“In Missing Microbes, Martin Blaser sounds [an] alarm. He patiently and thoroughly builds a compelling case that the threat of antibiotic overuse goes far beyond resistant infections.”—Nature
Renowned microbiologist Dr. Martin J. 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 equilibrium and health of our bodies. Now this invisible Eden is under assault from our overreliance on medical advances including antibiotics and caesarian sections, threatening the extinction of our irreplaceable microbes and leading to severe health consequences.
Taking us into the lab to recount his groundbreaking studies, Blaser not only provides elegant support for his theory, he guides us to what we can do to avoid even more catastrophic health problems in the future.
“Missing Microbes is science writing at its very best—crisply argued and beautifully written, with stunning insights about the human microbiome and workable solutions to an urgent global crisis.”—David M. Oshinsky, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Polio: An American Story
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.
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