The Framingham Heart Study is a project of Boston University & the National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute.
The Framingham Heart Study is a project of Boston University & the National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute.
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Research Milestones

1948 Framingham Heart Study begins
1956 Findings on progression rheumatic heart disease reported
1957 High blood pressure and high cholesterol levels shown to increase likelihood of heart disease
1959 Some heart attacks discovered to be “silent” (causing no pain)
1960 Cigarette smoking found to increase the risk of heart disease
1961 The term “risk factor” introduced
1961 Cholesterol level, blood pressure, and electrocardiogram abnormalities found to increase the risk of heart disease
1967 Physical activity found to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity to increase the risk of heart disease
1970 High blood pressure found to increase the risk of stroke
1970 Atrial fibrillation increases stroke risk 5-fold
1976 Menopause found to increase the risk of heart disease
1978 Psychosocial factors found to affect heart disease
1988 High levels of HDL cholesterol found to reduce risk of death
1994 Enlarged left ventricle (one of two lower chambers of the heart) shown to increase the risk of stroke
1996 Progression from hypertension to heart failure described
1998 Framingham Heart Study researchers identify that atrial fibrillation is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality
1998 Development of simple coronary disease prediction algorithm involving risk factor categories to allow physicians to predict multivariate coronary heart disease risk in patients without overt CHD
1999 Lifetime risk at age 40 years of developing coronary heart disease is one in two for men and one in three for women
2001 High-normal blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, emphasizing the need to determine whether lowering high-normal blood pressure can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
2002 Lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure in middle-aged adults is 9 in 10
2002 Obesity is a risk factor for heart failure
2004 Serum aldosterone levels predict future risk of hypertension in non-hypertensive individuals
2005 Lifetime risk of becoming overweight exceeds 70 percent, that for obesity approximates 1 in 2
2006 The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health announces a new genome-wide association study at the Framingham Heart Study in collaboration with Boston University School of Medicine to be known as the SHARe project (SNP Health Association Resource)
2007 Based on evaluation of a densely interconnected social network of 12,067 people assessed as part of the Framingham Heart Study, network phenomena appear to be relevant to the biologic and behavioral trait of obesity, and obesity appears to spread through social ties
2008 Based on analysis of a social network of 12,067 people participating in the Framingham Heart Study (FHS), researchers discover that social networks exert key influences on decision to quit smoking
2008 Discovery by Framingham Heart Study and publication of four risk factors that raise probability of developing precursor of heart failure; new 30-year risk estimates developed for serious cardiac events
2009 Framingham Heart Study cited by the American Heart Association among the top 10 cardiovascular research achievements of 2009, “Genome-wide Association Study of Blood Pressure and Hypertension: Genome-wide association study identifies eight loci associated with blood pressure”
2009 A new genetic variant associated with increased susceptibility for atrial fibrillation, a prominent risk factor for stroke and heart failure, is reported in two studies based on data from the Framingham Heart Study
2009 Framingham Heart Study researchers find parental dementia may lead to poor memory in middle-aged adults
2009 Framingham Heart Study researchers find high leptin levels may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
2009-10 Framingham Heart Study researchers contribute to discovering hundreds of new genes underlying major heart disease risk factors—body mass index, blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, blood pressure and glucose/diabetes
2010 Sleep apnea tied to increased risk of stroke
2010 Framingham Heart Study researchers identify additional genes that may play a role in Alzheimer’s disease
2010 Framingham Heart Study finds fat around the abdomen associated with smaller, older brains in middle-aged adults
2010 Framingham Heart Study finds genes link puberty timing and body fat in women
2010 Having first-degree relative with atrial fibrillation associated with increased risk for this disorder
2010 First definitive evidence that occurrence of stroke by age 65 years in a parent increased risk of stroke in offspring by 3-fold
2011 Several exciting genome projects are underway. Large parts of the sequence of DNA for hundreds of Framingham participants are being analyzed in 2011 in two large studies, the NHLBI Large-Scale DNA Sequencing Project and the U.S. Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology
2012 Framingham researchers find associations between new metabolites (including amino acids glutamate and glutamine) and adverse metabolic profiles that predispose to risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, or stroke
2012 Framingham researchers find that higher vascular stiffness is a precursor, instead of the result of hypertension in middle-aged adults
2012 Framingham researchers identify new biomarkers reflecting myocardial and vascular stress that predict future risk of developing cardiovascular events in low to intermediate risk individuals
2013 New genetic loci associated with blood lipid levels (Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol) are reported in a study based on data from Framingham Heart Study
2013 Genetic variant of MUC5B may identify people at a high risk of developing interstitial lung abnormalities and pulmonary fibrosis in a study based on Framingham Heart Study data
2013 New associations found between certain peripheral blood gene expression patterns and risk of developing coronary heart disease, based on Framingham Heart Study data
2013 Genetic variation in the gene LPA is associated with aortic-valve calcification, a risk factor for developing aortic-valve disease, based in part on Framingham Heart Study data
2014 Report highlights the association between age of adult menarche and adult BMI and select genetic variants
2015 Discovery of genetic variants that may influence brain structure, which may help elucidate the genetic mechanisms contributing to neurodegenerative disease
2016 Over three decades, the incidence rate of dementia has declined in Framingham Heart Study participants, especially in those with a high school diploma
2017 A game-based intervention that increased social incentives led to increased physical activity among Framingham Heart study participants
2017 Presence of three major anatomic components of risk on CT imaging, i.e., coronary calcification, excess adiposity, and greater muscle fat, across multiple organs are associated with greater levels of cardiovascular disease risk factors and overall mortality in Framingham Heart Study participants
2018 Framingham Heart Study researchers find that former smokers who quit smoking 25 or more years ago still have three times as much risk of developing lung cancer compared to people who have never smoked