Sandra Blakeslee: Dirt is Good

Cover: Dirt is Good

Cover: Dirt is Good


Jack Gilbert, PhD, and Rob Knight, PhD,
with Sandra Blakeslee (NASW member)
St. Martin’s Press, June 6, 2017, $25.99
ISBN 978-1-250-13260-4 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-250-13262-8 (e-book)

Blakeslee reports:

The idea for this book stemmed from a phone interview with a scientist, Jack Gilbert. I was writing a piece for the New York Times on the role of vaginal seeding and C-section births (e.g. smearing vaginal fluids on the newborn to mimic what is missed in a surgical birth).

Sandra Blakeslee

Sandra Blakeslee

As Jack and I talked, he said that he and his colleague, Rob Knight — both superstars in microbiome research — are constantly bombarded with questions from parents after giving talks. Both have young children and can relate. So we contacted my agent, Jim Levine, and floated the idea of a book in a Q&A format for busy parents. Readers can look up specific topics covering pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and child rearing for quick, evidence-based answers.

Most people do not know that the human microbiome — the trillions of microbes that live in and on your body — assumes an adult pattern by age three. Thus zero to three is a critical period for the gut as well as the brain. Moreover, these early interactions fundamentally tutor the developing immune system. Perturbances such as over-use of antibiotics can set up a lifetime of chronic health problems.

The Q&A format made for a quick writing schedule — about five months total. It’s not an elegant format but we wanted to get the information to the parents of babies and toddlers who have no time to read a whole book. This sets our work apart from other books covering similar ground. We do not waste time getting to useful advice.

Contact info:

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Jun. 7, 2017

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