Thinking of buying Gramps an iPod for his birthday? If he has a pacemaker, you might want to hold off according to a new study “presented by a 17-year-old high school student to a meeting of heart specialists on Thursday.” A high school student? Yeah!
The study tested the effect of the portable music devices on 100 patients, whose mean age was 77, outfitted with pacemakers. Electrical interference was detected half of the time when the iPod was held just 2 inches from the patient’s chest for 5 to 10 seconds.
The study did not examine any portable music devices other than iPods, which are made by Apple.
In some cases, the iPods caused interference when held 18 inches from the chest. Interfering with the telemetry equipment caused the device to misread the heart’s pacing and in one case caused the pacemaker to stop functioning altogether.
The study was held at the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute at Michigan State University.
The project began when Jay Thaker (the high school student in question) asked his father (an electrophysiologist) if an iPod could affect a pacemaker. His dad didn’t know and when a patent asked the same thing, they decided to do the study. Obviously, more research is needed, but what a neat science project. When we were in school, we had to dissected a fish. Ew.—MEGHANN MARCO
Study says iPods can make pacemakers malfunction [Reuters] (Thanks to all who sent this!)