ASSESSING THE HISTORY OF HEART DISEASE IN THE UNITED STATES, 1950-1990

Open Access
Author:
Mannke, Bevyn Mary
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Gregory James Smits, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kathryn Elizabeth Salzer, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • heart disease
  • social theory
  • diet and the heart
Abstract:
This thesis analyzes the history of the social theory of heart disease and its rise to prominence in the United States. The social theory, as defined by Dr. James Le Fanu in his work The Rise and Fall of Medicine, is society’s developed understanding of lifestyle and disease. This work incorporates detailed analysis of this history from 1950 to 1990. From 1950 to 1961, Ancel Keys advanced his diet-heart thesis. From 1972 to 1983, the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial (MRFIT) was especially influential. From 1983 to 1990, the US began the mass production of cholesterol lowering drugs and established the National Cholesterol Education Program. Each of these periods are explored in great depth in the chapters of this thesis. For each period, the thesis examines relevant articles from The Journal of the American Medical Association; these publications document the history of the social theory.