Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Add prostate enlargement to the list of conditions prevented by a daily dose of aspirin -- or ASA

Score one more useful useful medical application for cheap, readily available aspirin, notes Canada's Globe & Mail:
Taking an Aspirin each day may help prevent an enlarged prostate, a common condition in aging males that makes it difficult to urinate. As a result of research published today one more condition could be added to a long list of diseases that the cheap, over-the-counter pill can help in terms, for example, of reducing the risk of developing heart disease, cancer and dementia.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., say they have seen a "surprisingly strong level of association" between men who take a daily dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -- which include ASA and ibuprofen -- and the prevention of an enlarged prostate gland, which often results in urinary symptoms.
So, what's the "ASA" stuff? Is that another drug? No, as Wikipedia notes, in countries like Canada where Aspirin is still trademarked, ASA stands for the generic name.
The brand name Aspirin was coined by the Bayer company of Germany. In some countries the name is used as a generic term for the drug rather than the manufacturer's trademark. In countries in which Aspirin remains a trademark, the initialism ASA (for acetylsalicylic acid) is used as a generic term (ASS in German-language countries, for Acetylsalicylsäure; AAS in Spanish- and Portuguese-language countries, for ácido acetilsalicílico and in French-language countries, for acide acétylsalicylique).

The name "aspirin" is composed of a- (from the acetyl group) -spir- (from the spiraea flower) and -in (a common ending for drugs at the time). It has also been known that the name originated by another means. "As" referring to AcetylSalicylic and "pir" in reference to one of the scientists who was able to isolate it in crystalline form, Raffaele Piria. Finally "in" due to the same reasons as stated above.

On March 6, 1899 Bayer registered it as a trademark. However, the German company lost the right to use the trademark in many countries as the Allies seized and resold its foreign assets after World War I. The right to use "Aspirin" in the United States (along with all other Bayer trademarks) was purchased from the U.S. government by Sterling Drug in 1918. Even before the patent for the drug expired in 1917, Bayer had been unable to stop competitors from copying the formula and using the name elsewhere, and so, with a flooded market, the public was unable to recognize "Aspirin" as coming from only one manufacturer. Sterling was subsequently unable to prevent "Aspirin" from being ruled a genericized trademark in a U.S. federal court in 1921. Sterling was ultimately acquired by Bayer in 1994, but this did not restore the U.S. trademark. Other countries (such as Canada and many countries in Europe) still consider "Aspirin" a protected trademark.
In this globalized world, it's so important to keep up with the latest trademark information. Just thought you'd like to know. That's why we're here.

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