Michael Francis Oliver

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 18 August 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4470
  1. Anna Sayburn, London

Cardiologist whose research contributed to changing the way we think about heart disease

The link between serum cholesterol and heart disease is now well known. Yet when cardiologist Michael Oliver started his career in the mid-1940s, the controversy over lipid lowering treatment for cardiovascular disease was yet to come. Oliver was part of a cohort of doctors who qualified immediately after the second world war and worked in the newly formed NHS. In the early 1950s, after two years of working as a general practitioner in Leith, he began his cardiology research as a fellow at Edinburgh University. In a series of publications, he outlined the properties of cholesterol and other lipoproteins, reporting on their links to endocrine and heart disease. Working with colleagues at Edinburgh’s departments of biochemistry and medicine, he observed that patients with coronary heart disease had higher concentrations of cholesterol than an age matched control group.1

Heart disease and diet

Oliver was initially an enthusiastic promoter of …

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