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Medical News & Perspectives
June 12, 2018

Framingham at 70: What We’ve Learned About Women and Heart Disease

JAMA. 2018;319(22):2259-2260. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.5069

Daniel Levy, MD, can’t help but feel puzzled when he occasionally hears that the Framingham Heart Study made a dreadful mistake right from the start: failing to include women. “I just scratch my head,” says Levy, Framingham’s director for more than 2 decades. “From the very beginning of the study in 1948, equal numbers of men and women were enrolled.”

In fact, he adds, “the very first participant who came through the clinic was a woman.”

As the renowned study celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, Levy suggests that including women wasn’t necessarily to discern whether they had different risk factors for heart disease than men. A common misconception at the time was that women appeared to have some type of inherent protection against heart disease that men lacked.

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