Why The Overuse of Antibiotics May Be Linked To Asthma And Obesity

A pharmacy technician counts out a prescription of antibiotic pills August 7, 2007 in Miami, Florida.  - Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A pharmacy technician counts out a prescription of antibiotic pills August 7, 2007 in Miami, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Why The Overuse of Antibiotics May Be Linked To Asthma And Obesity

Why the overuse of antibiotics may be linked to asthma and obesity.

Researchers say the overuse of antibiotics is disturbing the natural balance of bacteria in our bodies. Why some diseases, including obesity and asthma, may be on the rise because we are killing off beneficial microbes.

Medical researchers are worried that the overuse of antibiotics has disturbed the natural balance of bacteria in our bodies. A discussion of the new studies indicating that diseases, including obesity and asthma, may be on the rise because we have upset the delicate equilibrium of microbes.

The development of antibiotics in the 1940s ushered in a golden age of medicine. Bacterial infections and illnesses that were commonly fatal became treatable. But researchers now say the overuse of antibiotics has disturbed the natural balance of beneficial bacteria in our bodies. New studies indicate that some diseases - including obesity, childhood diabetes and asthma - may be on the rise because we have upset the delicate equilibrium of microbes in our gut and on our skin. In the next hour, Diane Rehm talks with two leading medical experts about this new research.

Guests

Dr. Anthony Fauci

director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Martin Blaser

director, Human Microbiome Program at NYU. He is author of the book, "Missing Microbes: How The Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling Our Modern Plagues." He is the former chair of medicine at NYU and president of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct and Terms of Use before posting your comments.

Our address has changed!

The Diane Rehm Show is produced by member-supported WAMU 88.5 in Washington DC.