Fwd: Framingham Celebrates 50 Years
judydoherty at ibm.net
Thu Oct 22 04:15:26 PDT 1998
I thought this might be of interest to you.
>The following is a feature piece written for an internal NIH newsletter.
However we feel it
>will be of interest to many of you. This writer having been at the
ceremony found it to be
>most moving and memorable, and seeing some of the people behind the data
>realize just how special---and unique---Framingham is.
>NHLBI'S FRAMINGHAM HEART STUDY CELEBRATES 50 YEARS
> The autumn afternoon was stiflingly hot and the
>Memorial Building in Framingham, MA, was packed. But the thousands
>didn't mind. They'd come to celebrate an extraordinary anniversary--the
50th year of the
>Framingham Heart Study (FHS), the longest running epidemiological study in
> The attendees--who included U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David
Satcher, National Heart,
>Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Director Dr. Claude Lenfant, past FHS
directors and the
>current director, Congressmen, State Representatives, TV journalist Dr.
>and more than 1,500 FHS staff and participants--had a lot to celebrate.
Since its start in
>1948, the FHS has saved and improved countless lives in the United States
> The town of Framingham is 18 miles west of Boston. The study,
part of the NHLBI,
>began with 5,209 healthy Framingham residents, aged 30-60--about 20
percent of the
>town's population--and grew to include 5,124 of their children (and their
spouses) in an
>Offspring Study. More recently, 500 members of Framingham's minority
>recruited to form the Omni Study.
> FHS's many achievements include discoveries about the relations
>factors and cardiovascular disease (CVD). The FHS helped make Americans
aware of the
>health dangers of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical
inactivity, and smoking.
>The study also has published findings on such topics as psychosocial
factors and heart
>disease, diabetes, obesity, and dementia.
> As U.S. Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA) told the crowd,
>scientific papers produced by Framingham have become the holy book" of
>findings have "moved America toward prevention," he added, "giving the
>people can control their own destiny."
> NHLBI Director Dr. Lenfant thanked the participants for their
>enormous contributions to the study and to medical knowledge. The study
could not have
>succeeded without the commitment of the people of Framingham."
> Lenfant's thanks were echoed throughout the afternoon. Dr. Aram
>of Boston University's School of Medicine, who has used Framingham data in
>said, "Thank you for all you have done for cardiology, medicine, and all
the people in the
> Surgeon General Satcher, who gave the afternoon's keynote address,
>the Framingham participants for their "commitment, dedication, and
>Satcher said he'd asked himself what makes FHS so special and came up with
>factors: The study is scientifically rigorous, longitudinal, community-
>and has always involved men and women, and most of all has mutual trust
>participants and staff. "The issue of trust and its development is a real
>said. "And that's true whether about a study or any kind of medical care
in the United
> He said Framingham changed how people look at health and disease.
"Before, a lot
>of people, especially when it came to cardiovascular diseases, thought it
was a matter of
>luck or fortune. Framingham shows that it's not just that but how people
>including the dangers posed by risk factors.
> He added that "Framingham shows us that just as we use the public
>approach in infectious diseases, we also can intervene with chronic
> He stressed that prevention through public education has to become
a way of life in
>America. "Too few physicians are putting prevention into practice," he
said and called for
>a worldwide effort to promote healthy lifestyles.
> Current FHS Director Dr. Daniel Levy called his staff the "unsung
heroes" of the
>Framingham story. "You and the ordinary citizens of Framingham have
>understanding of coronary heart disease."
> Levy also pledged that the Framingham story had only begun.
"Today and in future
>years, Framingham will continue to have a great impact on many lives. We
and you are not
> He said studies under way cover such topics as early
identification of CVD in those
>still free of symptoms, investigations of the genetic causes of CVD,
>osteoporosis, and more research on racial and ethnic differences in risk
> The afternoon also brought a message of congratulations from
>But mostly, the afternoon was a demonstration of the bond that exists
>participants and staff, who took time before and after the formal
presentations to warmly
>thank each other.
> Participant spokesperson Jay Lander, a member of the Offspring
>how many felt about being part of FHS. "We go through life, most of us,"
he said, "knowing
>only the effect we have on the people around us...Only a small percentage
of people get to
>make a permanent contribution to humanity."
> He added, "But this study has given each of us in Framingham some
small role in
>producing a lasting achievement," and "as long as the planet is inhabited,
>of Framingham to the quality of that life will be remembered."
Communicating Food for Health Newsletter
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email: judydoherty at ibm.net
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