This program was originally broadcast in April of 2015.
Antibiotics are wonder drugs that can thwart disease and save lives. But they also have the potential to trigger new health problems when used indiscriminately, according to medical doctor and microbiologist Martin J. Blaser.
In his book, “Missing Microbes, How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling Our Modern Plagues,” Dr. Blaser offers a cautionary look at these powerful drugs and some of their unintended consequences. The two-edged nature of antibiotics is tied to the way they work, he explains. Antibiotics don’t just kill the “bad” bacteria that are making us sick; they also can destroy the “good” bacteria that help protect us from disease.
Dr. Blaser is the director of the Human Microbiome Program at New York University and a professor of microbiology. He has served as the chair of medicine at NYU’s School of Medicine and as president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and he has had major advisory roles at the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Blaser’s work has been featured in many publications including The New Yorker, The Economist, The New York Times, and he has appeared on CNN, the BBC, NPR and many other media outlets.