|IEEE Spectrum Cover Features Series of Articles On TASER Devices|
Thursday December 13, 7:30 am ET
December 2007 Issue of the Flagship Publication of the World's Largest Professional Technology Association Probes Issues in the Ongoing Debate Over the Safety of TASER Devices
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Dec. 13, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- TASER International, Inc. (NasdaqGS:TASR - News), a market leader in advanced electronic control devices, released the following News Alert:
The December 2007 issue of the IEEE Spectrum, the flagship publication of the world's largest professional technology association, features on its cover a series of articles probing some of the issues fueling the ongoing debate over the safety of TASER devices.
In ``How a Taser Works,'' author Sandra Upson provides important background information regarding the ongoing debate over the safety and appropriateness of TASER electronic control devices (ECDs). She introduces the other two articles as investigating the ``physiological effects of electric shock.''
In the article ``Crafting the Perfect Shock,'' Dr. Mark K. Kroll opens with, ``You know an engineering problem is difficult when the prevailing technology dates back to the Stone Age. Let's face it, the police officer's baton is barely more sophisticated than a cave dweller's club, and with it comes all the same crudeness.'' Dr. Kroll's article explains the scientific principles behind TASER devices and how they affect human physiology.
Dr. Patrick Tchou, in his article ``Finding the Edge of Heart Safety,'' discusses his investigations into whether shocks from a TASER device can cause serious damage to a heart's normal function.
According to Dr. Tchou, ``the most important question regarding the safety of Tasers is how likely it is that the use of one will induce ventricular fibrillation. Because the standard Taser output proved on average to be one-fourth what was needed to cause fibrillation, one is tempted to conclude that the device is fundamentally safe. But there's another factor to keep in mind: a large portion of the violent individuals with whom the police have to deal are under the influence of cocaine, methamphetamine, or other stimulants. So the Taser has to be safe even for those whose physiology is distorted by the presence of such powerful drugs. Cocaine in particular is a concern with respect to cardiac complications because it raises heart rate and blood pressure and significantly increases the risk of a heart attack even without any kind of shock.
``My colleagues and I supposed that the presence of such drugs would increase the potential for cardiac arrhythmias, and we later tested this hypothesis in a separate study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. To our surprise, the amount of current needed to bring on ventricular fibrillation didn't go down; indeed, it increased significantly when the pigs were administered cocaine. After some thought, we realized that our initially puzzling findings were not entirely out of line, because cocaine has certain anesthetic properties that can affect the electrical behavior of the heart in ways that protect it against shocks and decrease its vulnerability to fibrillation. Applying enough voltage to a heart cell will open its sodium-ion channels and start the contraction machinery, but cocaine stops up the voltage-activated sodium channels, making it more difficult for electricity to trigger a muscle contraction.''
According to Dr. Tchou, ``we were comforted to learn that stun guns do not normally pose any cardiac risk.''
The IEEE Spectrum notes that Mark W. Kroll is an IEEE senior member who holds more than 250 U.S. patents as an inventor of electrical medical devices. He sits on the board of TASER International. Patrick Tchou is a cardiologist who specializes in treating cardiac rhythm disturbances at the Cleveland Clinic, a leading research hospital in Ohio and America's top rated heart hospital for the past 12 years.
The complete articles are available at: spectrum.ieee.org
TASER International, Inc. disclaims any responsibility for the accuracy of the media reports that are the sole responsibility of the attributed media source.
For more information on protecting life with TASER technology, please visit: taser.com.