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Salve for the Lungs: Aspirin might prevent asthma

Regular use of aspirin may prevent healthy adults from developing asthma, according to a 5-year study of male doctors.

Inflammation in the lungs characterizes asthma. During an attack, inflamed airways constrict, obstructing air flow. The disease affects about 5 percent of men and more than 8 percent of women and children. It most frequently develops during childhood, and some kids outgrow it.

For the current study, epidemiologist Tobias Kurth of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and his colleagues analyzed data on some 22,000 male physicians who had participated in a study between 1982 and 1988. Although the original trial was focused on heart disease, its records contained information on asthma.

None of the participants initially had asthma. Half of them received placebos during the study, while the others took 325 milligrams of aspirin every other day.

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