A critically important and startling look at the harmful effects of overusing antibiotics, from the field's leading expert
Tracing one scientist's journey toward understanding the crucial importance of the microbiome, this revolutionary book will take readers to the forefront of trail-blazing research while revealing the damage that overuse of antibiotics is doing to our health: contributing to the rise of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. In Missing Microbes, Dr. Martin Blaser invites us into the wilds of the human microbiome where for hundreds of thousands of years bacterial and human cells have existed in a peaceful symbiosis that is responsible for the health and equilibrium of our body. Now, this invisible eden is being irrevocably damaged by some of our most revered medical advances—antibiotics—threatening the extinction of our irreplaceable microbes with terrible health consequences. Taking us into both the lab and deep into the fields where these troubling effects can be witnessed firsthand, Blaser not only provides cutting edge evidence for the adverse effects of antibiotics, he tells us what we can do to avoid even more catastrophic health problems in the future.
Humans are losing "ancient microbes" from the overuse of antibiotics and medical practices like Caesarian sections, warns Blaser, director of New York University's microbiome program and a researcher whose study of one pesky pathogen, H. pylori, helped lead both to the discovery of its link to ulcers, and to the troubling changes triggered by early-life exposure to antibiotics. The average American child receives nearly three courses of antibiotics by age two and has about 17 courses by age 20, Blaser writes. But we pay a devastating price for this assault on the "invisible zoo living on and inside" us: rising rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes, celiac and Crohn's diseases, and quite possibly, autism, he says. There may come a day where we make peace with H. pylori, reintroducing it to the human microbiota, along with other banished organisms. In the meantime, Blaser urges doctors to curtail the use of antibiotics and use narrow-spectrum drugs instead; to limit C-sections to cases necessary to save the life of mom or baby; and for farmers to end to the use of antibiotics on animals whose products we eat. It's an engrossing examination of the relatively unheralded yet dominant form of life on Earth.
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This is an incredibly compelling tale. It is a must read for everyone. It will make you rethink how you view the world. We often have only our own small view and our quite surprised what we learn when we see what is beyond the edge of the frame. It is a bold reminder that every significant intervention in modern life whether medicine or machinery has a profound consequence. This will make you think twice before taking an antibiotic. We can no longer say "it can't hurt". We have to weigh the risks and benefits. And it will open peoples minds to a different approach to preventing and treating modern ailments. If for no
other reason than it makes you take what you know and reexamine it and think about it differently (an exercise that is good for your brain and essential to preserving our society)7 Go get this book today