William Einar MiallBMJ 2004; 329 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7460.295 (Published 29 July 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:295
Bill Miall was a pioneer in research on blood pressure, which culminated in the Medical Research Council's two hypertension trials. Born into a Quaker family he registered as a conscientious objector in 1939, joined the Friends Ambulance Unit, and served in Norway, Finland, Egypt, and Greece.
After qualifying at St Mary's Hospital Medical School in 1950 Bill became George Pickering's house physician. This was at a time of rapid developments in research on blood pressure. Pickering's view that pressure was characterised by a unimodal distribution determined by a variety of environmental and genetic characteristics was becoming accepted over Robert Platt's view of two separate distributions, predominantly determined genetically. But both Pickering and Platt had worked on hospital patients, often selected because of their blood pressures and the complications of hypertension.
Bill realised the value of unselected, free living population groups, which led him to join the Medical Research Council (MRC) pneumoconiosis research unit in South Wales, where he renewed the …