Sometimes, old medical practices really are the best. While we may cringe at the thought of leeches draining our blood or maggots cleaning a wound - both practices are alive and well, by the way - it seems that another old favourite has suddenly re-emerged as the nearest thing to a panacea.
The humble aspirin, first sold by Bayer in 1899, is back in the spotlight after recent research published in The Lancet claimed that regular small doses reduce the risk of many cancers, by over 50 per cent in some cases. Initially a cure for headaches and minor aches, its medical qualities continue to pleasantly surprise. It has been widely accepted for some time now that aspirin, now a generic drug, can fight heart disease and diabetes.
Some scientists remain sceptical about hailing aspirin as a miracle drug, and we are constantly bombarded with news of potential cures that turn out to be nothing but quack conjecture.
It is equally encouraging and disturbing that, for all the giant leaps taken by the health-care industry and the billions upon billions of dollars spent on new medicines over the past half century, aspirin may remain the 21st century's greatest cure-all.