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Myron Prinzmetal

Born 1908
Died 1987

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American cardiologist, born February 8, 1908, Buffalo, New York; died January 8, 1987.

Biography of Myron Prinzmetal

Myron Prinzmetal attended Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles and subsequently studied at the University of California, Los Angeles. He obtained a M.A. degree in pharmacy, and graduated M.D. in 1933. He spent his internship in San Francisco and his residency at Bames Hospital at Washington University in St. Louis, and in 1935 he became Sutro Fellow at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. From 1936 to 1937 he was a Fellow of the American College of Physicians at University College, London.

Back in the U.S.A. he began working in a laboratory at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital and began private practice. He later became clinical professor of cardiology at U.C.L.A.

Loss of sight on one eye prevented Prinzmetal from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Second World War, but he continued his work on pulmonary disease and began research on coronary circulation. From 1950 he published a large number of papers on the auricular arrhythmias, making use of high-speed cine-electrocardiography.

Myron Prinzmetal was an ardent book collector who owned all four folio editions of Shakespeare and a first edition of Harvey’s Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus (Frankfurt am Main; Wilhelm Fitzer, 1628), the only one not owned by a museum.

"One of the most important factors, if not the most important, in the incidence of coronary disease is the diet. It is palpably clear that we, as a rule, eat too much. Primitive people usually don't. They can't afford to stuff themselves. We seem to consider it a mark of affluence and luxury to eat big meals. When an American suddenly gets an increase in income, gets a raise in salary or puts over a big deal, he usually takes his family out to celebrate with what he calls a 'good' meal. The 'good' meal is always a high-caloric, fatty meal in which the family joins him in cramming more fuel into the system than the system can accommodate. Poor people in economically backward countries don't usually put over big deals; they don't take the family out for a big meal. They don't get coronaries."

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