There are six groups of participants in the Framingham Heart Study. They are: Original Cohort, Offspring Cohort, Third Generation Cohort, New Offspring Spouse Cohort, Omni Generation 1 Cohort and Omni Generation 2 Cohort. Over the years, careful monitoring of the Framingham Study population has led to the identification of the major CVD risk factors – high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and physical inactivity – as well as a great deal of valuable information on the effects of related factors such as blood triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels, age, gender, and psychosocial issues. Although the Framingham cohort is primarily Caucasian, the importance of the major CVD risk factors identified in this group have been shown in other studies to apply almost universally among racial and ethnic groups, even though the patterns of distribution may vary from group to group. Since its inception, the study has produced approximately 1,200 articles in leading medical journals. The concept of CVD risk factors has become an integral part of the modern medical curriculum and has led to the development of effective treatment and preventive strategies in clinical practice.
The Framingham Heart Study continues to make important scientific contributions by enhancing its research capabilities and capitalizing on its inherent resources. New diagnostic technologies, such as echocardiography (an ultrasound examination of the heart), carotid artery ultrasound, bone densitometry (for monitoring osteoporosis), and computerized tomography of the coronary arteries, are evaluated and integrated into ongoing protocols.
While pursuing the Study’s established research goals, the NHLBI and the Framingham investigators are expanding their research into other areas such as the role of genetic factors in CVD. Framingham investigators also collaborate with leading researchers from around the country and throughout the world on projects in stroke and dementia, osteoporosis and arthritis, nutrition, diabetes, eye diseases, hearing disorders, lung diseases, and genetic patterns of common diseases.