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John Widdicombe’s contribution to respiratory physiology and cough: reminiscences

Kian Fan Chung1*, Jay A Nadel2 and Giovanni Fontana3

Author Affiliations

1 National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London & Biomedical Research Unit, Royal Brompton Hospital, Dovehouse St, London, SW3 6LY, UK

2 Cardiovascular Research Institute and Departments of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Physiology, and Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA & UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA

3 Department of Internal Medicine, University of Florence, Florence, Italy

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Cough 2013, 9:6  doi:10.1186/1745-9974-9-6

Published: 6 March 2013


John Widdicombe has made substantial contributions to respiratory physiology and to the field of cough particularly. He was one of the first to characterise Aδ-myelinated fibres in the airways that could mediate cough and increased breathing. Later on, he initiated the series of international London Cough Symposia that gathered researchers and clinicians on a two-yearly basis to discuss recent results and concepts regarding cough. John Widdicombe was interested in all aspects of cough from the definition to potential new antitussives. This article will focus on his contributions and on his generous personality through reminiscences from three friends.