Welcome to the Web site of the Physicians' Health Study. This landmark study was begun in the fall of 1982 to test the benefits and risks of aspirin and beta carotene in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Thirty years and more than 400 published research reports later, it is still going strong.
The original randomized trial, the Physicians' Health Study I, ended in 1995. Its finding that low-dose aspirin decreased the risk of a first myocardial infarction by 44% helped focus on the role of aspirin in primary prevention of coronary heart disease. It also showed no benefit or harm from beta carotene, a finding that allowed investigators to turn to other, more promising agents. Although that trial may be over, the physicians who took part in it continue to help advance our knowledge about the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases by completing annual questionnaires.
A second randomized trial, the Physicians' Health Study II, was started in 1997 to test the balance of benefits and risks of three other widely used, but as yet unproven, supplements for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, age-related eye disease, and cognitive decline--vitamin E, vitamin C, and a multivitamin. The vitamin C and vitamin E components, which ended as planned in 2007, found that these vitamin supplements do not prevent major cardiovascular events, cancer, or eye disease.
The multivitamin component ended as planned on June 1, 2011. The results for cancer were published online on October 17, 2012 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The results for cardiovascular disease were published on November 5, 2012 in JAMA. Click here to go the JAMA website.
Manuscripts presenting the main findings for the multivitamin component on eye disease and cognitive decline are in the final stages of completion. Please periodically check this PHS website over the coming weeks for notification that these manuscripts have been published.