Missing Microbes How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 4/8/2014
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
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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.

Author Biography

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.

Table of Contents

1. Modern Plagues          1

2. Our Microbial Planet          12

3. The Human Microbiome          22

4. The Rise of Pathogens          40

5. The Wonder Drugs          50

6. The Overuse of Antibiotics          64

7. The Modern Farmer          79

8. Mother and Child          87

9. A Forgotten World          104

10. Heartburn          123

11. Trouble Breathing          130

12. Taller          144

13. ... and Fatter          152

14. Modern Plagues Revisited          167

15. Antibiotic Winter          185

16. Solutions          199

Epilogue          218

Notes          221

Acknowledgments          257

Index          261

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