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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mario Mosunjac, M.D(Emory University School of Medicine)
Description: "This second volume in a series of forensic pathology books represents a multifaceted and interdisciplinary review of specific and unusual entities encountered in the daily practice of forensic medicine. "
Purpose: "The purpose is to serve as supplemental reading in field in forensic pathology. Chapters in this book reflect diverse topics in the day-to-day practice of the forensic pathologist, and are mostly independent, in-depth analyses of very specific diseases and unusual human behavior. A comprehensive approach to relatively obscure entities in the field is supported by an extensive literature review. Series of books such as this one represent an excellent and original idea to cover some of forensic pathology issues often overlooked in classic textbooks. "
Audience: "The book is primarily intended to serve as a practical guide to forensic and hospital-based autopsy pathologists, residents in forensic and pathology training, medical students and those in related fields in the university setting interested in research and multidisciplinary collaboration. Residents in pathology and forensic pathology and pathologists will appreciate the plethora of gross images of the external injuries inflicted by specific objects seldom seen in other major forensic pathology books. In addition, there are innumerable tables in chapters such as "Obesity Epidemic in the United States," emphasizing broader epidemiological aspects of this important topic. The book can also serve as an important guide to residents in their preparation for weekly autopsy conferences, by summarizing mechanisms and causes of sudden and unexpected death associated with some rare entities. Investigators, anthropologists, forensic odontologists and those in toxicology divisions in large state medical examiner offices in the U.S. will find chapters such as practical toxicology, arthropods and corpses very useful in preparation for scene investigation and case analysis. "
Features: "The review is divided into 13 independent chapters. The first chapter describes complex metabolic stages in the pathogenesis of cachexia and associated clinical and gross autopsy findings. This chapter, supported by numerous tables, photos of the scene of death, the author's personal case material and cases reported in literature, represents an important attempt to create a uniform approach to investigation of life-threatening conditions such as starvation. In the second chapter, the author describes specific blunt force injuries of the skull inflicted by blows with glass bottles. In doing so, Dr.Tsokos tries to establish more specific "pattern" injuries inflicted by such objects. The text is accompanied by a large number of gross autopsy images, with detailed explanations, reiterating some of the most common injury patterns. The importance of this approach is to separate other blunt force injuries mimicking lacerations inflicted by glass bottles. One of my favorite chapters is "Primary Cerebral Neoplasms as a Cause of Sudden, Unexpected Death." The author's summary of the most common primary brain neoplasms and mechanisms of sudden death with a short overview of tumor epidemiology correlates perfectly well in a number of cases and types of neoplasms in my own experience. The importance of this chapter is in proposing the guidelines and algorithms for cases of sudden death associated with brain tumors, especially in institutions in which a neuropathologist is not readily available for consultation. The fifth chapter helps us to understand types of asphyxial deaths in infants and early childhood. This topic is supported by a number of excellent scene photos, external and internal gross autopsy findings, and associated microscopic images of the lung tissues. In his final pages, the author describes in detail asphyxial deaths from mechanical suffocation such as overlaying and wedging, and difficulties in distinguishing these cases from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) fatalities. An overview of complex suicide cases emphasizes an important aspect of everyday practice, in which forensic pathologists should be able to differentiate these complex cases from homicides. The chapter on "Sudden, Unexpected Death Related to Viral Myocarditis" brings a new, refreshing, and the most extensive review of myocarditis. It contains numerous gross photos, conventional histopathology images, and a review of immunohistochemical ancillary techniques and molecular methods. The importance of this chapter is apparent from the review of classic viral pathogens, Dallas criteria of myocarditis, and pathogenic mechanisms of sudden death associated with viral myocarditis. An important discussion on tissue sampling and the significance of focal mononuclear infiltrate is also provided. The chapter on "Forensic Entomology, Arthropods and Corpses" is an extensive overview of entomology topics including historical perspective, scene investigation, estimation of time of death, collection of arthropods, and even DNA typing. The practical toxicology chapter is an outstanding review of illicit drugs and their metabolites, which emphasizes the significance of proper tissue and body fluids sampling. In these pages, one can encounter a variety of topics, from metabolism and detection of common intoxicants, to the more unusual "date rape" drugs and inhalants. The pitfalls of toxicology testing and interpretation are addressed as well as the need for close collaboration between the pathologist and the forensic toxicology laboratory. "Long-Term Effects of Anabolic-Androgenic-Steroid Abuse" is becoming more important not only in the sphere of professional athletics, but also among amateur athletes. In this chapter, the major pathological findings associated with sudden death in people abusing anabolics are discussed. These findings are supported with number of microscopic images of the affected organs. In addition, the last chapter describes in detail one of the "borderline" entities, autopsy findings of subendocardial hemorrhage. The significance of the fresh subendocardial hemorrhages often encountered in forensic and hospital-based autopsies is not clear and is often controversial. The author's brave attempt to summarize and propose mechanisms and disease processes associated with this morphological finding is supported with number of gross and microscopic images and a quite extensive literature review. "
Assessment: This book series represents an excellent resource and supplement to the major textbooks in forensic pathology, and can serve as a practical guide for forensic and autopsy pathologists. The individual chapters' approach to some of the controversial topics is extensive, interdisciplinary, and can be used as a source for additional reading and consultation for everyone involved in postmortem examination.