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.
Where to get it?
For those raising young children or expecting to in the future, for THEIR wellbeing, I cannot more strongly urge you to read this book.
The subtitle of this book is "How the overuse of antibiotics is fueling our modern plagues". The author has studied the role of microbes in human disease for more than 30 years. He is a highly respected member of the medical community, and based on his in depth knowledge of microbiology, has some non standard views.
In this book he explains that our internal flora and fauna mediate some of the milestones in the human maturational process.
He explains how we gain the important cohabiters of our bodies, through vaginal birth and nursing we are inoculated with organisms vital to our survival, and the process continues. (So if a caesarian is scheduled, how and why to get that babe inoculated!)
He explains some of the functions our microflora perform for us, other processes they mediate, without which we could not live.
He explains that we cannot necessarily be re-inoculated at later phases of our lives if population numbers are suppressed. And that "probiotics" while beneficial, do not replace internal populations that are lost through pharmaceuticals.
He explains (ack! though successful and life saving, I hope I never get any closer than reading and understanding the unofficially used) fecal transplant procedure.
He suggests reasons why a parent might graciously decline a course of antibiotics for an infant when a pediatrician says "There is no specific indication for a course of antibiotics, but what can it harm?".
He provides perspective on what might be the appropriate conditions for antibiotic use.
I think it is a great book for a general reader, of specific interest for healthy adults interested in maintaining their health, and as I said, for soon to be parents and grandparents a must read.
It's available on CD.
An overview of the role of microbes in human health and development.
I give this book 7 out of 10 acorns
There are unintended consequences to antibiotic over-use: the disappearance of our ancient companions. Doctor Blaser speaks out about what he calls the upcoming Antibiotic Winter, the resistant-germ equivalent to Silent Spring. His is an important voice in the medical field, speaking out in defense of pathogens (that incredibly, may also be allies). We are in danger of essentially mono cropping the microbiome.