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Nov 12, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- CITIZEN RESPONDERS SAVE LIVES

Late response time from caregivers is a key reason why 95 percent of people who suffer a sudden cardiac event die. Studies suggest survival rates can jump from less than 5 percent to nearly 70 percent if defibrillation occurs within the first three to five minutes. The average response time to 911 calls, however, is six to 12 minutes. A study pooled from 24 research groups in the United States and Canada finds ordinary bystanders with basic instruction and access to simple, portable automated external defibrillators can make the difference. Researchers determined the number of survivors of sudden cardiac events in public locations approximately doubled when non-medical personnel were trained to call 911 and administer CPR and AED therapy when compared to instances in which people only were trained to call 911 and administer CPR.


A one-hour class can make the difference for patients recovering from heart failure, researchers say. Sticking to a recommended regimen of drugs, diet, exercise and self-care can be difficult for many patients. "We have so many treatments and strategies that have been shown to help people with heart failure live longer and better, but we know many patients don't adhere to them once they go home," said University of Michigan cardiologist Todd Koelling. Non-compliance means many heart failure patients become more ill or die, but a new University of Michigan study shows just one hour of one-on-one education prior to leaving the hospital can reverse the trend. It resulted in a 35 percent lower risk of re-hospitalization or death within 180 days of discharge compared to patients who received the standard pre-discharge brochures and fliers.


A nicotine metabolite shows promise for improving memory and protecting brain cells from diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. A study at the Medical College of Georgia finds the metabolite cotinine also might be a safe treatment for the debilitating psychotic behavior of schizophrenics -- without the addiction and other side effects of nicotine, such as blood vessel constriction, nausea, and stomach cramps. In addition, treatment with cotinine so far appears to avoid the severe, long-term neurological side effects of drugs currently used to treat these illnesses.


(Editors: For more information on CARDIAC contact Michael Kaplan at (212) 537-8295 or For REGIMEN contact Sally Pobojewski at (734) 764-2220 or For NICOTINE contact Toni Baker at (706) 721-4421 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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