An understanding of the historical paths that have lead to our current state of knowledge in the field of platelet studies can be both illuminating and inspiring. Considering that the existence and function of platelets were initially described just barely over 100 years ago it is exciting to recognize how far our knowledge has advanced in such a relatively short period of time. Within 20 years of Giulio Bizzozero's definitive description of blood platelets investigators began to develop tests that could quantitate the relationship between platelets, hemostasis and bleeding, and these tests have continued to be refined ever since. At the same time, and well before the role of platelets and antiplatelet agents in cardiovascular disease was appreciated, several clinicians started using aspirin for the prevention of heart attacks. All three of these paths of research - platelet biology, platelet function testing and antiplatelet therapies - all converge on what is arguably one of the most important questions in clinical medicine today: how to best prevent arterial thrombosis. For the current and future pioneers of platelet research an understanding of how we got to where we are today will hopefully allow for a clearer and inspired vision of where we will go next.
Keywords: Platelet, aggregometry, aspirin, history, bleeding time, platelet adhesiveness, light transmittance aggregometry, salicyclates, early medical therapy
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