- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 1 edition (April 8, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805098100
- ISBN-13: 978-0805098105
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (259 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues 1st Edition
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*Starred Review* You share your body with a vast population of microorganisms. Ten trillion human cells coexist with 100 trillion bacterial cells. The human microbiome—an elaborate ecology of microbes on us and within us—plays a major role in health, especially immunity and metabolism. But this collection of mostly pacifistic and beneficial species of bacteria that coevolved with human beings is increasingly endangered—by excessive use of antibiotics in humans and farm animals, overutilization of antiseptics and sanitizers, and the rising rate of cesarean sections. Blaser, an infectious-disease expert and researcher at NYU, is convinced that the swelling number of people with obesity, asthma, and esophageal reflux is a consequence of disrupting the microbiome. He warns that even short-term use of unnecessary antibiotics in children can have long-term implications. Antibiotics have been available for almost 70 years and have saved countless lives. Surprisingly, however, around 70 percent of antibiotics in use are allotted to livestock to promote growth and fatten them up. Human microecology is complex, even paradoxical: the bacteria Helicobacter pylori can make folks ill (ulcers and stomach cancer) and keep them well (protection against GERD, asthma, and esophageal cancer). Blaser’s Missing Microbes is a masterful work of preventive health and superb science writing. --Tony Miksanek
“The weight of evidence behind Dr. Blaser's cautions about antibiotics is overwhelming.” ―The New York Times
“Unlike some books on medicine and microbes, Dr. Blaser's doesn't stir up fears of exotic diseases or pandemic 'superbugs' resistant to all known drugs. He focuses on a simpler but more profound concern: the damage that modern life inflicts on the vast number of microbes that all of us, even healthy people, carry inside us at all times.” ―The Wall Street Journal
“Missing Microbes presents a surprisingly clear perspective on a complex problem.” ―Philadelphia Inquirer
“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
“Readable and challenging, Missing Microbes provides a stimulus with which to probe existing dogma.” ―Science
“Blaser presents a sensible plan for reclaiming our microbial balance and avoiding calamity both as a society...and on an individual level.” ―Discover
“Missing Microbes blazes a new trail.” ―The Huffington Post
“An engrossing examination of the relatively unheralded yet dominant form of life on Earth.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Blaser's Missing Microbes is a masterful work of preventative health and superb science writing.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“Credit Blaser for displaying the wonders and importance of a vast underworld we are jeopardizing but cannot live without.” ―Kirkus
“Missing Microbes adds a new frontier towards understanding vastly underappreciated key contributions of the human microbiome to health and human disease. As a world leader in defining the microbiome, Dr. Blaser explains how disturbing its natural balance is affecting common conditions such as obesity and diabetes, long thought of as primarily nutrition and lifestyle related problems. Blaser's carefully and convincingly written book outlines new dimensions that need to be considered in fighting a number of common diseases and in promoting health and well-being.” ―Richard Deckelbaum, Director, Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University
“In a world that turns to antibiotics for every infection of the ear, sinuses, or skin, Dr. Blaser makes even the most nervous parent think twice about giving her child these ubiquitous drugs. Dr. Blaser contends that the excessive use of antibiotics--especially in children--is at the root of our most serious emerging modern maladies, from asthma and food allergies to obesity and certain cancers. He walks us through the science behind his theories and examines the duality of microbes, both as essential agents of good health and perpetrators of sickness. At a time when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is campaigning for more judicious use of antibiotics, Dr. Blaser delivers a thoughtful, well-written and compelling case for why doctors need to be more cautious about prescribing these medications and why consumers should consider alternatives before taking them.” ―Nirav R. Shah, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Health, New York
“Dr. Blaser's credibility as a world class scientist and physician makes this exploration of our body's microbial world particularly provocative. Missing Microbes will make you rethink some fundamental ideas about infection. Blaser's gift is to write clearly and to take the reader on a fascinating journey through the paradoxes and insights about the teeming world within us.” ―Abraham Verghese MD, author of Cutting for Stone
“I have often wondered why kids today seem to have such a high incidence of asthma, ear infections, allergies, reflux esophagitis and so many other conditions that I rarely saw growing up. This mystery has been solved by the pioneering work of Dr. Marty Blaser and is communicated brilliantly in Missing Microbes. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this book to your own health, the health of your children and grandchildren and to the health of our country. Missing Microbes is truly a must read.” ―Arthur Agatston, author of The South Beach Diet
“We live today in a world of modern plagues, defined by the alarming rise of asthma, diabetes, obesity, food allergies, and metabolic disorders. This is no accident, argues Dr. Blaser, the renowned medical researcher: the common link being the destruction of vital bacteria through the overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics. 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
“Why is it that you are fat, your son has asthma, and your 13-year-old daughter is six feet tall? Dr. Blaser says your bodies are missing vital, beneficial bacteria and I guarantee that after reading this book you will agree. Take a pass on the antibiotics and read Missing Microbes.” ―Laurie Garrett, Pulitzer Prize winning writer and Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations
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Top Customer Reviews
This is now one of my favorite books! Give it a try!
One thing that is slightly misleading, though the major issues are covered in a general manner a lot of the specifics are focussed on Helicobacter Pylori, which is a stomach centered bacteria rather than something from lower down. I was expecting more coverage of the range of bacteria in the intestinal biome. This in no way detracts from the quality of the book as a some of the issues with H. Pylori seems to be those of the general intestinal biome also.
Overall there is quite a wide and big picture view as well as the focus on H Pylori case studies. For example the author mentions work on Caesarian birth innoculation and other clean hypothesis issues. The case studies themselves are presented in a good scientific manner with descriptions of the protocols and evidence for the findings. Also this book made me want to go work with Dr. Blaser on studies like the one he described. Important work.
1) a well-referenced examination of antibiotic history, challenges, and cost/benefit;
2) a premise that C-section births miss the transfer of gut flora from propinquity to the anus; and
3) an avant-garde premise that the H.Pylori Bacteria, known for contributing to ulceration of an inflamed stomach, also can be beneficial, citing author's work with mice my husband believes too different from human for comparison.
I've been studying about the human microbiome for the last 3 years. Martin Blaser's book is critically important to worldwide health. Educate your congressmen, educate the public, educate our health care professionals, we can't continue to keep making the mistakes that we have been making.
Funding to unlock the secrets of how to restore diversity of this ecosystem we carry should be increased a thousand percent, it's that critical for restoring health, worldwide. And for God's sake we have to stop the barbaric practice of feeding antibiotics to our livestock as growth enhancers.