University of Minnesota

Lars Werkö, MD

1918 — 2009

Lars Werkö was a Swedish pioneer in establishing active research in CVD epidemiology in his department in Gothenburg. He became disenchanted in later years.

Werkö graduated from the Medical School of the University of Stockholm in 1943 and trained in Internal Medicine at St. Erik´s Hospital in Stockholm, where his chief was Dr. Hilding Berglund. In the 1940s, Berglund sent Werkö to work with André Cournand and Dickinson W. Richards in New York City to bring the new technique of cardiac catheterization to Sweden. Werkö and his co-workers subsequently published widely on the pathophysiology of the circulation in different forms of heart disease.

In 1956 he was appointed Professor of Medicine at the University of Goteborg where he developed, with Gösta Tibblin and Lars Wilhelmsen, a major international center for research in cardiovascular disease epidemiology and prevention. After years of leadership in world cardiology and prevention researches, Werkö, even in retirement, led studies of the quality of medical care in Sweden.

In later years he became an outspoken critic of the diet-heart hypothesis and of multiple risk factor prevention strategy, because of what he termed the lack of consideration by epidemiology for “biological factors” in pathogenesis, as well as for its poor measures for diet and social and behavioral factors, and for its relative neglect of the role of tobacco. (KP / HB)


Kalevi Pyorala

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