A premier epidemiologic study.
The Framingham Heart Study at Boston University is one of the world’s most informative and longest running studies on cardiovascular disease. Nearly 3,000 articles based on the study’s data have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Nature Genetics, Circulation, and the Lancet.
The Framingham Heart Study has been a partnership between the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and Boston University since 1971.
65 years of extraordinary discoveries. And still going.
Beginning in 1948, the family-based study provided much of the earliest scientific evidence of the relationships between cardiovascular disease and smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Knowledge of the combined effects of these risk factors, and others, led to discoveries such as the Framingham Risk Functions. Physicians and patients throughout the world currently use these functions to estimate, often decades in advance, individual risks for developing specific cardiovascular diseases.
Other landmark discoveries that came from the study include the protective role of HDL (or “good”) cholesterol and the adverse effect of hormone replacement therapy on women’s risk for stroke. See more of the study’s research milestones.
Research at the cutting edge.
Today, the study remains a global epicenter for epidemiologic research. Current research focuses largely on identifying genes and proteins associated with various risk factors and cardiovascular diseases. In total, Framingham investigators have identified hundreds of DNA sites associated with stroke, atrial fibrillation, valvular calcification, bone density, and other pressing health conditions.
The Framingham investigators also conduct ancillary studies targeting areas of research such as:
- Heart and brain imaging
- Cognition and stroke
- Diet and physical activity
- Bone and sleep disorders
A center for global collaboration.
Scientists in 33 states and in more than a dozen countries use the study’s clinical and laboratory data. The Framingham Heart Study welcomes collaboration and invites investigators throughout the world to apply to use Framingham data and specimens in their studies.
A vibrant part of the BU research landscape.
The Heart Study has offices at the BU School of Medicine and at the main research center in Framingham, providing opportunities for students to attend lectures and chat with study investigators. BU also awards two postdoctoral fellowships each year.
Many of the study’s investigators hold physician and faculty appointments at:
- Boston Medical Center
- BU Department of Mathematics & Statistics
- BU School of Medicine
- BU School of Public Health
- BU Statistics and Consulting Unit: Statistics in Medicine