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February 2, 1957


Author Affiliations

From the New York Hospital, New York 21.

JAMA. 1957;163(5):358-359. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970400030011

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The discovery and study of the substances that play a part in the coagulation of the blood have, as in many other areas in science, progressed in a rather strange and irregular manner. Workers in many laboratories have prepared or described the action of what they have considered to be new factors that contribute to this process, and unfortunately have given them names without knowledge or consideration of the work of others who preceded them. Some factors are now known by from 10 to 14 different names. As reports appear from various laboratories, the use of these terms is confusing to the experienced investigator. A scientific Tower of Babel has thus been erected. The situation appears discouraging, if not chaotic, to the physician who is not a specialist in this field, and even more so to the medical student.

While there is widespread agreement on the meaning of prothrombin, thrombin,

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