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New studies are looking at heart disease in minorities

The leading cause of death in the United States is heart disease, according to CDC stats.

So naturally there long has been a push to know as much as possible about the deadly disease. One of the most prominent — and certainly long-lasting — studies on heart disease has been conducted since 1948 in Framingham, Mass. Called the Framingham Heart Study, scientists have continuously been collecting data on participants (and later their children and grandchildren) from that town to learn more about the risk factors with the disease. A lot of what we all know today — such as about the links between exercise and diet to heart disease — comes out of that study.

The only problem is that Framingham is a predominantly Caucasian town, and minorities have different experiences with heart disease that this study cannot explain.

Now, data is being culled and researchers are looking at heart disease and four specific groups, according to a Wall Street Journal story. These studies continue to look at Caucasians, but also African Americans, Hispanics and Chinese Americans. Researchers from the different studies are sharing and comparing data.

For example, South Asians, as the WSJ story points out, have very high rates of cardiovascular disease despite usually being slim, exercising regularly and often being vegetarians. Something else is a factor here, the WSJ explains, and that’s what these researchers are trying to find out.

More knowledge about heart disease is sure to help in prevention and treatment for not only minorities but everyone else, too. So we should all be glad to hear about these offsprings of what Framingham started.

FILE PHOTO: Charles Mitchell for Sun-Times Media