The Framingham Heart Study is one of the most important epidemiological studies in the annals of American medicine. Its impact on the study of cardiovascular diseases is particularly important: Much of what is now common knowledge about heart disease, such as the effects of smoking, diet, exercise, and aspirin, can be traced back to the Framingham study. Most important, the study has played a key role in influencing physicians to place greater emphasis on preventing, detecting, and treating cardiovascular disease risk factors in their earliest stages.

In 1948, Framingham, a small town in eastern Massachusetts, was selected as the site of a long-term medical study of heart disease and stroke. The project was initiated under the direction of the National Heart Institute, now the National Heart, ...

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