From BBC News, Oct.18, 2008:
Bee Gees hit could save your life.
US medics have found the Bee Gees' 1977 disco anthem, "Stayin' Alive," provides an ideal beat to follow when performing CPR on a victim of a cardiac arrest.
A University of Illinois medical school study said it contained 103 beats per minute, close to the recommended rate of 100 chest compressions per minute.
Dr. David Matlock said many people were put off performing CPR as they were not sure about keeping the correct rhythm.
He said CPR could triple cardiac arrest survival rates when performed properly.
The study by the University of Illinois College of Medicine saw 15 doctors and students performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on mannequins while listening to "Stayin' Alive." They were asked to their time chest compressions with the beat.
Five weeks later, they did the same drill without the music, but were told to think of the song while doing compressions.
The average number of compressions the first time was 109 per minute; the second time it was 113 - more than recommended by the American Heart Association, but better than too few, according to Dr. Matlock.
"It drove them and motivated them to keep up the rate, which is the most important thing," he told the Associated Press.
A spokesman for the American Heart Association, Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, said it had been using "Stayin' Alive" as a training tip for CPR instructors for about two years, although it was not aware of any previous studies that tested the song.
With that in mind, here are some other life-threatening situations that can be avoided through the power of song:
When called upon to deliver the Heimlich Maneuver, it would behoove one to think of Edwin Starr's soul classic cum protest song, "War." "War!" Starr exclaims (in your head), and you place your hands on the choking, gasping, blue-in-the-face person's diaphragm. Then, pause for a few beats while you gather your thoughts and visualize success. When Starr shouts "HUH!" simply thrust as hard as you can -- in time with the music -- and the chicken gristle, peach pit or braised carrot will go flying. "War" also works in conjunction with a hard blow to the victim's upper back.
2. Cougar or Bear Attack
When confronted by a bear or cougar while hiking, camping or mountain-biking, don't leave your survival up to chance. We all know that freezing, making yourself look bigger, maintaining eye contact and backing away slowly are the correct survival methods in this situation. But most people decide, wrongly, to run. However, many survivors of bear and cougar attacks have one thing in common: They all reported humming the tune "Suite: Judy Blues Eyes" by Crosby, Stills & Nash. It helps to hum the tune out loud, but only the end. (Yes, the "do do do do do DO DO do do do do" part.) When the bear or cougar retreats in response to this life-affirming melody, Crosby, Stills, Nash & You have won.
When you're in a house, apartment or forest fire and you're sitting there, on fire, trying to recall the sequence known as Stop, Drop, and Roll, it helps to have the song "A Horse With No Name" by America in your head. There is no scientific proof thus far as to why this works, but it really does help. God Bless America the band.
4. Falling From Rooftop While Retrieving Shuttlecock
Nine out of ten rooftop falls happen because of poor badminton skills. The birdie or shuttlecock lands on the roof, you valiantly go to retrieve it, and Bam! Game over, followed by a trip to the hospital -- or, worse, the morgue. Amateur rooftop climbers will be excited to learn that slipping-and-falling prevention begins and ends with the song "Baby Got Back" by Sir Mix-A-Lot. Retaining word-perfect memory of at least one verse of this song helps you balance as you navigate the shingles. No more will you be embarrassed that you know the line, "Cosmo says you're fat / Well, I ain't down with that," yet not a single line of Yeats. So proud you will be thanks to Sir Mix-A-Lot. So proud and so alive.
5. Suffocation From Dry Cleaning Bag
Next time you're joking around, trying to entertain your friends with a plastic dry-cleaning bag over your head, and you start to sweat profusely from all of the physical comedy, and you inhale the bag -- first just a little but then a lot, thus shutting off oxygen -- with your remaining breath, put on "A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell. That's right, it is a trick. That song totally doesn't fit with your dry-cleaning-bag-over-the-head-routine; you're forced to quit pre-asphyxiation. Joni Mitchell kills the mood, but somehow rescues you from the brink of death. Again.
If a song has saved your life -- literally or figuratively -- by all means, please share.