Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues (Paperback)
“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
Renowned microbiologist 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.
“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
About the Author
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.
“The weight of evidence behind Dr. Blaser's cautions about antibiotics is overwhelming.” —The New York Times
“Missing Microbes presents a surprisingly clear perspective on a complex problem.” —The 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
“Blaser presents a sensible plan for reclaiming our microbial balance and avoiding calamity both as a society . . . and on an individual level.” —Discover
“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
“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
“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
“Readable and challenging, Missing Microbes provides a stimulus with which to probe existing dogma.” —Science
“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
“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