Friday, October 04, 2013


Happy birthday Framingham Health Study.

The Framingham health Study turns 65 on the 11th Oct 2013. It saw its first patient on the 11th Oct 1948.
It was started in a way, as a response to the cardiac health of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was reported to have suffered from hypertension, heart failure and stroke. One report said that he was reported to have a BP of 300/190 mmHg and suffered a stroke ( cerebral hemorrhage ). His usual BP was reported to be around 180/100 mmHg. In 1932, this was considered normal for a person of his age. Following his death, President Truman signed the National Heart Act in 1948, to initiate the Framingham Heart Study project in the town on Framingham, Massachusetts, with an annual budget of USD 500,000.
The objectives of the Framingham study was to study the risk factors for Cardiovascular disease and to follow it over time to see its significance. The original cohort was a size of 5,200 subjects.These people were studied in detail and every two years were asked to return for follow-up checks. By now after 65 years they have studied in detail 3 generations.
It is true that from Framingham, we understood coronary risk factors much better and also understood their significance. Framingham had made an invaluable contribution to our understanding of coronary artery disease. We now also have the Framingham risk score, which allows us to predict the risk of developing coronary artery disease in any adult population.
We were also able to observe over time, the effectiveness of risk factor interventions, their success and failures.
The other spin off from Framingham study is the understanding of hypertension. There was some emphasis on hypertension, maybe because of President Roosevelt's problem. we were able to study the relationship of hypertension and CAD.
The sad truth is that with the economic downturn in USA, the funding for this program has been educed by 40%. This will make it very difficult to continue their very good work.

Happy birthday Framingham Heart Study. Wishing you the very best in these very trying times.

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