Intended for healthcare professionals


Thomas Royle Dawber

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 12 January 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:122

Founder epidemiologist of the Framingham heart study

In 1945 the Western world emerged from the second world war, only to be confronted by an epidemic of heart disease. The US government responded by setting up a study to identify the causes and to diagnose and treat early disease, though the latter aim was dropped as there was no treatment available. The town of Framingham in Massachusetts was chosen as the site for this study because it had a stable population of 28 000 and was close to Harvard University.

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The Framingham study, as it was known, became world famous. “Along with Ancel Keys's seven country study, this was the work on which all other epidemiology of heart disease stands. There isn't a study that doesn't owe its origin to Framingham,” Gerry Shaper, emeritus professor of clinical epidemiology at the Royal …

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