switching between his sweatsuit and his lab coat, Caulfield doesn't just pore over the research and interview the professionals; he gets his t-shirt sweaty and his meridians aligned, testing out the scientific validity of some of the health and fitness crazes of our day. Bravely using himself as a guinea pig, he goes on a strict diet, a rigorous exercise routine, swallows bottles of "natural" remedies, and has needles inserted all over his body. He illuminates some solid paths to better health, along with the dead-end detours.

Science is everywhere, but what passes through most people's field of vision is often wrong, hyped, or twisted by an ideological or commercial agenda. And without good scientific data, bad decisions are made--by doctors and governments, by you and me. Caulfield demonstrates, alas, that there are no quick fixes or simple steps to flat abs; that you will never be able to eat all you want; that no "natural" supplements will lead to better health; that knowing your genetic map will not save you from almost anything. The Cure for Everything ends with five simple, scientifically sound—and, yet, difficult—steps to take in order to lead a longer, healthier life.

Timothy_Caulfield_3_2011-Akiko_TaniguchiAs a researcher in health law and policy, Timothy Caulfield has spent almost two decades analyzing science issues and has been involved in science and health-policy decisions related to almost all the topics addressed in this book. He teaches biotechnology in the Faculty of Law and is the editor for the Health Law Journal and Health Law Review at the University of Alberta. He has published close to two hundred peer-reviewed articles in the world's top science journals, including Science, Cell, the Lancet, Nature, andBiotechnology, and in the popular press.

Listen to Tim Caulfield on Minnesota Public Radio's The Daily Circuit.

Read an interview with Tim Caulfield on

Watch Tim Caulfield talking about the most effective way to get fit: hard exercise.