Framingham Heart Study (8/5/2011)

photo of Greater Framingham Community Church by dougtone

I was first introduced to the town of Framingham a couple of years ago when I was doing a project out in the community. Most of what I learned about the town was about the strong Brazilian immigrant population. As I was reading the data issue of GOOD magazine, I came across a piece about the importance of opting into medical records so that we can increase the amount of available data out there to improve health research. The article started out by mentioning the Framingham Heart Study which I had never heard of before and curious to learn more. What intrigued me was that researchers got a community to be studied over such a long period of time (currently in the third generation). The study focused on the causes of heart disease by monitoring a multitude of variables. The study began in 1948 with over 5000 residents signing up to have a thorough medical exam every two years. Can you imagine such a huge group getting recruited by neighbors calling each other up and going door to door? That's kinda awesome! The study still continues with the grandchildren of the original participants opting into the study as the third generation. A lot what we know now about heart disease is because of this study such as risk factors (smoking, diet, blood pressure, etc.). So should this convince you to check that box to have all your medical records become a digital database for future research? Maybe. Or maybe the next time you hear about new information about your health just think about ALL the people who were involved in helping you stay healthy :)