Good Germs, Bad Germs

Good Germs, Bad Germs

Health and Survival in A Bacterial World

Book - 2007
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Making Peace with Microbes Public sanitation and antibiotic drugs have brought about historic increases in the human life span; they have also unintentionally produced new health crises by disrupting the intimate, age-old balance between humans and the microorganisms that inhabit our bodies and our environment. As a result, antibiotic resistance now ranks among the gravest medical problems of modern times. Good Germs, Bad Germs addresses not only this issue but also what has become known as the hygiene hypothesis-- an argument that links the over-sanitation of modern life to now-epidemic increases in immune and other disorders. In telling the story of what went terribly wrong in our war on germs, Jessica Snyder Sachs explores our emerging understanding of the symbiotic relationship between the human body and its resident microbes--which outnumber its human cells by a factor of nine to one The book also offers a hopeful look into a future in which antibiotics will be designed and used more wisely, and beyond that, to a day when we may replace antibacterial drugs and cleansers with bacterial ones--each custom-designed for maximum health benefits.
Publisher: New York : Hill and Wang, 2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780809050635
0809050633
Branch Call Number: 616 .9041 SAC
Characteristics: x, 290 p. :,ill. ;,24 cm

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nftaussig Jul 17, 2013

In the past, mathematicians distinguished between causation and correlation by saying that there are a lot of sick people in hospitals, but hospitals do not make you sick. The second part of that statement is no longer true. As Jessica Snyder Sachs points out in her excellent book Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World, nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections now kill more Americans than car accidents and homicides combined. The principal cause of these deadly nosocomial infections is anti-biotic resistant bacteria. In her well-researched account, Snyder Sachs explains how the overuse of anti-biotics in medicine and the raising of livestock selected for the evolution of anti-biotic resistance. She also details the horrific consequences of this resistance, from the increasing prevalence of allergies in the industrialized world to nosocomial infections. As Snyder Sachs explains, humans (and other animals) live in a symbiotic relationship with our microflora, a relationship that has been disrupted by full-spectrum anti-biotics that kill not just the harmful bacteria that cause infection but also the helpful bacteria that facilitate the digestion of our food and keep those harmful bacteria in check. She also explains how maintaining a healthy ecosystem of microflora, particularly in the colon, can keep allergens, auto-immune disorders, and bacterial infections in check and the research into how to control infections without producing still more drug resistance. Her account is well worth the effort it takes to read this book, which is accessible to the educated lay reader.

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nftaussig Jul 17, 2013

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