APR 15, 2017 07:25 AM PDT

How Death by Electrocution Happens

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Hollywood shows a certain favor for electrocution as a dramatic plot twist to a character's life. The hair-raising, body-quaking, sparks-flying scenes seem too good for producers to pass up. But is this an accurate portrayal of electrocution in real life?

In reality, electrocution, otherwise known as death by electric shock, can happen without any of the dramatics. It takes relatively little electricity to kill a person precisely by interrupting the rhythm of the heart. In fact, scientists have quantified this to be 7 milliamps for 3 seconds. "You could quite easily kill someone with a 9-volt or AAA battery directly to the heart," said Adam Savage of Mythbusters, who has had his fair share of electric shocks.

But the reason why Adam Savage and millions of other people are still alive despite having been electrocuted is thanks to skin, clothing, and other resistance on the body. Watch the video to learn more!
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 18, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 18, 2019
What is Photoacoustic Imaging?
In the last decade, photoacoustic tomography has slowly emerged as a versatile, radiation-free imaging modality that bears great potentials for basic resea...
NOV 18, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 18, 2019
Watch An Ant Colony Attack This Crab Like a Bunch of Savages
Ants have a particularly striking reputation for being somewhat relentless, and as it would seem, such a reputation doesn’t fetter even when the anim...
NOV 18, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 18, 2019
Here's What We Know So Far About Titan's Liquid Methane Oceans
Titan is perhaps one of the most captivating moons orbiting Saturn today; so much so that astronomers spent a lot of time studying it when the Cassini miss...
NOV 18, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
NOV 18, 2019
A Revealing Look at Rare Disease Incidence
Being diagnosed with a rare disease can be especially terrifying for patients. After all, many of these diseases have no treatment options. This is because...
NOV 18, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 18, 2019
New Technologies Are Headed for the International Space Station
Space is hard, and for that reason, researchers are always trying to come up with new ways to make it easier. One of the best places for new technologies t...
NOV 18, 2019
Cardiology
NOV 18, 2019
Meal Timing May Influence Heart Health
New research into meal timing suggests that when we eat may influence cardiovascular health. Research up until this point has focused on what we eat and ho...
Loading Comments...