Editorial and Independent Reviews

Never Bet Against Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and the Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity – Lawrence B. Afrin, M.D. (2016)

58 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 reviews and counting!!


Editorial reviews:

“A long overdue book competently written by one of the worldwide leading hematologists in the field of systemic mast cell diseases. In addition to the current state of knowledge about systemic mast cell activation disease, the author vividly illustrates a selection of possible clinical phenotypes of this disease by means of patient cases, emphasizing the many pitfalls in diagnosis and therapy. The book is an absolute must for all physicians (the frequency of systemic mast cell activation disease in the population amounts to about 10%) and affected patients. The author’s brilliant style of writing makes reading a pleasure.” 

            GERHARD J. MOLDERINGS, M.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Molecular Geneticist, Mast Cell Immunologist, University Hospital of Bonn, Germany 

“Dr. Afrin’s case studies illustrate how a single underlying disease process can explain a multitude of seemingly unrelated symptoms. This discovery has the potential to unlock some of the most perplexing medical mysteries of our time. His treatment protocols have ended years of patient suffering and offer much-needed hope to the chronic illness community.”

JENNIFER ROBIN KULIK, Founder, Mast Movement

Independent Reviews (from and the Mast Cell Research Facebook page): 

“From an RN and pt. — buy this book!

Fantastic book… as a registered nurse I am pretty used to hearing medical terms– which understandably confuse people who are not in the medical field. Sometimes I don’t even know what physicians are talking about, and it is frustrating!! This book is excellent because it is written in everyday language so everyone can understand. Mast cell activation disorders are becoming more and more common, and people go for years without a diagnosis. I am impressed and grateful that this doctor cares this much to base his practice on this horrible disease and condition. The good news is… There is hope. So if you have been struggling with pain and chronic conditions and have not found an answer — I highly recommend you look into a mast cell disorder with an allergy doctor or a hematologist. Our society is full of allergies these days that did not exist 50 years ago… Kids and adults. It is not just itching and hives like we have been led to believe… It can be so much more. Unfortunately, I think it’s going just to continue to get worse, and I’m glad that there is attention being paid to it because they’re going to be a lot of patients who need it. Highly recommend reading!”

“From a healthcare provider’s perspective – read this book!

I first purchased the hardcover book, but then realized that it wasn’t shipping right away. I ended up buying the digital match for $2.99, and once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I’ve never found patient stories or medical research to be a page turner, but Dr. Afrin’s book is. It’s incredible how the most common symptoms that so many medical providers see and treat each day, and conditions otherwise considered unrelated, are anything but unrelated. In fact, Dr. Afrin’s patient accounts and years of research, prove that the underlying link between so many common health issues is quite obvious and dare I say – simple. Bottom line – if you are a medical provider, you need to read this book. Or, if you are a patient who suffers from a few to several chronic conditions, including common issues such as season allergies, chronic GI issues, thyroid problems, chronic pain, auto-immune conditions, food allergies, or strange rashes and hives, you need to read this book. I read this book out pure curiosity because of my work in the medical field, and because I work mostly with patients who suffer from chronic allergies and sinus infections. Staying up-to-date on medical research can be quite cumbersome and being able to read something other than medical journal articles motivation enough for me to consider buying Dr. Afrin’s book. I wasn’t sure what to expect but figured I would take a gamble and read his book based on the reviews — and I’m so happy that I did. Healthcare providers are usually looking for ways to improve patient care and outcomes, and reading Never Bet Against Occam is one sure way to improve both. I know that both my patients and colleagues will benefit from the fact that I read Dr. Afrin’s book. Bottom line – Are you interested in the missing link to much common chronic illnesses, or where the future of medicine is headed? If so, you need to read this book!”

“From an anonymous reader – For Patients and Drs. best read of the Century!

Wow, can I just say WOW!. I am on the second read through and I have never related more to a book. Not only did his summary of case studies throw light on many symptoms my daughter struggles with, but they helped us not feel so alone or crazy! If every Dr was like Dr. Afrin the current understanding of health would be light years ahead. It was incredibly refreshing to have a Dr. give credit to patients for advocating for their health. I am hopeful this book will help advocate for the many patients suffering and unable to find appropriate care. The glossary with definitions written in his voice is the cherry on top! I can never ever pronoun a medical term properly, and he made it easy. I am hoping his next book will include more about the impact/interaction of mast cells on mitochondrial dysfunction/disease, autism, and EDS. I hope he is working on it as I type.”

