Framingham Heart Study lands $38M grant for 6 more years of research

The 71-year-old Framingham Heart Study has received $38 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to fund a new six-year study into the biology of aging.

According to a press release from Boston University, which has administered the FHS since 1971, the study will evaluate “changes in blood pressure, arterial stiffness, blood platelets, and liver fat accumulation in the study’s older subjects.” Many of these participants are the children or grandchildren of the 5,209 members of the original Framingham cohort enrolled in 1948.

“With the rapidly increasing number of Americans over the age of 65 years, comprehensive studies of older individuals are invaluable,” Vasan Ramachandran, MD, principal investigator and director of the FHS, said in the release. “The opportunity to perform comprehensive analysis of … abnormalities in older individuals, using state-of-the-art scientific technology, is unparalleled.”

The FHS is the nation’s longest-running epidemiological study and has produced more than 2,850 scientific papers, the release stated. It is credited with coining the term “risk factors” and defining some of those for heart disease and showing how hypertension can increase the risk of stroke, among other breakthroughs.

The funding from the NHLBI will also allow for continued data analysis and study operations to be maintained, the Associated Press reported.