takes a stress test while researchers monitor his heart
miles west of Boston is a town whose people have arguably
saved many millions of lives throughout the industrialized
world. The town is Framingham, where over fifty years ago,
five thousand citizens signed up for what became known as
the Framingham Heart Study. Year after year, those five thousand
people allowed themselves to be poked, prodded and questioned
on anything and everything scientists thought might conceivably
be connected with heart disease. Funded by the National Heart,
Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH, the study's resulting
data has proven invaluable to modern medicine. Now, many of
the participant's children and grandchildren are joining up
too, extending the study's reach even further.
Framingham Heart Study has documented one town's health
over three generations
"How's Your Heart?," Alan puts his own heart to the test,
under the direction of Dr.
Dan Levy, director of the study since 1995. One test measures
the resilience of Alan's arteries, a key indicator of blood
vessel health. Next, an MRI scan provides a glimpse of Alan's
heart at work, and checks his aorta for dangerous plaque build-up.
Alan passes both tests with flying colors.
over lunch with some of the study's original participants,
Alan and the former director Dr.
William Castelli discuss how the modern American lifestyle
can be hazardous to our heart, and what each of us can do
to change it.
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