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Heart Attack

Due to sequestration, the 15,000-plus patient Framingham Heart Study could be forced to delay a round of subject data collection, Sam Stein reports this week in the Huffington Post.

While the FHS — the longest running cardiovascular study in the US and a source of data for a variety projects, including genomic and proteomic work — has already felt some effects from sequestration-based budget cuts, the prospect of delaying subject data collection has study officials "worried that the project's basic mission could also be harmed," Stein writes.

For cohort studies like the FHS, "continuity is required and massive amounts of medical information must be updated and maintained," he notes. However, Stein says, the next round of testing — slated to take place over the next two to three years — could be delayed due to lack of funding.

"You're going to lose a major investment that we've been making over the last 65 years," Karen Antman, dean of Boston University School of Medicine, which co-runs the Framingham Heart Study, tells Stein. "If we miss an exam cycle we won't have data on which we can do the research. Not having the exams funded is a real problem."

The FHS receives around $21 million per year from the National Institutes of Health, with around $10 million going from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to Boston University to support the project, Stein reports. Sequestration, however, has cut that $10 million down to $5.9 million.