iPods help doctors recognize heart problems

Doctors can greatly improve their stethoscope skills and therefore their ability to diagnose heart problems by listening repeatedly to heartbeats on their iPods. Previous research has shown that the average rate of correct heart sound identification by physicians is 40 percent.

In a new study, 149 general internists listened 400 times to five common heart murmurs during a 90-minute session with iPods. After the session, the average score improved to 80 percent.