PLEDGE NOW
Do Antibiotics Make Us Fat?

Antibiotics and obesity. Whether it’s possible that antibiotics plump up humans the same way they do animals, livestock. Plus, we check in on the third anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster.

 

Microbiologist Tatiana Travis reads a panel to check on a bacterium's resistance to an antibiotic in an antimicrobial resistance and characterization lab within the Infectious Disease Laboratory at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP)

Microbiologist Tatiana Travis reads a panel to check on a bacterium’s resistance to an antibiotic in an antimicrobial resistance and characterization lab within the Infectious Disease Laboratory at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, in Atlanta. (AP)

American farmers commonly feed their livestock grain laced with antibiotics because it makes bigger animals.  Heavier.  Fatter.  So what about the antibiotics we humans take – for the ear ache, the strep throat, the sinus infection.  Could those make us heavier?  Fatter?  No one argues that diet and exercise – or lack of it – come first.  But could antibiotics be a scale-tipping X-factor in American obesity?  This hour On Point:  we’re looking at antibiotics and obesity.  Plus, we’ll go to Japan to check in on the Fukushima nuclear power plant, three years after its tsunami disaster.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Pagan Kennedy, columnist for the New York Times and contributor to The New York Times Magazine. (@PaganKennedy)

Dr. Ilseung Cho, assistant professor of medicine and associate program director for the Division of Gastroenterology at the New York University School of Medicine.

Dr. James Levine, professor of medicine at Arizona State University, expert in obesity research. Co-director of the Mayo Clinic / A.S.U. Obesity Solutions Initiative.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: The Fat Drug — “In the last decade, however, scrutiny of antibiotics has increased. Overuse of the drugs has led to the rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria — salmonella in factory farms and staph infections in hospitals. Researchers have also begun to suspect that it may shed light on the obesity epidemic.”

Mother Jones: Can Antibiotics Make You Fat? –“Are we being exposed to tiny levels of antibiotics through residues in the meat we eat—and are they altering our gut flora? It turns out that the Food and Drug Administration maintains tolerance limits for antibiotic residue levels, above which meat isn’t supposed to be released to the public.”

Nature: Antibiotics in early life alter the murine colonic microbiome and adiposity — “Antibiotics administered in low doses have been widely used as growth promoters in the agricultural industry since the 1950s, yet the mechanisms for this effect are unclear. Because antimicrobial agents of different classes and varying activity are effective across several vertebrate species, we proposed that such subtherapeutic administration alters the population structure of the gut microbiome as well as its metabolic capabilities.”

Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Three Years Later

Antoni Slodkowski, politics and general news correspondent at Reuters. (@slodek)

Edwin Lyman, senior scientist of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. Co-author of “Fukushima: The Story of A Nuclear Disaster.”

Reuters: The children of Japan’s Fukushima battle an invisible enemy — “Though the strict safety limits for outdoor activity set after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in 2011 have now been eased, parental worries and ingrained habit mean many children still stay inside. And the impact, three years on, is now starting to show, with children experiencing falling strength, lack of coordination – some cannot even ride a bicycle – and emotional issues like shorter tempers, officials and educators say.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jul 2, 2015
This file image taken from a militant website associated with Islamic State extremists, posted Saturday, May 23, 2015, purports to show a suicide bomber, with the Arabic bar below reading: "Urgent: The heroic martyr Abu Amer al-Najdi, the attacker of the (Shiite) temple in Qatif", which the Islamic State group's radio station claimed responsibility for.  (AP)

A big, provocative look at the sophisticated online efforts of ISIS to recruit and lure Westerners to their cause.

Jul 2, 2015
In this file photo, Judy Blume attends LA Times Festival of Books, Saturday, April. 21, 2012, at the USC Campus in Los Angeles.  (AP)

Beloved children’s author Judy Blume is writing for adults again – on disaster. Judy Blume joins us.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jul 1, 2015
In this file photo, a statue stands at the entrance to the women-only Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y., Wednesday, March 28, 2012.  (AP)

Babies born in prison. The numbers are growing. What’s best for baby? We’ll take a closer look.

 
Jul 1, 2015
In this June 26, 2015, photo, President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. The Obama administration will propose requiring overtime pay for workers who earn nearly $1,000 per week, three individuals familiar with the plan said Monday, June 29. (AP)

Five million workers may qualify for overtime pay. We’ll look at the plan and the pushback.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Election 2016: Who Exactly Is Running For President?
Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015

Who is running for President, anyway? We attempt to help you figure it out.

More »
7 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: June 19, 2015
Friday, Jun 19, 2015

Why our broadcast changed in different markets this week, and a closer look at a puppet theatre vandalism in rural Norway. (Really).

More »
Comment
 
Quick Note On Rebroadcasting Today
Thursday, Jun 18, 2015

A quick note regarding today’s shifting schedule of broadcasts.

More »
2 Comments