Books by Thomas J. Moore

Released: March 5, 1998

The master at arousing controversy in the world of health and medicine (Health Failure, 1989; Lifespan, 1993; etc.) is at it again, this time with the word on why there's no such thing as a safe drug. Moore knows how to get his message across: with memorable statistics (e.g., prescription drugs are involved in 100,000 deaths a year, more than twice the death toll from auto accidents); with a plenitude of illustrative anecdotes, meant to chill the blood; and with well-documented supplementary research to back up his claims. He begins by looking closely at why, by their nature, the potent prescription drugs of modern medicine pose unpredictable and varied hazards. Moore primarily faults the FDA for inadequate long-term drug testing and poor monitoring of drug safety, but he also assigns blame to doctors themselves for too often prescribing inappropriate drugs and for not giving patients sufficient information about the potential adverse effects of medications. Consumers, too, can compound such commonplace problems if they aren't alert to the risks. Accordingly, the final portion of the book tells us how to protect ourselves. Moore explains some of the medical terms found printed on drug labels and guides readers in how to interpret various warnings. He also suggests appropriate diplomatic tactics to follow when talking with one's physician about remedies; included is a helpful list of questions to bring along. The book's main concern—that too little is known about how frequently prescription drugs cause trouble for patients—may come to seem a tad obvious. Yet one statistic here cited—that consumers have about a one-in-five chance of being treated with an unsuitable or dangerous drug—is, if accurate, genuinely disturbing. The key to improving the system, Moore says, is an informed, concerned, and even demanding public, which this book is designed to create. Vintage Moore—sharp, readable, persuasive. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1993

A disturbing examination of the diverse and interacting factors that influence the human life span, plus a brief look at some attempts to alter the aging process. Moore, a science writer with a penchant for stirring up controversy (Heart Failure, 1989), argues that risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol levels have been oversold and that individual efforts to control them have little effect on achieving long life. (The exception is smoking, which he acknowledges has a measurable life-shortening effect.) Having long-lived ancestors doesn't help much either. Your best bet, Moore says, is to be a healthy, well-educated, well- adjusted, professionally employed member of a stable, prosperous, democratic society. War, famine, and disease have always been the greatest threats to human life, and it is on infectious diseases that Moore focuses his attention. The relationship between humans and microscopic life-forms is constantly changing, and organisms that are harmless in one environment may become deadly under different circumstances. Moore also warns against overconfidence about our mastery of disease: Influenza, which killed millions earlier in this century, remains a threat, and new viruses such as AIDS could reverse recent gains in human longevity. Theories about why 115 years appears to be the maximum life span and research into how this might be altered are examined in the final chapters, while the author's documentation is tucked away in an end-of-book section. An authoritative, accessible, and lively study that may unsettle those who prefer to feel in firm control of their destiny. Read full book review >