Study: Effects of Tasers on Hearts

This week in Chicago, a man died and a teenager was hospitalized after officers used tasers on them. Law enforcement officials say tasers are used only to subdue subjects, but some question the real effects.

Professor John Webster is looking into what happens when the body is subjected to that amount of electricity. He's a UW-Madison professor of Biomedical Engineering, and has been using computer models to find out if a taser could electrocute the heart.

Now, Webster plans to test tasers on pigs and apply his results to humans. "My hypothesis would be that tasers don't electrocute people, but that some time after the taser is applied the person dies of other causes, such as a drug overdose."

Pigs were chosen for this test because their hearts are similar to human hearts. Dr. Webster hopes to create a benchmark test to apply to future taser models based on his findings.


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