Framingham Online News

Scholarship Essay Contest Open to Heart Study Descendants

Filed under: Schools & Education by News Staff at 10:12 pm on March 18, 2006

FRAMINGHAM, MA - In memory of Dr. Thomas R. Dawber, (Director of the Framingham Heart Study from 1949 to 1966), The Friends of the Framingham Heart Study plan to award a $500 scholarship to a deserving high school senior upon graduation.

The Friends are sponsoring a contest that is open to all children of Framingham Heart Study participants who will be graduating from high school in the spring of 2006 and going on to college.

The prize will be awarded to that student whose essay of 1,000 words is judged the winner of the competition. The topic of the essay is “What It Means to be a Participant in Medical Research”.

Essays should be sent as a word document attached to an e-mail to Esta H. Shindler at eshindle@bu.edu no later than March 31, 2006. Included in the e-mail message should be future college and career plans after graduation, as well as name, address, and phone number.

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NHLBI to Launch Framingham Genetic Research Study

Filed under: Health & Fitness by News Staff at 9:46 pm on February 10, 2006

FRAMINGHAM, MA - A comprehensive genetic research study to identify genes underlying cardiovascular and other chronic diseases will be launched by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in collaboration with the Boston University (BU) School of Medicine.

The new research effort, the Framingham Genetic Research Study, will be part of the NHLBI’s long-running Framingham Heart Study (FHS) and will involve up to 500,000 genetic analyses of the DNA of 9,000 study participants across three generations. The NIH National Center for Biotechnology Information, part of the National Library of Medicine, will help develop a study database that will be made available at no cost to investigators throughout the world. The database will provide opportunities for other experts to search for associations between genes and diseases.

This important study will take genetic research in the Framingham study to the next level — accelerating discoveries on the causes, prevention, and treatment of major chronic diseases”, said NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D. “Using the latest technology, researchers will be able to obtain more information about the connection between unique genetic variations in DNA and cardiovascular disease risk factors as well as the genetic basis for heart attack, stroke, and other chronic diseases”.

Since 1948, the Framingham Heart Study has studied the health of many of the Massachusetts town’s residents. The study has been the source of key research findings regarding the contributions of hypertension, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking and other risk factors to the development of cardiovascular disease. Researchers at the NHLBI and BU, including physicians, geneticists, statisticians and epidemiologists, have conducted this important research in partnership with the Framingham Heart Study for decades.

This unique opportunity to increase our knowledge about health and disease is made possible by three generations of Framingham study participants who have donated their time to advance medical research”, said Karen Antman, M.D. Dean of Boston University School of Medicine and Provost of Boston University Medical Campus.

BU and the NHLBI have a longstanding commitment to protecting the confidentiality of Framingham Heart Study data and the privacy of the participants and their families. The Framingham Heart Study has obtained detailed informed consent from study participants for genetic research. An important priority of the new study is to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of the medical information obtained. NHLBI and BU have reviewed the project along with several Framingham Heart Study oversight boards, including an ethics advisory board. Additional oversight will be provided by an executive committee, which will monitor the conduct of the study. This committee will include a participant from the Framingham Heart Study and the Chair of the Framingham Ethics Advisory Board.

The new study will take advantage of knowledge gained from the Human Genome Project’s sequencing and mapping of all human genes — together known as the genome — and from the recently completed HapMap Project, which charted the pattern of genetic variation in the human genome.

The HapMap Project showed that common but minute variations in human DNA occur about once in very 1,000 base pairs of DNA across the human genome, which contains about three billion base pairs. These variations, called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), can be used to identify genetic contributions to common diseases. The Framingham Genetic Research Study will use recently developed technology that now allows rapid genotyping of about 500,000 of these SNPS in each individual.

Computer programs will then help scientists relate these alterations to many of the clinical and laboratory measurements made of study participants during their examinations, according to Christopher O’Donnell, M.D., associate director of the FHS and scientific director of the new project. “Then we hope to identify the genetic variations that are most strongly related to participant characteristics such as levels of cholesterol and systolic blood pressure,” O’Donnell said.

"In support of this project, BU and the NHLBI will apply teams of data managers, data base administrators and its extensive computing resources. The partnership between the Framingham investigators and study participants is an important one and they have made major contributions to the FHS. This new project will expand the research possibilities", said Philip Wolf, M.D. Principal Investigator of BU’s contract to administer the Framingham Heart Study.

Ultimately we hope this research will lead to new treatments and better strategies to prevent cardiovascular and other diseases”, said Daniel Levy, M.D., director of the Framingham Heart Study.  Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH), www.nih.gov/news/pr/feb2006/nhlbi-06.htm

For more information about the Framingham Heart Study, visit  framingham.com/heart

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Framingham Heart Study Director to Speak

Filed under: Health & Fitness by Deb Cleveland at 8:22 pm on April 15, 2005

FRAMINGHAM, MA - On Thursday, May 19, Dr. Daniel Levy, Director of the Framingham Heart Study, will discuss his book A Change of Heart at 7 p.m. in the Costin Room at the Framingham Public Library. The book explains the process and findings of the heart study, which revolutionized our understanding of the causes and treatment of heart disease.

Did you know that your heart beats approximately 42,075,900 times per year, and that it goes largely unnoticed unless something goes wrong with it?

In 1948, the Framingham Heart Study was undertaken to try to pinpoint the causes of cardiovascular disease. The study asked 5,209 citizens of Framingham -- who suffered stokes and heart attacks to the same extent as the rest of the United States -- to undergo biennial physicals, blood tests and detailed interviews concerning their behavior. The rest is medical history.

Following the talk, there will be a question-and-answer period as well as a book sale and signing. This event is co-sponsored by the Framingham Public Library and Borders Books. Free and open to the public. Refreshments provided by the Friends of the Framingham Library. Questions? Call 508-879-3570 x228.

Coincidentally, the Framingham Heart Study was recently a featured topic in the health and fitness section of Parade.com. Their article is linked to framingham.com’s information about the Framingham Heart Study, one of the more popular parts of this web site.

Dr. Levy’s book may be borrowed from the Framingham Public Library or purchased at the talk, or from Borders or Amazon.com.

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Framingham Heart Study Book Released

Filed under: Health & Fitness by Deb Cleveland at 5:47 pm on March 6, 2005

FRAMINGHAM, MA - The Framingham Heart Study is famous the world over and is the subject of a new book, "A Change of Heart: How the People of Framingham, Massachusetts Helped Unravel the Mysteries of Cardiovascular Disease" by Heart Study Director Dr. Daniel Levy.

The book, published by the Alfred A. Knopf company, is available at a discount from Amazon.com, or in local bookstores.

(For more info, see the Framingham Heart Study section right here on framingham.com, they are among the most popular pages on the site and are visited by people throughout the world).


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