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To bring a little order into a chaotic and hostile world, we try to find the laws that govern the "mess" that we observe. Medical researchers want to discover the threats against human life and health, and to know what causes disease and premature death, in order to cure or prevent these problems. To this end, we have developed a laborious but highly successful technique called the scientific method.

When we grow old our arteries become stiff. The smooth muscle cells and the elastic fibers that surround our blood vessels when we are young are gradually replaced by more or less fibrous and rigid tissue. At the same time, or later on, cholesterol, various fats and even calcium become embedded in the blood vessel wall....

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