I have been in a real non-fiction tear the last six weeks and my library has really fed my need for long-form journalism and personal essays. This has led me to read some rather sobering topics, such as the focus of this book review.
Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling Our Modern Plagues
Martin J. Blaser, MD
Henry Holt and Co, 2014
Read in December 2016
Dr. Blaser premise is that we are doing serious damage to our bodies by emphasizing the ideas that all bacteria is bad and must be eradicated. He begins by giving the reader a background on how bacteria and humans evolved together. It was dense with science, but still understandable to the average reader. This sets the stage for the exploration of how bacteria, sometimes specific species or strains, work with our bodies to mention normal bodily functions. Modern chronic illnesses are discussed in relation to missing important bacteria, such as obesity, asthma, Type 1 diabetes, ulcers, irritable bowl syndrome and Crohn's disease, and throat cancer. Experiments are described and explained to further his argument.
Dr. Blaser does not condemn anyone; he is really trying to educate the public to re-think their use of hand sanitizers and asking for antibiotics from doctors for the slightest sniffle. Also, he shows evidence that America's high rate of C-sections may be a factor in why more children are diagnose with food allergies and hay fever. Therapies, treatments, and possibly cures may come from finding which bacteria is missing and re-introducing them into the human body. It was thought-provoking and interesting while still being scientifically useful for medical professions.