World Cup Soccer: Be Still, My Beating Heart

The World Cup is a thrill — but doctors are examining whether the soccer championship is a little too thrilling for the faint of heart.

An exciting match can cause fans’ hearts to skip not one beat, but several, leading to a rather worrying incidence of cardiac arrest among soccer die-hards, Reuters news service reports.

Piggybacking off prior research that has unearthed a spike in heart attacks during international soccer tournaments — especially on days that ultra hair-raising games are played — physicians will be analyzing blood samples from cardiac arrest victims across Germany who were watching matches when their hearts stopped.

The researchers will be trying to isolate stress hormones in the samples that can clot the blood and lead to a heart attack. Doctors will also get blood samples from any spectator who collapses while watching a match live in a stadium and may have higher levels of the hormones in the bloodstream than those watching on the telly at home.

"Patients are asked precisely what they were doing at the time of the attack — whether they were following football on the radio or television, or even watching the pundits after the game," David Leistner of Munich's Ludwig Maximilians University told Reuters. "So far, on the days when Germany has played we have received a lot more blood samples.”

Preliminary results of the study are expected in October. Earlier research done in 1998 found a 25 percent increase in the number of heart attacks on the day England lost the 1998 World Cup to Argentina and in the two days after the victory.

During the 2002 World Cup, the number of cardiac arrest patients was up by 60 percent, a Swiss study found, in spite of the fact that Switzerland wasn’t a competitor in the championship.

Those findings led to the installation of defibrillators in stadiums during the 2004 games. Doctors have urged fans, especially those more susceptible to cardiac arrest, not to drink too much at soccer games.

"If it really is the case that higher stress levels can increase the chance of a heart attack then attending soccer games may have to carry a health warning," Leistner told Reuters.

Goldilocks Upstaged by Bear

WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — It was a real-life version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears — only in reverse — when a woman came home to find a young bear eating oatmeal in her kitchen.

The bear apparently entered through an open sliding glass door, broke a ceramic food container and started eating, West Vancouver police Sgt. Paul Skelton said.

"It sounds like a nursery rhyme, doesn't it?" Skelton said. "At least we have a health-conscious bear on our hands."

Three police officers who went to the home Thursday couldn't get the bear to budge, so authorities let the animal finish its meal.

"The bear didn't appear to be aggressive and wasn't destroying the house, so they just let it do what it was doing and eventually the bear decided to make its way out of the residence and down toward a forested gully," Skelton said. "It ended the best it could."

Skelton said bears in the suburbs north of Vancouver have been coming out of hibernation as hungry as ever but later than usual but this spring because of a heavier than normal snowpack from the winter. The report Thursday was one of six complaints police said they received about bears in the area that day.

Lawyer for Granny Accused of Murder: Toss Juvenile Jurors

ATLANTA (AP) — A 79-year-old woman accused of fatally shooting her 85-year-old ex-beau is being deprived of her constitutional right to a fair trial, her attorney said, because the potential jurors are not old enough for her to be judged by a jury of her peers.

As Lena Sims Driskell peered over her gold-rimmed glasses Monday at potential jurors in her murder trial, some of the 58 candidates were young enough to be her great-grandchildren. Only five seemed close to 70, the legal age for exemption as a juror in the state of Georgia.

"This is the youngest jury pool I've ever seen," said Driskell's attorney, Deborah Poole. "Most of these people look under 30. How does one have a trial when you are not able to include a whole class of people in the jury?"

Driskell is accused of fatally shooting Herman Winslow on June 10, 2005, as he read the newspaper at the senior citizens home where the two lived. After dating for a year, police said Driskell became angry when Winslow broke off their relationship and started seeing another woman.

Driskell is charged with murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm.

Police say she was wearing a hairnet, stockings, a bathrobe and slippers when she confronted Winslow at his apartment.

Winslow complained and a security guard tried to calm Driskell down, but when he turned around she drew an antique handgun she had hidden behind her back, put the gun to Winslow's head and fired up to four times, Detective D.B. Mathis said.

"I did it and I'd do it again!" Driskell was quoted as yelling to the officers who found her waving the gun and holding her finger on the trigger when they arrived.

At the jury selection Monday, only three potential jurors said they would be unable to pass judgment on someone older than themselves. And when asked whether there were any members of advocacy groups for elderly people, none raised a hand.

Fulton County Superior Court Jury Clerk Jennifer Lawson said that while senior citizens are not excluded from jury service, any person 70 or older may be excused from jury duty with the submission of an age affidavit.

Opening statements in the trial could begin Tuesday. The trial is expected to last no more than three days.

Senior Assistant District Attorney Fani Willis, who is prosecuting the case, declined to comment.

Sit! Stay! Call 911 on the Cell Phone! Good Dog

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A 17-pound beagle named Belle is more than man's best friend. She's a lifesaver.

Belle was in Washington, D.C., on Monday to receive an award for biting onto owner Kevin Weaver's cell phone to call 911 after the diabetic Ocoee man had a seizure and collapsed.

"There is no doubt in my mind that I'd be dead if I didn't have Belle," said Weaver, 34, whose blood sugar had dropped dangerously low. Belle had been trained to summon help in just those circumstances.

She was the first canine recipient to win the VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, given to someone who used a cell phone to save a life, prevent a crime or help in an emergency, the Orlando Sentinel reported Monday.

Weaver first heard about service dogs while he was working as a flight attendant after befriending a frequent passenger who taught dogs to help diabetic patients. Using their keen sense of smell, the animals can detect abnormalities in a person's blood-sugar levels.

The dog periodically licks Weaver's nose to take her own reading of his blood-sugar level. If something seems off to her, she will paw and whine at him.

"Every time she paws at me like that I grab my meter and test myself," Weaver said. "She's never been wrong."

Is That a Grenade, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A belt buckle resembling a hand grenade caused the evacuation of part of a terminal at Salt Lake City International Airport on Monday, officials said.

The lobby and ticket counter areas of Terminal One were evacuated for about an hour after screeners saw a suspicious image while X-raying luggage, said Barbara Gann, a spokeswoman at the airport.

"It was a cast of a hand grenade, so half of a hand grenade and it appeared to be a grenade with a pin," Gann said. "It was wrapped around a bottle of cologne. So, it appeared to be an incendiary device with fuel."

The package was placed in a containment unit, taken to a remote section of the airport where it was detonated and its contents revealed, she said.

Gann said it was unclear how many people might have missed flights or if flights were delayed due to the evacuation.

Airport officials have identified the owner of the items, but that person was traveling ahead of his luggage and likely had no idea the trouble it caused, she said. Authorities were planning on speaking with the man, Gann said.

She said it was not likely that charges would be filed.

"It depends on the intent and the explanation and more of a detailed interview with this person, but most likely not," she said.

Gann said it is important for people to be cautious of what they pack and how it might appear during screening.

"This person wasn't impacted as much as the people who were evacuated," she said. "It was a severe reaction to someone's oversight."

Compiled by's Catherine Donaldson-Evans.

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