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CommonHealth: Antibiotics And Rising Illnesses08:59
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Microbiologist Tatiana Travis reads a panel to check on a bacterium's resistance to an antibiotic at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. (David Goldman/AP)
Microbiologist Tatiana Travis reads a panel to check on a bacterium's resistance to an antibiotic at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. (David Goldman/AP)
This article is more than 6 years old.

Ever since the discovery of penicillin almost 90 years ago, antibiotics have been a kind of wonder drug, giving humanity the upper hand in the endless war against deadly bacteria.

But lately, medical science has been opening its eyes to the hidden costs of antibiotic overuse.

There are those drug-resistant super bugs to worry about, but antibiotic overuse could play a role in the rise of major health problems such as asthma, allergies and obesity because of the drugs' effects on the human microbiome.

Guest

Carey Goldberg, co-host of WBUR's CommonHealth blog. She tweets at @commonhealth.

Dr. Martin Blaser, M.D., director of the Human Microbiome Program at New York University and author of "Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling Our Modern Plagues."

More

CommonHealth: ‘Missing Microbes’: How Hard Should You Resist Antibiotics? And Why

  • "Because everyone has thought that antibiotics are ‘free,’ there has been a tendency by both doctors and parents to over-prescribe them and to over-want them."

This segment aired on May 19, 2014.

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