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

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

Martin J. Blaser

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1250069270

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


""Missing Microbes" presents a surprisingly clear perspective on a complex problem."--"The Philadelphia Inquirer "
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""In "Missing Microbes," 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.

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FORGOTTEN WORLD The continuing overuse of antibiotics in children and adults, changing birth practices, and the dosing of our farm animals with mountains of drugs inevitably have an effect on our bacteria, friend and foe alike. More than fifteen years ago, I began to think about what those effects might look like and to formulate the idea that the loss of our ancient, functionally conserved microbial inhabitants has led to the modern plagues I have mentioned: obesity, juvenile diabetes, asthma,

still see gastritis as a pathological condition. To them, a normal stomach should never show inflammation. The crux of the dilemma is simple: What is normal? When pathologists see a stomach mucosa loaded with lymphocytes and macrophages, they call it chronic gastritis. But this condition can also be defined as the physiological response to our indigenous organisms. Just as there are inflammatory cells in your colon and in your mouth interacting with your friendly bacteria, your stomach has

played football with heartburn as did baseball greats Jim Palmer and Nick Markakis. When singers choke up and have trouble performing, the problem often can be traced to discomfort in their esophagus. So what exactly is this part of human anatomy and what causes it to give so many people grief? The esophagus is a tube about eight inches long that connects your throat to your stomach. Just like the stomach, its entire length is lined with slippery mucus that helps food slide down. Every time you

making the bread that nourishes us, the alcohol we drink, to the modern drugs engineered by the biotech field. It is fair to assume that bacteria can do just about any chemical process that we might assign to them. In their endless variety are found untold capabilities. We just have to define the problem and go after the right microbes to solve it or we will need to reengineer them. But those exciting possibilities are subjects for another time. The story of microbes is a saga of limitless

fever is rare in children under three, and the incidence of strep throat is uncommon in this age group. Laboratory confirmation is essential in making a precise diagnosis because physicians often greatly overestimate the probability that GAS is the cause of sore throat. A test that is negative for GAS provides reassurance that the patient’s sore throat likely has a viral cause. While treatment early in the course leads to a more rapid clinical cure in patients with acute GAS pharyngitis and

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