International Health News




LAF Book Stroke is the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. Risk factors associated with stroke are uniformly on the increase. These include most notably hypertension and diabetes, due primarily to the growing epidemic of obesity.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can lead to pulmonary embolism. Its association with international jet travel has received recent notoriety.

Another risk factor, atrial fibrillation, present in nearly five million Americans, is encountered in about 15% of stroke victims. This figure increases with age.

Despite this, those at risk for stroke are not receiving the recommended anticoagulant therapy. This may be due in part to ignorance and in part to medico legal considerations. Unintended and sometimes unavoidable excessive anticoagulation can lead to a major internal bleed. In addition, some anticoagulant medications require regular monitoring via blood tests. Some can cross-react with numerous other medications. Diet and infection can have a dramatic impact on their efficacy.

Hans Larsen's new book: Thrombosis and Stroke Prevention carefully walks the concerned reader through this minefield of strokes, ischemic and hemorrhagic, and how best to avoid them. His well-researched tables comparing the risks and benefits of the various approaches to anticoagulation will not be found in the more traditional books on the topic. They are easily understood by the layman and provide the cold, hard numbers needed for making the difficult decisions involved in selecting the optimum stroke prevention protocol.

Hans Larsen studied with Henrik Dam, the Nobel Prize winning discoverer of vitamin K. Four of the 13 known blood coagulation factors are associated with vitamin K and Hans has well explained the intricacies of their actions as well as the actions of the components of platelet aggregation and the coagulation cascade. His easy style is especially suited to the difficult task of deciphering a topic as complex and tedious as blood coagulation. Like in his earlier book, Lone Atrial Fibrillation: Towards a Cure, his approach is comprehensive and unbiased. Recommendations are well reasoned, but at the end readers are left to draw their own now well- informed conclusions.

As the large cohort of baby boomers enters the ranks of seniordom, the topic of this book becomes more timely indeed.

Patrick Chambers MD
Torrance Memorial Medical Center
Torrance, CA
April 2004

Patrick Chambers received his baccalaureate degree from Princeton University in Mathematics in 1971 followed shortly thereafter by completion of medical studies at the University of California at Davis. He completed his specialty training in pathology at the Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center. After more than 25 years as a practicing pathologist and laboratory director at Torrance Memorial Medical Center he recently retired to Kailua, Hawaii, where plentiful sunlight and high vitamin D levels hopefully keep his prostate healthy and cancer free. In an annual review of 4000 American acute care hospitals Torrance Memorial was the only non-teaching hospital of any size to be named a Top 100 Hospital three years in a row (1993, 1994, 1995).


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