Why You Should Be Worried About Changes
To The Microbiome

Dr. Martin Blaser discusses his hypothesis that the overuse of antibiotics, c-sections, and antiseptics has permanently changed our microbiome and are causing an increase in modern diseases such as obesity, juvenile diabetes, and asthma.

A critically important call to arms about the harmful effects of some of our most revered modern medical practices

Buy the Book

“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

Click here to read an excerpt from Missing Microbes

Welcome to 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 Cesarian sections, threatening the extinction of our irreplaceable microbes and leading to severe health consequences.

In Missing Microbes, Dr. Martin Blaser reaches back to the discovery of antibiotics, which ushered in a golden age of medicine, and then traces how our subsequent overuse of these seeming wonder drugs has left its mark on our systems, contributing to the rise of what Blaser calls our modern plagues: obesity, asthma, allergies, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. Blaser’s studies suggest antibiotic use during early childhood poses the greatest risk to long-term health, and, alarmingly, American children receive on average seventeen courses of antibiotics before they are twenty years old. At the same time, C-sections deprive babies of important contact with their mothers’ microbiomes. 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.

About Dr. Martin Blaser

Dr. Martin Blaser, author of Missing Microbes

© Troi Santos, NYULMC

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.

Media

  • Dr. Martin Blaser interviewed on The Daily Show.

  • Dr. Martin Blaser discusses how antibiotics make you gain weight on The Dr. Oz Show.

  • Dr. Martin Blaser interviewed on The Leonard Lopate Show.

  • Fueling disease: The dangers of antibiotic overuse. (CBS This Morning)

  • Antibiotics overuse linked to weight gain, new book says.
    Dr. Martin Blaser interviewed on CBS This Morning.

  • The staff at Blaser Labs introduce their research on Microbes.

In the News

Salon - 4/28/2014
We Kill Germs at Our Peril
‘Missing Microbes’: How Antibiotics Can Do Harm

Salon - 4/27/2014
Gut check: Microbes in our stomachs may be making us miserable
New research suggests that certain kinds of stomach bacteria may be the source of our anxiety and depression

The Huffington Post - 4/24/2014
Trust Your Gut
Quick: What do you say when someone tells you that your entire body is covered in bacteria?

PBS Newshour - 4/23/2014
Can we save our body’s ecosystem from extinction?
The sheer amount of bacteria in the human body weighs three to four pounds combined, as much as the human brain.

Wired - 4/3/2014
Antibiotics Have Turned Our Bodies From Gardens Into Battlefields
An interview with Martin Blaser.

The New York Times - 3/8/2014
The Fat Drug
How humankind unwittingly joined an experiment on antibiotics and weight gain.

Q&A With Dr. Martin Blaser

 

Praise for Missing Microbes

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

“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

“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

“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

Buy the Book

Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD  Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD  Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD  Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD

Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD
Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD  Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD  Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD   Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues by Martin J. Blaser, MD