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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: David O. Staats, MD (University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center)
Description: This multiauthored book reviews blood and blood disorders in old age. It melds aging with blood disorders in an exceptionally thorough way.
Purpose: The purpose is to review how knowledge of aging and blood disorders combines to give a comprehensive look at hematology in old age. The book fulfills its goals handsomely.
Audience: The audience is clinicians who treat and evaluate blood disorders in older persons as well as researchers who look at blood, immune function, tumors, and the mysterious world of mesenchymal tissues of which blood is archetypal. The editors have gathered an international group of authors, all of them experts in the field.
Features: The first of the book's five sections is on epidemiology and gives a precis of aging. The second part discusses hematopoiesis and contains some of the most interesting chapters in the book. The third part covers the anemia of aging. The fourth part explores hematologic malignancies in old age. The fifth part on disorders of hemostasis in old age includes excellent chapters on antithrombotic therapy and the hypercoagulability observed in old age. There are superb color plates in the middle of the book and the chapters have some of the best illustrations and diagrams I've seen.
Assessment: This is a brilliant contribution to the field. The excellent organization of the book is matched by superb editing that provides an even tone of voice often lacking in multiauthored books. The information in these chapters will beguile you. In fact, the bone and bone marrow are more alike than different, as discussed in a superb chapter on the microenvironment of the bone marrow. The chapter on hematopoiesis shows how difficult it is to measure kidney function with age and therefore to gauge deficits in erythropoietin elaboration. The chapter on hemostasis explains why aging is a hypercoagulable state. This book deserves wide and thoughtful readership. It will stimulate researchers to look at the effects of exercise on blood. If exercise is both trophic for the bone and antiapoptotic, shouldn't exercise also be trophic for the erythron? This book will be the lodestone that directs future research in the hematology of old age.