Medicine: A Baffling Coronary Puzzle

WHO charts a global shift in fatalities

Heart disease, the No. 1 killer in industrialized countries, has been fought with research grants and take-care-of-yourself warnings for years. But with what success? To find out, experts at the World Health Organization in Geneva have been compiling statistics on one indicator, deaths from heart attacks, since 1968. The figures, from 28 countries for the decade ending in 1977, offer an intriguing—and baffling—picture of shifting patterns in fatal heart attacks.

Deaths rose dramatically in some countries while falling in others. In some, increases or decreases were registered only...

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