Our bodies are entire ecosystems, like woodlands or jungle. We are inhabited by a diversity of microbes, our cells are vastly outnumbered by bacteria cells. This is not a bad thing; these guests in taking care of their own business also work for our good. We cannot make vital vitamin B ourselves but a gut bacteria does this for us. 'Our' bacteria form another line of defence against would-be invading pathogens.
Untargeted use of antibiotics is similar to clear-felling a forest. In some cases it causes long term imbalances in our human ecosystems. We experience this in many ways with diseases and conditions that are common now but hardly existed 100 years ago. Hay-fever, acne, irritable bowel and even obesity and autism could be due to one or more species of bacteria spiralling out of proportion.
This is accessible medial science at its best with lively case histories and accounts of discoveries that changed and improved human health.
Author : Collen, Alanna
Reviewed by Christine, Takapuna Library
Christine O has worked in North Shore libraries for over 20 years. She likes her fiction to be credible and her nonfiction to be accessible.