University of Minnesota

Origins: 1900-1940s

Formal epidemiological studies of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) began only at mid-twentieth century with convergence of several streams of knowledge:

  • Advances in understanding of the arterial pathophysiology underlying heart attack and stroke and modern techniques of clinical cardiology and electrocardiology improved cardiac diagnosis and appreciation of the epidemic.
  • Dramatic trends in vital statistics on CVD deaths in Europe, sharply downward during World War II and rapidly upward post-war, called attention to the emerging CVD epidemic.
  • Large population differences in prevalence of CVD and lifestyles caught the attention of medical Marco Polos on their world travels and provoked hypotheses about cultural influences on risk and disease frequency.
Begin Era