Missing Microbes and Asthma Link Say Multiple Studies – Martin J Blaser MD

Defeating Asthma Series uncovers New Hope for Asthma Management

In this third interview with Martin J Blaser MD, Director of the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and the Henry Rutgers Chair of the Human Microbiome and Professor of Medicine and Microbiology at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and the Author of the “Missing Microbes – How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling Our Modern Plagues.” we learn:

  • About the H. pylori and Asthma connection
  • Additional reserach looking into the connection between H. pylori and Asthma
  • Whether the Microbes can reintroduced
Video: Missing Microbes and Asthma Link Say Multiple Studies – Martin J Blaser MD

Asthma Foundation: Dr. Blaser, we’ve talked about the asthma connection and the H. pylori topic. Can you identify these missing microbes also with tests? 

Dr. Blaser: Yes. The paper with Jakob Stokholm in Nature Communications looked at this– We saw that there was a difference in the microbiome in the kids that were one year old. That was the age at which their microbiome made a difference, whether they’d have a risk of asthma or not. Then we asked, “Okay, what’s the difference in the specific microbes at age one between the positives and the negatives?” We identified about 20 microbes that were significantly different, mostly lost, mostly missing.

What was interesting is that a group from British Columbia, led by Dr. Brett Finlay and colleagues had published about this also. They had found, I think, four or five organisms and we matched on four of the five. Again, two independent studies finding the same relationship makes it stronger

World Asthma Foundation: If I understand correctly, your research is determining whether or not you can repopulate the H. pylori. Is that independent of the intestinal microbes? 

Dr. Blaser: In theory, yes. What’s interesting is that people have been interested in microbes and asthma for quite some time, and most of the concentration was in the large intestine, in the colon. We were interested in the stomach first, but then we got more involved in the colon also. I think that both compartments in the body are important. Both of them are important. They’re both subject to this terrible pressure of the disappearance of microbes because of such things as antibiotics and cesarean sections and the like. They’re both. All of these microbes are potentially replaceable. That’s the hope.

World Asthma Foundation: Fantastic, that’s the hope.