“From an anonymous reader – “A must read for all healthcare providers and anyone who suffers from several chronic illnesses, or is constantly looking for the answer “why?” and “what is wrong?”

I had the privilege of reading Dr. Afrin’s book as an early preview, and it was humbling and nothing short of eye-opening, not to mention incredibly validating. I’m more than grateful for his work, and so incredibly thankful for his continued devotion to his patients, myself included. Dr. Afrin’s book is well-written, interesting, and he keeps you engaged through his patient stories while tying his key points back to research to support his conclusions – this is not your typical medical book.

Dr. Afrin’s book is a cross between a fantastic mystery novel and a real-life conspiracy theory. Think this book doesn’t apply to you or anyone in your family? Think again, or read his appendix of associated conditions. 

The reader is able to understand how Dr. Afrin came to not only discover Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) as a new and different condition from the more rare Mastocytosis, while also learning about the plausible underlying link and route cause between countless other chronic illnesses and MCAS – mast cell dysfunction most likely caused by heritable genetic mutations found in mast cells, compounded by a Pandora’s Box of epigenetic factors. My only hope is that healthcare providers from all specialties read this book with an open-mind because once they recognize what to look for, they will realize that patients with mast cell disease are far from rare – they represent a good portion of the chronic illness community.

From a scientific/research perspective, it’s amazing that something as fundamental as the dysfunction of the body’s main allergy and inflammatory cells (our mast cells), and the complex multi-systemic chain reaction(s) that can result from this dysfunction, has been overlooked by the medical community for so long. Considering that mast cells are only found in our connective tissues, other than their site of origin – the bone marrow – and that they are also a type of white blood cell (and part of our immune system), it’s shocking that their link to allergies of all kinds, inflammatory conditions, immune dysfunction, chronic fatigue syndrome, Alzheimers, musculoskeletal disorders (e.g. – Ehlers-Danlos syndrome – Hypermobility Type and Fibromyalgia, as well as other types of EDS, and heritable disorders of the connective tissue), functional GI disorders (e.g, Celiac, IBS, Leaky Gut, Gastroparesis), autonomic dysfunction, mental illnesses, other cognitive disorders (Autism, SPD, ADHD & learning disabilities), autoimmune conditions (e.g. RA, Lupus, diabetes type 1, skin disorders, and thyroid conditions), pelvic disorders (e.g. Interstitial Cystitis, Adenomyosis, Endometriosis, Fibroids, Ovarian Cysts, painful periods, and even infertility), blood disorders, cancer, and much more, has been overlooked for so long.

For me, the main key points are – “rare” doesn’t mean rare, it means ignored, dismissed, and undiagnosed. The reason is that physicians are told not to look for “rare” conditions, is because they are taught that conditions that are rare are most likely not the answer or diagnosis for the average patient. However, Dr. Afrin’s book proves that this theory is of course incredibly flawed, if not wrong a good portion of the time.

The other key point is that dysfunction of any kind doesn’t occur in a perfect, medically sealed, research and labs to prove “it,” and only one body system, box. Chronic illnesses are multi-systemic and are more than likely linked to several other seemingly unrelated, but random, conditions that a person acquires over their lifetime. One of my physicians told me years ago that chronic conditions travel in packs for some reason, but Dr. Afrin explains the exact reason why – there is more than likely, one route cause, versus so many of us being so “unlucky” to acquire 50 chronic conditions in the course of our lifetime.”

“From an anonymous reader – A Revolutionary Book

Wow. I purchased this yesterday (on Kindle) and finished it tonight. This is a revolutionary book for at least 2 reasons:

1) The prevalence of mast cell disorders may be much, much higher than people realize. And this book goes a long way in making that case in great detail.

2) Dr. Afrin is a medical detective (which few doctors are) and the way he explains how he has gone about diagnosing and then treating his patients cast tremendous light on many aspects of the modern medical system: profit incentives, insurance, pharmaceutical companies, the lack of pay for doctors to spend time thinking (procedures and patient visits are the only things that “count”), and one of the most stunning aspects, how easily medical testing can be done inaccurately.

I’m excited to see where this goes next and to be part of the movement going forward.”

Read more reviews by going to Never Bet Against Occam




Credit – The Age of Enlightenment