William B. Kannel, an epidemiologist whose work for six decades on the landmark Framingham Heart Study helped revolutionize the way heart disease is treated, died Aug. 20 at a nursing center in Natick, Mass. He was 87 and had colon cancer, his daughter Patricia Hoffman said.
Any patient ever told by a doctor to eat better, exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking or take cholesterol medication to lower the risk of heart disease owes that life-saving advice in large part to Dr. Kannel.
(Over the years, we’ve learned that risk factors are complicated. Many people without high cholesterol have heart attacks. )
More on Kannel From BU Today:
…A cardiovascular epidemiologist, Kannel began work with the Framingham Heart Study in 1951 and served as director from 1966 to 1979. The multigenerational epidemiological study, begun in 1948 by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and run by BU since 1971 under NIH contract, sought to identify causes of cardiovascular disease by following the health and lifestyles of 5,000 residents of Framingham, Mass. The study currently follows 14,000 people, almost all of them descendants of the original cohort. Between 1979 and 1987, Kannel was the University’s principal investigator with the study and later worked as senior investigator.