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March 4, 1974

Signs of Spring?

JAMA. 1974;227(9):1049. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230220039018

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The provocative Special Communication by Weldon J. Walker, MD, (p 1045) should be a source of encouragement to those who have labored long and dutifully in an effort to reverse the trend of mortality in coronary artery disease. When placed in percentages the greatest relative decline in mortality appeared to occur during the most productive years of life: 35 to 64 years. The respective declines in mortality were 35 to 45 years—9.2%, 45 to 54 years—12.5%, and 55 to 64 years—10.5%.

The cause for this "good news" is not immediately evident.

Of course, we all would like to believe that the improved mortality statistics are not some subtle artifact of numbers and really reflect increasing public awareness about coronary risk factors. However, there is no apparent evidence that western man is moving toward a more spartan life style (unless it is the occasional chap who runs out of gas on