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How prevalent is aspirin induced asthma?
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  1. A J Knox
  1. University Medicine, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor A J Knox, Division of Respiratory Medicine, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK;
    alan.knox{at}nottingham.ac.uk

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There is still much to be learned about the genetics and pathogenesis of aspirin induced asthma and the role of prostaglandins and leukotrienes in airways diseases.

The bark of the white willow Salix alba has been used in medicine for thousands of years and was described by Hippocrates in 400BC and by Dioscarides, a Greek surgeon to the Roman Army, in AD70. In the 1700s Edward Stone, the vicar of Chipping Norton, wrote that 20 grains of powered willow bark in a dram of water every 4 hours was an excellent cure for “agues”. It was only in 1829 that Leroux discovered that salicin was the active ingredient and in 1859 that Kolbe succeeded in the chemical manufacture of salicylic acid. Felix Hoffmann, a German chemist, added an acetyl group to the molecule in 1897 in an effort to increase its stability and to provide a more effective and safe treatment for his father who was crippled by rheumatism. Aspirin was born. Subsequently, benefits of aspirin have been reported in a …

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