Straight talk with...Daniel Levy


    The Framingham Heart Study (FHS) has long been a beacon of biomedical research, yielding landmark findings on everything from the links between elevated blood pressure and stroke to the genetic risk factors underlying cardiac arrhythmias. Now, the fabled 65-year-long study of cardiovascular disease is the beacon of a more modern trend in science: tight budgets. Thanks to the automatic cuts in US government spending known as sequestration, the approximately $9-million-per-year contract the FHS receives from the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) was reduced by $4 million on 1 August. The renewal of the contract, scheduled for 2015, is expected to run for only two or three years, instead of the usual seven as it has been in the past. And next month, the most visible effects of the cuts will take hold, when 19 layoffs (out of a total of 90 total staff members) go into effect.

    Overseeing the budget-related turbulence is Daniel Levy, a medical officer at the NHLBI who joined the FHS nearly 30 years ago and has served as the study's director since 1994. Elie Dolgin met with Levy in Framingham, on the outskirts of Boston, to discuss how he's taking the new funding realities to heart.

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    Straight talk with...Daniel Levy. Nat Med 19, 1197 (2013).

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