Like many in the city, Judy Daubney's participation in the Framingham Heart Study is a family affair.

Daubney grew up in Framingham, and is a third-generation participant. Her grandmother, Rose Giacomuzzi, was among the study's original cohort of men and women. The Framingham Heart Study, the longest of its kind in the country, traces generations of Framingham families, beginning with a group of 5,209 men and women who were enlisted in 1948 and continuing with their children and grandchildren.

Daubney, who now lives in Upton, sat among a packed Nevins Hall of researchers, elected officials and participants to celebrate the study's 75th anniversary. While it actually turned 75 last year, Monday's event formally marked the milestone.

Daubney's father became a participant in the 1970s, while Daubney joined in 2002.

"Unfortunately, my father's older brother passed away in 1969 of a massive heart attack, so it became personal to us at that point," Daubney told the Daily News following Monday's event. "I was a teenager, and I think that's when I really started understanding the bigger picture of it all."

While the Framingham Heart Study is personal for Daubney, she said participating is something that's important for everyone.

BU researcher says Heart Study has led to other medical breakthroughs

"We want to come and we want to do those testings," she said. "Obviously, as we learned today, it is worldwide. All of the information they have learned from it, it has become a worldwide thing that has helped anybody and everybody — and I'm proud to be a part of that."

Boston University has lead the research efforts since 1971. Dr. Joanne Murabito, a principal investigator and research center director for the Framingham Heart Study, said research from the study has led to several other medical discoveries.

"Understanding the factors that increase risk, it's so exciting to be studying so many other conditions related to health beyond heart disease, such as dementia, bone health and diabetes," Murabito said. "It's exciting to know we're making such an impact."

Monday's event, which included remarks from elected and medical officials, focused on thanking study participants. There was also an acknowledgement of the last surviving original member, Agnes DeCenzo, who died on Sept. 25 at age 105.

DeCenzo, who spent her last few years at Waterview Lodge Rehabilitation & Healthcare in Ashland, was 30 when she became part of the study's original cohort in 1948.

Heart Study a community effort to advance the field of medicine

Officials in both the medical and political fields spoke highly of the community coming together for the sake of advancing the field of medicine.

In her remarks, U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Massachusetts, praised the contributions the Framingham Heart Study has made to medical research.

"You are part of a critical contribution to health care — not just to Framingham, not just to our country, but to all people," she said. "You have the rare distinction of making impacts of truly global proportions. 

Clark's remarks were briefly interrupted by a man calling for a cease-fire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

"As the gentleman just mentioned, of so much brutality and heartache around the world, you are proof of our capacity for doing good, for building community and what could be more awe-inspiring than the task that you have taken on," the congresswoman said, without skipping a beat. "Forging the keys to a longer life, a healthier life, a better life. Not (just) for yourselves, but for everyone."

 State Senate President Karen Spilka shared that the study is personal to her, as her father died in his 50s from a massive heart attack.

"In hearing the risk factors, I hate to say it, but at that point in time, he probably checked the box for almost every single risk factor," said Spilka, D-Ashland. "The folks of Framingham stepped up, stood up and they continued to show up. Not everybody realizes how generational this is, and not only is it generational, but each successive generation agrees and is committed to coming back for their day of testing their and not many people would do that."

"People have said it takes a village to do something important, but in this case, it takes a small city to do anything with this kind of impact," said Karen Antman, BU's medical campus provost. 


Original story HERE.