Bad Medicine: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Distance Healing to Vitamin O


Part I. I Sing the Body Eclectic

1. Only Use 10 Percent of Your Brain?

2. Brain Size and Intelligence

4. The Tongue Map is Wrong

5. Liver Detox Scam

6. The Appendix Isn't Useless

Part II. Growing Old

13. Life Span, Life Expectancy

Part III. It’ll Make You Sick

16. How to Catch a Cold

17. Ill-Advised War on Bacteria

19. Sharks and Cancer Scam

Part IV. Eating It Up

21. The Antioxidant Scam

24. Organic vs... what, Inorganic?

25. Bottled vs. Tap Water

Part V. Return of the Witch Doctor

26. Homeopathy, the Delusion of Dilution

27. The Magnet Therapy Scam

30. Oxygen Bars and Oxygenated Water

Part VI. Risking It All

34. Why Everything Really is Toxic

Part VII. Just Like in the Movies

40. What Really Happens When You

      Get Knocked Out

“Wanjek writes with clarity, humor, and humanity, and simultaneously informs and entertains.” — Dr. Michael Shermer, Publisher, Skeptic magazine

“Bad Medicine is an enjoyable romp through a host of biomedical misconceptions.” — New Scientist

“Wanjek shoots and scores when he tackles the major myths of medicine.” — Focus Magazine

Available through  Translated into Korean and Chinese.  A Russian translation is planned for 2016.




Unlike my 2005 book Food At Work, Bad Medicine is humorous.  It’s so humorous that, upon publication in 2003, I got loads of hate mail from, unsurprisingly, those readers convinced that drinking urine and chanting medieval hymns is good for your health… because the ancients were wise to the ways of science and who was I to challenge age-old traditions.


Bad Medicine is the sequel to Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy.  Now, if you think Uri Geller really bends spoons telepathically because he uses more than 10 percent of his brain, as he claims, then this book isn’t for you.  If you think alternative health guru Deepak Chopra really levitates, as he has claimed, and that good thoughts cure disease and that you can reverse the aging process and heal someone telepathically, then this book isn’t for you.


If you think diseases arise from imbalances of vibrational energy, whatever that means, and that cures arise from balancing unseen forces in nature, then this book isn’t for you.  If you think that traditional medicine must work because it is old and because it is natural—as natural as poison ivy and hemlock—then this book isn’t for you.  If you think germ theory is “just a theory” and lean more towards intelligent disease, also known as the Jerry Falwell theory of the origin of HIV and hurricanes, then this book isn’t for you.


Come to think of it, if these things do describe you, maybe you should read the book.  Please download chapters 1 and 2.

(To the right was the alternate cover for the book.  But on the actual cover, something’s not quite right with that nurse.  Can you guess what’s wrong with the photograph?)