Monday, July 25, 2005

Overcoming Thyroid Problems: A Great New Book from Harvard Medical School Guide Series. A Book Review.

Dr.Jeffery R.Garber,assistant clinical professor, Harvard Medical School, and a fellow member of the Academy of Clinical Thyroidologists ACT,, American Thyroid Association ATA, and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists AACE,, has written a thyroid patient book for the Harvard Medical School Guide series.
The introduction compares thyroid disease to the auto part you never heard of until your car breaks down. This is a good start. He has contact to the laymen, by this simple, but apt analogy.He states the thyroid is undervalued, and it is normal for patients, to not know it's basic functions. He tells the reader thyroid works behind the scenes, and can effect every organ if it is malfunctioning. The only thing most people know is that thyroid failure causes obesity, and that is wrong.

The chapters are well written, and have great side bars.
An example is the one on Kelp, Myth or Fact:
The myth is that kelp is good for you if you have thyroid problems, while the fact is just the opposite, it can harm you. He includes excessive kelp or iodine under risk factors for hypothyroidism, nodular goiter, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and hyperthyroidism.
The use of the myth or fact approach is seen next in the thyroid medication section.No, it does not cause osteoporosis if the the dose of thyroid hormone is normal. No, hypothyroidism does not cause obesity. And, no, it is not a good therapy to cause significant long term weight loss. No, animal thyroid products, or T4/T3 combinations are not better than T4 alone.
The section on ultrasound for nodules is very up to date.
He describes changes seen on ultrasound that point to cancer, and the need for FNA. However, I think he needed to tell the patients, that ultrasound results depend on the person doing the examination. Clinical thyroidologists, doing their own ultrasound can yield better information to help manage patients with a the thyroid nodule.
The section on pregnancy is excellent, and a must read for pregnant thyroid patients.The need for iodine in prenatal vitamins, and the need to take thyroid hormone at a different time than the prenatals with iron. The present day feelings that ATD's for treating hyperthyroidisms, can be given to breast feeding mothers is discussed.
Finally, he brings up the most important issues.
Who do you see about your thyroid problem? He talks about the thyroid surgeon with a high number of thyroid surgeries/ year, and the endocrinologist with extra training, and experience with thyroid problems. He calls them clinical thyroidologists. He talks about finding out if the physician sees a high percentage thyroid patients, and are less active in diabetic care. Because, the new clinical thyroidolgists society ACT, was just formed , he failed to put the thyroidologists website as a source of referrals to endocrinologists that practice 50-100% thyroidology. The site,, I hope will be listed in his revised edition in the future.

In conclusion, I will recommend this book to my patients,
and hope to see it become a classic in thyroid patient
literature.It is an excellent book, to give to all my new thyroid patients at the initial consultation. The book is available at the bookstore section on, or at It is worth the $14.95 retail price in the USA, $19.95 Canadian, or 8.99
English Pounds in the UK.


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