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Lown developed the direct current defibrillator for cardiac resuscitation and the cardioverter for correcting rapid disordered heart rhythms, and introduced a new use for the drug lidocaine to control heartbeat disturbances. Throughout his medical career, Lown focused on two major medical challenges: the problem of sudden cardiac death and the role of psychological stress on the cardiovascular system. His investigations led to many medical break-throughs.
His work made possible and safe much of modern cardiac surgery, as well as a host of other innovations.
In 1985, Lown accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, an organization he co-founded with Soviet cardiologist Dr. Yevgeny Chazov, who later was Minister Of Health of the USSR.
Lown was born to a Jewish family in Utena, Lithuania, the son of a rabbi. He was raised in Lewiston, Maine. Lown studied at the University of Maine and at Johns Hopkins University. He was married to Louise Lown. They had three children.
- [Bernard Lown Interviewed by Peter Tishler http://videocenter.brighamandwomens.org/files/dmfile/Lown_Bernard.pdf], September 2011
- The Catholic Church in World Politics, By Eric O. Hanson, Princeton University Press, 14 Jul 2014, page 420
- McFadden, Robert D. (February 16, 2021). Bernard Lown, Inventive Heart Doctor and Antiwar Activist, Dies at 99. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/16/health/bernard-lown-dead.html. Retrieved February 16, 2021.
- Dr. Bernard Lown's Official Website
- The Lown Cardiovascular Research Foundation
- A Heart Doctor With an Extra Big Heart
- Prescription for Survival -- interview from the public radio program "Living On Earth"
- The Lost Art of Healing -- interview from the public radio program "Humankind"
- Bernard Lown papers, 1933-2033 (inclusive, 1960-1995 (bulk), HMS c300. Harvard Medical Library, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Center for the History of Medicine Archived 2013-01-16 at the Wayback Machine, Harvard Medical School