Heart attacks strike about 1.2 million people every year in America alone, many of them fatally. Of those, most are caused by coronary artery disease--the biggest killer of both men and women in the U.S.--and something like 70 percent of those strike without warning. Coronary artery disease is sneaky like that. Symptoms generally don't outwardly manifest themselves until someone is on the floor, short of breath, wondering what just kicked them in the chest. Doctors battling these cardiac blockages generally enter the fight at a severe disadvantage.
A group of researchers at Imperial College London recently cross-referenced a couple of studies on heart health and have made an interesting recommendation to fast food outlets: rather than fries, each order should come with a free statin drug. A dose of statins, they reason, reduce heart attack risk to about the same degree that a cheeseburger and shake raise the risk. In effect, the two should neatly cancel each other out.
Technology has long been helping elderly people who fall and can't get up to call for help -- there are alarm bracelets, emergency-button necklaces and wireless motion sensors, for a start.
Now a UK energy firm is working on a system that can passively detect when something is wrong -- Grandma won't even have to push a button.
Of the 250,000 Americans who die of cardiac arrest each year, 70 percent of them do so at home, where there's no access to a lifesaving defibrillator.
Enter the WCD 2000, the world's first wearable defibrillator. Electrodes in the chest-belt monitor the heart; if they lose the heartbeat, they signal the waist-mounted defibrillator to send a shock. Meanwhile, tiny capsules release an electricity-conducting gel onto the chest.