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The Asthma Problem: A Critical Analysis

OSCAR SWINEFORD JR., M.D.
Ann Intern Med. 1962;57(1):144-163. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-57-1-144
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Asthma is a common disorder, steeped in antiquity. Reference to it has been found in the Book of Exodus and in the medical classics since the days of Homer, Herodotus, Hippocrates, Galen, Aretaeus, and Celsus (1). Few serious chronic disorders have plagued so many, so relentlessly, and for so long.

No one denies that asthma is prevalent. But no one knows its true incidence. Baldwin (2) quoted a 1935 estimate of 3,900,000 victims of hay fever and asthma. Van Arsdell (3) found that 4.7 per cent of 5,657 first-year students at the University of Washington had asthma, and an additional

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