Innovations in medicine are usually perceived in terms of physical objects,
such as new drugs and diagnostic and therapeutic devices. Yet the greatest
innovations, including pathology and the germ theory, revolutionized basic
concepts of health and disease. The Framingham Heart Study, more than any
other, popularized the concepts that diseases are multicausal and that the
etiological factors, called risk factors, are more usefully considered as
increasing the risk of disease than as directly causing disease. The story
of Framingham is told in A Change of Heart, by Daniel
Levy, the current director of the study, and journalist Susan Brink.
Rothstein WG. Framingham. JAMA. 2005;293(14):1798–1802. doi:10.1001/jama.293.14.1798-b
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