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Aspirin and asthma: barking up the right tree?
  1. Andrew A Clayton,
  2. Douglas L Forrester,
  3. Alan J Knox
  1. Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Centre for Respiratory Research, Nottingham City Hospital, Nottingham, UK
  1. Professor A J Knox, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Centre for Respiratory Research, Clinical Sciences Building, Nottingham City Hospital, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; alan.knox{at}

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According to World Health Organization estimates, 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. It is the most common chronic condition in childhood and continues to impose a high burden of morbidity and mortality in adulthood; over 250 000 people are thought to have died from asthma in 2005. In the UK 5.2 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma.

There has been an apparent increase in incidence over recent years, at least in children and adolescents. Data in adults are more sparse but suggest that incidence increases slightly with age, albeit to a level much lower than that in children.1 The aetiology of asthma at all ages is still not fully understood although environmental allergens, immunological and genetic factors are all known to contribute. In this issue of Thorax Kurth et al2 report interesting post hoc data from the Women’s Health Study which suggest that assignment of 100 mg aspirin on alternate days reduces the relative risk of newly reported diagnosis of asthma in otherwise healthy adult women (see page 514).

The first descriptions of aspirin-like medication come from the time of Hippocrates when …

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  • Competing interests: None.

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