Mark Jackson, Professor of the History of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Medical History at the University of Exeter, contributed a volume on asthma for Oxford University Press’s series Biographies of Disease. Asthma and allergies, as you may know, have been on a progressive trend afflicting more and more people since the beginning of the 20th century. Knowing this I was interested to see what asthma was like in the ancient, medieval, and early modern periods of history. In addition, I wanted to know the latest theories explaining this increasing trend. Jackson’s research delivers a concise history of the disease starting with the ancient world’s broad understanding of asthma as any breathing disorder, examples of early sufferers, and how early physicians explained and treated the disease. Jackson, for the late modern period, describes the increasing rates and morbidity statistics for asthma, the development and market for asthma drugs, and the possibility that increasing asthma cases are due to changes in the environment. Recommended for asthma sufferers and readers interested in the history of medicine.
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