He said he was not aware of any previous studies that tested the song.
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But Nadkarni said he has seen "Stayin' Alive" work wonders in classes where students were having trouble keeping the right beat while practicing on mannequins. When he turned on the song, "all of a sudden, within just a few seconds, they get it right on the dot."
"I don't know how the Bee Gees knew this," Nadkarni said. "They probably didn't. But they just hit upon this natural rhythm that was very catchy, very popular, that helps us do the right thing."
Dr. Matthew Gilbert, a 28-year-old medical resident, was among participants in the University of Illinois study this past spring. Since then, he said, he has revived real patients by keeping the song in his head while doing CPR.
Gilbert said he was surprised the song worked as well as it did.
"I was a little worried because I've been told that I have a complete lack of rhythm," he said. Also, Gilbert said he's not really a disco fan.
He does happen to like a certain Queen song with a similar beat.
"I heard a rumor that 'Another One Bites the Dust' works also, but it didn't seem quite as appropriate," Gilbert said.
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