Why You Should Be Worried About Changes
To The Microbiome
Dr. Martin Blaser discusses his hypothesis that the overuse of antibiotics, c-sections, and antiseptics has permanently changed our microbiome and are causing an increase in modern diseases such as obesity, juvenile diabetes, and asthma.
A critically important call to arms about the harmful effects of some of our most revered modern medical practices
Welcome to 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 Cesarian sections, threatening the extinction of our irreplaceable microbes and leading to severe health consequences.
In Missing Microbes, Dr. Martin Blaser reaches back to the discovery of antibiotics, which ushered in a golden age of medicine, and then traces how our subsequent overuse of these seeming wonder drugs has left its mark on our systems, contributing to the rise of what Blaser calls our modern plagues: obesity, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. Blaser’s studies suggest antibiotic use during early childhood poses the greatest risk to long-term health, and, alarmingly, American children receive on average seventeen courses of antibiotics before they are twenty years old. At the same time, C-sections deprive babies of important contact with their mothers’ microbiomes. 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.
About Dr. Martin Blaser
Dr. Martin Blaser has studied the role of bacteria in human disease for over 30 years. He is the director of the Human Microbiome Program at NYU. He founded the Bellevue Literary Review and has been written about in newspapers including The New Yorker, Nature, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. His more than 100 media appearances include The Today Show, GMA, NPR, the BBC, The O’Reilly Factor, and CNN. He lives in New York City.