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News Briefs II

Researchers Urge Placement of Heart Defibrillators at Stadiums

The Baltimore Sun

Two researchers at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond say traffic and crowding at most U.S. sports facilities make it hard for paramedics to reach fans stricken by cardiac arrest. Help would be closer - and more lives could be saved, they said - if there were more portable "heart shocker" machines scattered around big stadiums, and enough people trained to use them.

"Every minute it's delayed, your chances of survival decline 10 percent," said Dr. Mary Ann Peberdy, assistant professor of medicine and chairman of the hospital's resuscitation team. Peberdy told a meeting of the American Heart Association in Dallas Monday that with the cost of the "automated external defibrillators," or AEDs, now down to about $3,000 each, big-league stadiums could provide two dozen of the machines, and train 50 people to use them, for just pennies per ticket.

Cardiac arrest claims at least 250,000 American lives every year, according to the American Heart Association. These are not "heart attacks," in which blood flow to a portion of the heart is blocked and heart muscle starts to die.

In cardiac arrest, the electrical impulses that control the beating heart get confused. The heart either stops or beats ineffectively. The victim typically passes out immediately. Rescuers must race to restore a normal heart rhythm before the brain begins to die for lack of oxygen. Defibrillators deliver a jolt of electricity to the heart, and with luck, it begins to beat again. New technology has produced AEDs, which are simple and easy enough for laymen to use.

More and more fire companies, police departments, casinos and airlines are using them, and the Heart Association is working to widen their acceptance.

Dalai Lama Addresses D.C.

The Washington Post

It took one of the world's greatest holy men to bring a whiff of humility to Washington. "I have nothing special to tell you," said the Dalai Lama, who likes to call himself "just a simple Buddhist monk."

The crowd of 5,000 gathered Sunday at American University to soak up some of his wisdom took the cue. Even its more famous members cloaked themselves in modesty. Beastie Boy Adam Yauch sat quietly with his Tibetan wife and new baby in the special reserved section up front. Yauch seems to have directed most of his energy to the Free Tibet movement for the past five years, organizing concerts and founding a nonprofit group to promote the cause. Yet when asked how involved he was in Tibetan Buddhism, he answered with head bowed: "A bit."

There were some actual neophytes in the audience, mostly in the student section where tickets cost only $12 instead of $80 or as much as $1,000 for the reserved section. Julianna Breay and Lauren Ober are two juniors at AU. They didn't want to miss this "once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the most important spiritual leader of the century," said Breay. The most important? Aren't we forgetting someone? "The pope is embroiled in all kinds of Catholic scandal. He's so anti-woman, so political," said Breay. "But the Dalai Lama is totally uncontroversial. Nothing he says makes me mad."