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August 17, 1994

The Power of Clan: The Influence of Human Relationships on Heart Disease

Author Affiliations

University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha


by Stewart Wolf and John G. Bruhn, 171 pp, with illus, $29.95, ISBN 1-56000-043-0, New Brunswick, NJ, Transaction Publishers, 1993.

JAMA. 1994;272(7):566. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520070086048

At a time when our consciousness has been raised by the strength of religious cults and the weakening and fragmentation of the family and community, especially in inner cities, this unique monograph details an exhaustive 50-year study of community and family connectedness correlating with a very low incidence of coronary heart disease in Roseto, Pennsylvania.

Roseto is a community of approximately 2700 and was originally nearly 100% immigrants from a southern Italian community of peasants that bore the same name. The authors propose to explain the very low (less than one half) incidence of coronary heart disease up to 1965 in Roseto compared with the four immediately surrounding (within 10 miles) communities as the result of remarkable community and family cohesiveness and in the absence of any differentials in the accepted coronary heart disease risk factors. Meticulous attention was paid to tracking and detailing the history of sociobiologic events, beginning

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