Antibiotic Use and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Harvard Club in New York City
Harvard Club in New York City
A couple of days ago I attended an interdisciplinary brainstorming workshop sponsored by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCFA) in New York City which began at the storied Harvard Club of New York and went on in a nearby hotel. Experts from widely different disciplines from environmental sciences, microbiology, neuroscience and gastroenterology pondered for 9 hours over the best strategies to more effectively treat and prevent the devastating chronic inflammatory diseases of the gut, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Dr. Martin Blaser speaking at the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (CCFA)  Workshop.
Dr. Martin Blaser speaking at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCFA) Workshop.
Dr. Martin Blaser best selling author of Missing Microbes and preeminent authority on the negative impact of antibiotic use on the gut microbiome and on the growing prevalence of chronic diseases such as obesity and chronic gut inflammation presented some amazing statistics about the excessive (and largely unnecessary) use of antibiotics:

  • >73 billion doses of antibiotics worldwide each year!
  • 258 million courses in the US in 2010, amounting to 833 courses per 1000 people!
  • For children alone: 2.7 courses by age 2; 10.9 by age 10!

Interdisciplinary brainstorming workshop sponsored by the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation (CCFA) in New York City.
Interdisciplinary brainstorming workshop sponsored by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCFA) in New York City.
There is growing evidence that this stunning numbers play a role in the worldwide epidemic of obesity and the rise in inflammatory bowel syndromes. Time to end the massive, unnecessary assault on one of our least understood, but essential component of our health!

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