It's been 70 years since a small, middle-class community 23 miles west of Boston became the linchpin in helping to solve the mysteries of heart disease.  Cholesterol Blood pressure. Obesity It's common knowledge today that these all lead to heart trouble.

But in the 1940s, with one in two deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and even after President Franklin Roosevelt died from the effects of heart failure and a massive stroke, the information would have been considered revolutionary.

The world has changed by leaps and bounds since Oct. 11, 1948, when, prompted by legislation signed after the president's death, examined the first community volunteer for the Framingham Heart Study.

The volunteer was one of 5,209 mostly white women and men who participated in physicals, lab samples and questionnaires, and who agreed to return every two years. About two-thirds of adults in the town took part.

Generations Of Heart Disease

They have The study launched offshoots in 1994 and 2003 to include more races and ethnicitiesThat's 15,447 people of varying ages and backgrounds who are part of the science looking into the human genome, the brain, and other high-tech countless trips into the human body and the roots of disease.

Every part of the body that has been measured, assessed or assessed, we've done so over the last 70 years. It's a remarkable human experience, It's with humility I say that It's unbelievable, and to be part of it is a gift, a privilege, and an honor.

Effects Of Stroke 

Today, about one in three deaths in the United States are attributed to cardiovascular disease, about 2,300 people each day. And about 92.1 million adults are living with some disease or after-effects of stroke.

Framingham popularized the idea of cardiovascular risk factors, the conditions or behaviors that increased the chances of having a heart attack or stroke. FHS researchers published work on these factors, such as high blood pressure, physical inactivity and excess weight. The study refined the idea of "good" and "bad" cholesterol. And as early as 1960, it pinned smoking as one of the culprits for heart disease.

Generation Risk Factors

Environment changes how our genes work, to the next generation of risk factors and to understand the molecular basis of disease. 

Researchers have conducted whole genome sequencing on about 4,000 people. Its brain research program has already received 230 brains from participants who have died, with 572 more participants signed up to donate theirs.

Judie Saltonstall is one of them. She's a second-generation participant who moved to Arizona 29 years ago and still faithfully logs on to her computer every three months to answer questionnaires and memory quizzes. The reaction sometimes is almost disbelief that you would allow someone to poke and prod and test you in such an invasive and transparent way.