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Missing Microbes: How Killing Bacteria Creates Modern Plagues [Paperback]

Martin Blaser
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Jun 2014

A clarion call to save humanity’s most essential fellow creatures – and our health

Far beneath our skin exists an unfathomable, ancient universe – an internal ecosystem that is critical to our health. Dr Martin Blaser invites us into the wilds of the human ‘microbiome’, unfurling its inner workings and evolution. For thousands of years, bacteria and human cells have co-existed in a relationship that has ensured the health and equilibrium of our body. But now, much like the natural world outside of us, our internal environment is being irrevocably destroyed. The culprit: some of our most revered medical advances – antibiotics – which appear to be linked to the epidemics of asthma, eczema, obesity, certain forms of cancer, and other diseases plaguing modern society.

In a book that stands as the Silent Spring of its day, Blaser sounds a provocative alarm that we ignore at our peril.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (2 Jun 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1780744412
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780744414
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A restless intellect... [Blaser] has devoted most of his working life to the study.' --The New Yorker 'I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this book to your own health, to the health of your children and grandchildren and to the health of our society. Missing Microbes is truly a must read.' --Arthur Agatston, author of New York Times Bestselling The South Beach Diet '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, bestselling author of Cutting for Stone

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of this book to your own health, to the health of your children and grandchildren and to the health of our society. Missing Microbes is truly a must read. --Arthur Agatston, author of New York Times Bestselling The South Beach Diet

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, bestselling author of Cutting for Stone

‘Fascinating and passionate’ Bookseller

'I have often wondered why kids today seem to have such a high incidence of asthma, ear infections, allergies, reflux oesophagitis and so many other conditions that I rarely saw growing up. This mystery has been solved by the pioneering work of Dr Martin Blaser and is communicated brilliantly in Missing Microbes. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of this book to your own health, to the health of your children and grandchildren and to the health of our society. Missing Microbes is truly a must read.' Arthur Agatston, New York Times bestselling 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 Martin 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, Pulitzer prize-winning author of Polio

'Why are you fat, why does your son has asthma, and why is your thireen-year-old daughter six feet tall? Martin Blaser says our 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

'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, bestselling author of Cutting for Stone

'A restless intellect... [Blaser] has devoted most of his working life to the study.' The New Yorker

About the Author

Martin J. Blaser MD has studied the role of bacteria in human disease for more than thirty years. He is the director of the Human Microbiome Program at New York University, served as the chair of medicine at NYU and as the president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and has had major advisory roles at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. He cofounded the Bellevue Literary Review and his work has been written about in publications that include The New Yorker, Nature, The New York Times, The Economist, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. His more than one hundred media appearances include the BBC, CNN, NPR, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and The O’Reilly Factor. He lives in New York City.


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating! 5 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading a review in the daily mail and was hooked straight away and devoured the books within days. I'm not a microbiologist but as a member of Compassion in World Farming I have an interest in the link between antibiotic resistance and antibiotic use in factory farming.

Dr. Blaser gives a well balanced view of antibiotics and weighs up the pros and cons. After all his aunts would still be alive had they been given antibiotics when they were ill.

The book is not just about antibiotic resistance and the consequences, such as having your leg amputated instead of having a convenient course of antibiotics. It opens up a whole world of problems that come with fiddling with microbes.

For example, when you give chickens antibiotics they grow faster. This means a farmer can sell a fat chicken a few weeks earlier which means profit, big profit! Dr. Blaser argues that the same is happening with humans. Most children will have had a few courses of antibiotics before they even become a teenager. The widespread use of antibiotics correlates well with the obesity epidemic. His theory is well supported with his mouse research, where he fed two groups of mice a normal diet, but one group with antibiotics and surprise surprise they became fat. The earlier in life he fed the mouse antibiotics the worse the problem seemed to get.

Quote from the daily mail:

"For example, milk and meat in America and Europe can legally have up to 100 micrograms per kilogram of tetracyclines - a broad-spectrum antibiotic also used in humans. This means that a child who drinks two cups of milk a day will ingest about 50 micrograms of tetracycline every day,' writes Dr Blaser.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept 17 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Compelling read. Interesting concept, though you can tell he's put a lot of faith in his pet organism (which, if you've spent your life researching it, is understandable). Doesn't fall into the trap of a memoir masqurading as pop sci.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 27 Aug 2014
Format:Paperback
Great book. Brings together the results of lots of work and studies in a really enjoyable and eye-opening read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 15 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
After a couple of rounds of antibiotics left me with a new set of allergies 4 years ago (dust mites, hay fever) as well as persistent but elusive stomach issues, I've never really had any solid answers from doctors as to what was going wrong or why. This book offers a really credible theory on what may have changed in my body as a result of those antibiotics.
PARENTS SHOULD READ THIS and try to avoid their kids going to the road I've been on.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Annoyingly flawed but important book. 27 July 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The basic premise behind the book is valid, correct, important, and covered in good detail with some interesting angles.
However, it was also quite painful and difficult to read in places, for someone who is already up to speed holistically health speaking on this and related subjects.

The author’s one-dimensional driving fear and passion behind highlighting the dangers of global overuse of anti-biotics, doesnt seemingly extend to many related subjects , like vaccination, which hes lists and exemplifies as a useful and harmless health intervention in various chapters. The irony is excruciating, that someone who has gone to the trouble of writing a book, rightfully detailing the harm to the human microbiome of anti-biotics hasnt apparantly considered that vaccination is virtually a parallel and related practise of immense stupidy and counter-productivity for the well-being of humans and their bacteria. Neither does he offer much in the way of hope or answers to the microbiome defiency. I recognise that he is not a nutritionist or cultured food expert, but his take on probiotics is embarrasingly stupid, wrting them off as largely placebos, which havent been properly tested because it suits the manufacturers not to. Indeed, pasteurisation is given as another example of a modern panacea, not recognising that pasteurised milk products have ZERO beneficial probiotics or enzymes; exactly the thing he is is argueing we all desperately need.

Some credit is restored by the authors respectable coverage of the C-section problem, which is another damaging microbiome bad practise, although again I wish there was more detail in terms of protocols for what to do if you have to have an emergency C-section and want to mitigate the effects.
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