Although antibiotics are probably as old as life itself, over the last 75 years we have been using antibiotics and related antibacterials on a worldwide scale approaching and possibly exceeding one million tons a year. Such use – in the clinic, the farm, the ranch, fisheries, and the home – is having an enormous impact on our ecosystems. One manifestation of the ecological consequences has been the progressive rise in antibiotic resistance, which is increasing geometrically in both scale and diversity. Another manifestation has been the damage to our internal ecosystems, most importantly the human microbiome. We are beginning to learn of the consequences in terms of disease, including those that have been epidemic during this time period – obesity, asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, among others. We need to recognize and interdict these issues which often begin in early life, because unless we do, the problems will predictably grow. Prof. Blaser described his research and potential solutions that are yet to be developed.
- Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues, Martin J. Blaser (New York: Henry Holt, 2014)
- Review: "Drugs: Gut Response," Maryn McKenna, Nature (April 10, 2014)
- Review: "Antibiotics and Collateral Damage," Alison E. Mather, Science Magazine (May 2, 2014)
- Review: "Bacteria Make Us Human," Mohsin Ali, The Lancet (May 2, 2015)
- Interview: "Modern Medicine May Not be Doing your Microbiome any Favors," Terry Gross, Fresh Air (April 14, 2014)
- Comment: The Theory of Disappearing Microbiota and the Epidemics of Chronic Diseases, Martin J. Blaser, Nature (July 27, 2017)
- Report: Combating Antimicrobial Resistance: A One Health Approach to a Global Threat, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (Dec. 8, 2017)
- The Antimicrobial Stewardship Project of CIDRAP (the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy), a Consortium member, is a comprehensive repository of accurate, current reporting on this and related topics. Visit their website here.
Provided by the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences in collaboration with the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) and Microbiota Therapeutics Program