Editor’s note: This is one in a 10-part series of the top medical research advances as determined by American Heart Association volunteer and staff leaders. How the most disabling strokes are treated is undergoing the biggest transformation in decades after research this year showed dramatic benefits when tiny devices are used to go into the…

New federal data show that the rate of deaths due to heart disease continues a decades-long decline, although more Americans still die of heart disease than any other cause. Age-adjusted death rates for heart disease fell from 520.4 deaths per 100,000 Americans in 1969 to 169.1 in 2013. Stroke deaths dropped from 156.8 per 100,000…