Historical Asthma Tidbits
It was Hippocrates (460-357 BC), the Greek physician, who first described asthma and its resulting "spasms". Galen (130-201 BC), a Greco-Roman doctor, discovered that asthma was due to bronchial obstruction. He treated it with owl's blood in wine.
The term asthma comes from the ancient Greek word for panting or gasping.
Camel and crocodile droppings were the asthma treatments of choice in Ancient Egypt.
The ancient Chinese used ephedrine to ease the symptoms of asthma thousands of years before Western physicians introduced it as a treatment.
Italian physician Bernardino Ramazzini described a link between his patient's asthma and their jobs as far back as the early 1900s.
Rene Laennec invented the stethoscope, basically a rolled up piece of paper, to place his ear on his female patient's naked chest.
Until the late 1800s, the most popular method of delivering asthma medication into the lungs was smoke.
In 1864, Dr.Henry Hyde Salter identified animal dander as an asthma trigger.
The secret ingredients of the popular 19th century asthma cures were usually alcohol, cocaine or morphine. In the late 1800s, atropine derived from the deadly nightshade plant was added to cigarettes to help treat asthma.
In 1901, a Japanese scientist, Jokici Takamine, purifies adrenaline, found in the suprarenal glands of sheep (discovered in 1898) and develops the first effective bronchodilator.
In the 1960s, asthma researchers discovered that asthma is an inflammatory disease, not just constriction of the airways, and that asthma sufferers have a sensitive immune system which reacts to airborne allergens. The first inhaled anti-inflammatory medication is born.
In 1972, inhaled corticosteroids hit the market.
These facts are taken from the article Asthma Then and Now by Jackie Rosenheck.
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