Actress Brittany Murphy Dead at Age 32

Actress Brittany Murphy died today as a result of cardiac arrest. She was only 32 years old. A 911 call from her husband, Simon Monjack, at 8 A.M. this morning reported that she was in cardiac arrest. Resuscitation measures were unsuccessful, and she declared dead upon arrival at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Murphy, who is probably best known for her role as the 1995 film Clueless, where she played sidekick Tai, who went from wallflower to hot babe. She also featured in the movies 8 Mile and Don’t Say a Word.

Cardiac arrest is a medical term which implies that a heart has stopped beating. It is not necessarily the same thing as a heart attack (myocardial infarction) where blockage of blood flood to the heart muscle causes part of the muscle to die. If a large enough area of heart muscle dies, the heart will have difficulty beating and cardiac arrest will ensue. There are many other causes of cardiac arrest as well, including respiratory arrest, electrocution, drowning, choking and trauma. Cardiac arrest can also occur without any known cause.


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Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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