The St. Louis African American health-heart study: methodology for the study of cardiovascular disease and depression in young-old African Americans
Morbidity and mortality were assessed in the NHLBI twin study at the end of 1987. Deaths were greater in DZ twins (58/520, 11.2%) than MZ twins (38/508, 7.5%). Ischemic heart disease concordances were 2.3 times higher in MZ pairs and 2.8 times higher in DZ pairs than expected based on the prevalence of ischemic heart disease in the cohort. Family history scores for heart disease, calculated 14-18 years earlier at entry to the study, were significantly higher in DZ pairs where one or both members later developed ischemic heart disease and in corcordant MZ pairs than in twin-pairs without any subsequent heart disease. Concordance rates were not significantly different between MZ and DZ pairs. The results agree with previous suggestions that selection at enlistment into the armed services over 40 years ago, as well as later volunteering for the NHLBI twin study, resulted in a decline in the number of concordant MZ pairs.